Quito - The head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Ecuador's Armed
Forces and its Army commander resigned Wednesday over disagreements
with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who alleged that the CIA has
infiltrated the country's intelligence services. Head of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff Hector Camacho and Army Commander Guillermo Vasconez
resigned on the day that Javier Ponce was sworn in as Ecuador's new
defence minister to replace Wellington Sandoval.
Police Commander Bolivar Cisneros also resigned at the request of
Correa, over alleged failures in communication over the death of an
Ecuadorian citizen, Franklin Guillermo Aizalia, in a Colombian
Aizalia was killed in a March 1 cross-border raid by Colombian forces
on a camp of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on
Ecuadorian territory. The raid - in which FARC number two Raul Reyes
and some 20 other rebels were killed - sparked a serious diplomatic
crisis between Ecuador and Colombia.
New Defence Minister Ponce, linked to leftist indigenous social
movements and a journalist critical of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces,
joined the left-wing populist Correa in alleging infiltration by the
CIA of Ecuador's military and political intelligence agencies.
In a clear reference to activity by the US Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) within the Ecuadorian intelligence services, Ponce said: "There
is an external cooperation that we do not reject, that we do not
demonize, but there cannot be intelligence networks acting against our
Correa was further upset that Ecuadorian intelligence services had
known that Aizalia, a 38-year-old Ecuadorian locksmith, was alleged to
have links with FARC but failed to inform the president.
Last week, Correa charged that some Ecuadorian military and police
officers are on the CIA payroll, passing information to the US and
US-ally Colombia before reporting to Ecuadorian authorities.