Foreign policy and defense
Under President Rafael Correa (2007–2017),
the relationship with the traditional ally of the United
States became cooler, while at the same time expanding
cooperation with countries such as China and Russia as
well as with other leftist governments in Latin America,
such as Venezuela and Bolivia. Now the pendulum has
turned in the opposite direction and Ecuador, under
President Lenín Moreno, has strengthened cooperation
with the central and right governments in the region.
Important relations with the United States were
strained when Correa came to power. Although some of the
former Ecuadorian governments also criticized US policy
in Latin America, economic considerations were always in
the forefront. The United States and Ecuador have worked
together to combat the production and smuggling of drugs
from Latin America to the United States. In 1999, the US
military gained access to an Ecuadorian base in the city
of Manta on the Pacific coast for airstrikes against the
drug mafia and left-wing guerrillas in the border areas.
But in accordance with an election promise, Correa
decided not to extend the agreement when it expired in
November 2009 and the United States was allowed to leave
the base. However, cooperation in the drug trade
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Ecuador for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
A diplomatic report published by the Wikileaks
organization led Ecuador to expel the US ambassador from
the country in 2011, when she wrote about police
corruption. The United States in turn expelled the
Ecuadorian ambassador. When Wikileaks founder Julian
Assange was later granted protection by Ecuador, this
was criticized by the United States, which accuses
Assange of revealing secret documents.
After the change of power in 2017, thawing weather
began in relations with the United States. In the spring
of 2019, Quito took his hand from Assange, who was
forced to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where
he stayed for almost seven years (see Calendar).
Just before that, Ecuador had somewhat surprisingly
joined the countries that left the South American
cooperation organization Unasur, and instead joined the
newly formed Forum for the Progress of South America (Prosur).
The step clearly shows that Ecuador no longer mainly
relies on the region's leftist regimes - the initiators
of Prosur were the right-wing governments of Chile and
Ecuador is also a member of the regional
organizations OAS, Celac and the Andean Community.
Prolonged conflict with Peru
For over half a century, Ecuador's foreign policy was
dominated by the conflict with Peru. Ecuador wanted the
territory that fell to Peru under the 1942 Rio Protocol
(see Older History). A brief border war broke out in
1995, but after mediation by the USA, Brazil, Chile and
Argentina, a ceasefire was concluded. After several
rounds of negotiations and periods of increased tension,
Ecuador and Peru in 1998 were able to sign a permanent
However, relations with Peru are still sensitive, and
in July 2017, Peru called home its ambassador to Ecuador
in protest at the neighboring country's refusal to stop
one building along a canal forming a border between the
two countries. According to Ecuador, the wall protects
against flooding. A few days later, however, Ecuador
announced that the building had been stopped.
Tight relationship with Colombia
Relations with Colombia have also been complicated,
not least when the neighboring country previously
accused Ecuador of conspiring with the leftist guerrilla
Farc. The civil conflict in Colombia led to an extensive
influx of refugees to Ecuador. The situation has
improved after the peace settlement with Farc 2016,
although there are armed groups that continue to make
border areas uncertain.
During the Civil War, Farc repeatedly entered Ecuador
to escape attacks by Colombian army associations or in
connection with drug trafficking. Government soldiers
and helicopters from Colombia also sometimes infringed.
In addition, Ecuador opposed the US-backed environmental
degradation chemical control of cocaine cultivation in
the border area. The situation came to a head in the
spring of 2008 when Colombian soldiers and helicopters
attacked a Farc camp inside Ecuador. Colombia justified
the intrusion that Farc had pushed across the border. In
response, Ecuador sent around 3,000 soldiers to the
border and temporarily interrupted diplomatic relations
At the end of 2012, the two neighboring countries
entered into a series of agreements which, in addition
to the possibility of free passage across the border to
promote tourism, also concerned education,
infrastructure and security along the common border.
China and Russia
Relations with China and Russia became increasingly
important during Correa. Following a state visit to
China by President Correa in 2007, a series of bilateral
cooperation agreements in energy, agriculture,
technology and infrastructure were signed and China has
become Ecuador's prime lender: between 2008 and
mid-2012, Ecuador received a total of well over $ 7
billion in financial support from there, while Ecuador
has supplied China with large quantities of crude oil.
Correa's second visit to Moscow in four years in the
fall of 2013 resulted in, among other things, proposed
Russian investments in Ecuador of $ 1.5 billion,
including in the construction of a gas turbine generator
and in rail links between Quito and the main ports in
Until 1992, Ecuador was a member of the oil-exporting
countries' organization Opec but left it in order to
manage its oil production without the restrictions the
membership entailed. Rafael Correa decided in 2007 to
resume membership, among other things to gain access to
bank loans in the Middle East. But his successor Lenín
Moreno decided to withdraw Ecuador from the organization
again, which happened at the turn of the year 2019/2020.
The Ecuadorian defense budget has fallen sharply
since the border agreement with Peru was signed in 1998.
At the same time, military income from, among other
things, the country's oil exports and civil aviation is
guaranteed. The military participates in law enforcement
and in monitoring the border with Colombia. The one-year
military service is optional. Most summonses belong to
the indigenous peoples of the mountain region.
FACTS - DEFENSE
24 750 men (2017)
The air Force
6,400 men (2017)
9 100 men (2017)
Military expenditure's share of GDP
2.4 percent (2017)
Military spending's share of the state budget
6.4 percent (2017)
At its first meeting, the Constituent Assembly dissolves the sitting
parliament, which is dominated by the right-wing opposition. President Correa
has accused the lawmakers of corruption and inefficiency.
Ecuador again in Opec
Ecuador re-joins the oil-exporting countries' organization Opec, which joined
the country in 1973 but left in 1992, when unwilling to pay the membership fee
and limit its oil production.
Government victory in election to Constituent Assembly
In the election to the Constituent Assembly, President Rafael Correa's
support party gets the País Alliance 80 out of the 130 seats.
Opposition politicians flee the country
A number of congressmen flee to Colombia following allegations of rebellion.
They belong to the group of 57 people who were laid off in March for opposing
Choosing-yes to appoint new assembly
In a referendum, close to 82 percent of voters vote for a Constituent
Assembly to be drafted to draft a new constitution.
The Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) votes to exclude 57 opposition members from
the congress and accuses them of trying to "impede the electoral process".
Before that, the opposition has voted to exclude the TSE chairman from
preventing the creation of a constituent assembly. Such an assembly would be
commissioned to write a new constitution but could also dissolve Congress.
Correa takes over as president
Left-wing President Rafael Correa takes office after winning the presidential
election with comprehensive promises of social and economic reforms to equalize
injustice. Correa came in second with 23 percent of the vote in the first half
in October 2006, when banana magnate Álvaro Noboa won 27 percent. In the second
round on November 26, Correa won by 57 percent of the vote against 43 for Noboa.