Today Congressman Connie Mack (FL-14), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, introduced bipartisan legislation with Ranking Member Eliot Engel (NY-17) condemning the conditions of democracy and human rights in Ecuador and expressing concern over Ecuador's business and security practices. The Mack/Engel legislation, H.Res. 745, represents Congress' resistance to renew the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA).
"For years, and without consequences, Rafael Correa has used his elected position to trample on human rights and trample on democracy in Ecuador," Mack said. "Today, we set the record straight and remind tyrants like Rafael Correa that actions have consequences. We cannot afford to sit idly by while power-hungry thugocrats dismantle their country's democratic institutions, attack the press, and violate basic human rights."
"Preferences from the United States, including trade benefits, should not be utilized to bolster anti-democratic leaders. I hope that Congress recognizes the truth about Rafael Correa and declines the renewal of the U.S. trade preference program until democratic standards of freedom and security are restored in Ecuador."
Initial participants of the Andean Trade Promotion Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) included Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. In 2008, Bolivia was suspended from the program due to its failure to meet eligibility criteria, and since that time, Peru and Colombia have been dropped from the list of beneficiaries following approval of FreeTrade Agreements with the United States. Congress must make a decision to renew trade benefits for Ecuador before the program expires on July 31st, 2013.
Cosponsors include: Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), David Rivera (R-FL), Dan Burton (R-IN), Gregg Harper (R-MS), Jean Schmidt (R-OH)