Ecuador's government gave the Obama administration a defiant response in the face of warnings not to grant asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, sending the message that it does not need U.S. aid and assistance.
According to Reuters, Ecuador said Thursday it was waiving favorable trade rights under a trade agreement with the U.S. In a dig at Washington, officials there also offered the U.S. $23 million in aid for "education about human rights."
The moves were a signal that Ecuador was not considering its own U.S. benefits in weighing Snowden's asylum request.
In Washington, some analysts have said the U.S. could use both its direct aid and the trade benefits as leverage against Ecuador. That's because in recent months, Ecuadorean officials have made trips to Washington, jockeying for preferential treatment for some of its country's key native products like frozen broccoli and fresh-cut roses.
Favored political status, which breaks down to more jobs for Ecuadoreans and cheaper goods for Americans, was considered a potentially powerful negotiating chip.
But that may be off the table now that Ecuador is waiving those agreements.
Officials told Reuters that Ecuador was giving up the benefits "unilaterally and irrevocably. "
Obama, speaking in Senegal on Thursday, said he has no intention of "wheeling and dealing" with other nations over Snowden. He said he was not getting personally involved because he "shouldn't have to."
There's also the matter of direct aid to Ecuador.
During the past 50 years, USAID, the main American foreign aid agency, has given millions of dollars for education and economic growth. In the past five years alone, Ecuador has received $144.4 million.
The amount has steadily decreased from $35 million in 2009 to an estimated $12 million in aid requested for 2014.
National security analyst Aaron Cohen told Fox News the U.S. should consider cutting off that aid if Ecuador approves Snowden's asylum request.
"The fact is is that we're giving millions of millions of dollars to this country right now who may potentially be harboring somebody who could have been responsible for one of the most massive intelligence leaks in the history of both private contracting and our espionage world," he said.