QUITO -- Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has declared US Ambassador Heather Hodges as "persona non grata" and is expelling her from the country.
Patino told reporters he had not received a satisfactory explanation from Hodges about cables from her office released by Wikileaks.
"Ecuador's government has decided to consider this woman as a persona non grata... we have asked her to leave the country in the shortest time possible," he said.
The cables were about corruption in the South American country's police force.
Ecuador expelled two American diplomats -- including First Secretary Mark Sullivan -- in February 2009 for "unacceptable interference in Ecuador's internal affairs."
In July 2008, Ecuador President Rafael Correa refused to renew a 10 year lease on a U.S. air base in the Ecuadorean port city of Manta, which the U.S. used to conduct anti-drug surveillance in the region. The U.S. left the Manta air base in September 2009.
Hodges was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador on July 15, 2008.
Prior to that, she was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of the Director General. She was U.S. Ambassador to Moldova from September 2003 to May 2006.
She joined the Foreign Service in 1980, cutting her teeth in Caracas, Venezuela.
Following Caracas, she served in Guatemala and later in Washington as Peru Desk Officer. In 1987, Hodges received a Pearson Fellowship to work in the U.S. Congress, where she was counsel to the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and Refugee Affairs. In January 1989, she became Consul General at the U.S. Consulate in Bilbao, Spain. In 1991, she returned to Washington to serve as Deputy Director of the Office of Cuban Affairs.
In 1993, Hodges became Deputy Chief of Mission in Managua, Nicaragua. She went on to serve as Deputy Chief of Mission in Lima, Peru, from July 1997 to May 2000 and the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain, from June 2000 to July 2003.
Before she left Spain, the Spanish government awarded Hodges the Spanish decoration of “Isabel la Catolica – Encomienda de Numero” for her contributions to Spanish-U.S. relations. Similarly, the Government of Moldova presented her with the Award of Honor in 2006, and the same year she was awarded a Presidential Meritorious Service Award.
Hodges is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. She has a B.A. in Spanish from the College of St. Catherine, in St. Paul, Minnesota, and an M.A. from New York University and speaks fluent Spanish.