QUITO, Ecuador – President Rafael Correa complained on Saturday he did not receive special diplomatic treatment at a Miami airport security checkpoint earlier this month and will now avoid traveling through the U.S.
In his weekly radio address, Correa said he accepted an apology issued Tuesday by U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Linda Jewell, who said U.S. officials learned of his travel plans only hours before and "didn't have time to make all the arrangements necessary to receive a head of state."
Correa received "discourteous treatment" at Miami International Airport, where he'd stopped to change planes Nov. 15 on the way to a summit of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries summit in Saudi Arabia, the Foreign Ministry said in a letter to the U.S. Embassy in Quito last week. The letter gave no further details of his encounter.
"We accepted (the ambassador's apology) but personally I'm not going to stop to change planes in the United States until they learn what civilization is," Correa said.
He said the U.S. has been gripped by "psychosis" since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and security agents "treat the people very poorly" as a result.
"The minute they knew that I was a head of state, they should have had a protocol, but the Americans don't understand that," Correa said.