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Ecuador to oust US ambassador over WikiLeaks spat. Who's next?

Ecuador is expelling US Ambassador Heather Hodges over critical comments in a WikiLeaks cable. Her ouster follows the resignation last month of the US ambassador to Mexico over another controversial cable.

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US ambassador to Ecuador Heather Hodges speaks at a news conference, to respond to the Ecuadorean government's demand that she leave the country, in Quito, Ecuador, on April 5.

Kevin Granja/Reuters

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WikiLeaks has claimed its second diplomatic victim in Latin America, with Ecuador expelling its US ambassador over her comments in a leaked cable, straining bilateral relations and casting a shadow over US efforts in the region.

The ouster of Ambassador Heather Hodges follows the resignation last month of the US ambassador to Mexico after another WikiLeaks cable revealed him portraying Mexican security forces as deeply corrupt and uncoordinated.

Ambassadorial relations have also been severed in recent years in Venezuela and in Bolivia, where Drug Enforcement Agency officials were also expelled. But the chance for confrontation has only grown amid secret-spilling website WikiLeaks' dissemination of more than 250,000 confidential US diplomatic cables.

While a falling domino affect on US ambassadors is unexpected, analysts say that rough patches in bilateral relations across the region could lie ahead.

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