Ecuador President Correa: The new Chavez?



'Petty' Games within Games at the Ecuadorian Embassy (Le Figaro, France)


"The public address Julian Assange delivered from a balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, just a few meters from British police, may seem comical. But it is part of a much bigger and pernicious game that can be summarized in four points: The ambition of Rafael Correa, the risks of extradition to the United States, British arrogance, and free expression in Ecuador."


By Patrick Bele



Translated By Katia Mohandi


August 22, 2012


France - Le Figaro - Original Article (French)

What's going on at the embassy of Ecuador in London, in a modest apartment on the ground floor of a building near the famed Harrods Department Store? What does it mean for Rafael Correa and the Ecuadorian authorities, which granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last Wednesday, and who has been holed up in their embassy since the beginning of June, that London has questioned the diplomatic status of the embassy and threatened to enter the building and arrest the WikiLeaks boss?


As far as London is concerned, Julian Assange is a common criminal accused of rape in Sweden, and is to be extradited to that country. It is not the purpose of diplomatic representatives to protect this type of criminal. But advocates of Julian Assange underline the fact that he is also accused of aggravated espionage by the United States, for leaking thousands of diplomatic cables from U.S. representatives around the world.


While the cables revealed nothing sensational, they are highly-instructive in terms of how the U.S. authorities regard governments and opposition groups across the world. Thus, comments about the Cuban opposition were particularly pleasing the Cuban government, as they showed the dissidents to be out of touch with the population and only interested in the cash handouts from Washington.


The public address Julian Assange delivered yesterday from a balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy, just a few meters from British police, may seem comical. But it is part of a much bigger and pernicious game that can be summarized in four points.


-- The ambition of Rafael Correa. The Bolivarian leadership exercised by Hugo Chavez never quite suited the Ecuadorean head of state, and has probably always annoyed him. For years, the Ecuadorian administration has pushed for a central role for Quito in the Bolivarian Alliance and Latin-American diplomacy, even if that has meant at times minimizing the role of Caracas. And the creation of the "SUCRE" as a currency for commercial exchange among the countries of ALBA [Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas] is "an Ecuadorian idea" that has rallied the other states in the regional alliance. [SUCRE stands for Sistema Único de Compensación Regional - or in English, Unified System for Regional Compensation.]


The Venezuelan president is campaigning for the upcoming presidential election on October 7, while weakened by a cancer that has necessitated several surgeries in Cuba. This has left the international field open to Ecuador President Rafael Correa. The Assange affair has come just in time to allow President Correa to boost his international prestige and for all the Latin American countries to rally around him as he confronts the old-line powers - especially the United States.

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- The risks of extradition to the United States. It is very likely that once Julian Assange is extradited to Sweden, the country will respond positively to an extradition request from Washington for acts of such extreme gravity, and for which he could face life in prison or even the death penalty. The offences in question are the dissemination of diplomatic cables that in theory are top secret, but in reality are mostly trivial. The cables from American embassies posted by WikiLeaks have mainly exposed the mediocrity of their content and raise concerns about Washington’s ability to understand the world around it.


- British arrogance. This affair highlights the unparalleled arrogance of British diplomacy. Ecuadorian diplomacy did not over-interpret London’s language: Great Britain openly threatened to come and arrest Julian Assange on Ecuadorian diplomatic premises. Such British arrogance should come as no surprise after London’s latest declarations about Gibraltar or the Malvinas (Malvinas to Argentines, Falklands for our English friends, but Malouines for the French - in reference to the seaman from St. Malo who were the first to step foot on these particularly inhospitable islands).


- Rafael Correa and free expression. That the Ecuadorian president is wrapping himself in the garb of a defender of free speech and is coming to the rescue of Julian Assange may seem surprising. Not long ago he had the country’s leading newspaper [El Universo] fined tens of millions of dollars [$42 million], threatening the daily's very survival, before pardoning it. He also sued journalists who published an extensive investigation into his brother.


Rafael Correa's defense of Julian Assange boils down to the simple idea that the enemies of our enemies are our enemies. Pity … Ecuadorian diplomacy as led by Ricardo Patino deserves better than such petty wrangling. The defense of the Yasuni oil project or the condemnation of Chevron-Texaco seem more newsworthy than the fate of Julian Assange.




Die Presse, Austria: WikiLeaks: From 'Torch of Democracy' to Anti-American 'Cudgel'

La Hora, Ecuador: Assange-Correa: 'The Heart has Reasons which Reason Knows Nothing of'

El Pais, Spain: WikiLeaks: The Assault on 'Big Brother' Begins

Dagens Nyheter, Sweden: Sweden's Image Smeared by Missteps and Accusations

Hoy, Ecuador: Ecuador's Embassy - and All Embassies - are Off Limits to British Police

El Universo, Ecuador: Assange Grateful to Ecuador for Taking Up His Asylum Request

Gusrdian, U.K.: Embassy Cables Did Not Harm U.S.: Assange Will Not Be Extradited

Telegraph, U.K.: Why do We Buy Julian Assange's One-Man Psychodrama?

BBC, U.K.: Ecuador Ruling on WikiLeaks' Assange Due 'on Thursday'

SMH, Australia: Assange Threataned with Arrest

El Universo, Ecuador: If Only Our President Would Have Dinner with Reporters

SMH, Australia: Australia Letter 'Spurs' Assange Flee

Guardian, U.K.: Assange Asylum Move is 'a Tragedy' for His Accusers: Lawyer

Guardian, U.K.: Julian Assange Requests Asylum at Ecuador Embassy - Live Coverage

Le Monde, France: Le Monde Names Julian Assange Man of the Year

Vremya, Russia: Good Riddance to the 'Zeroes': When the Nineties Turned Ugly

Die Zeit, Germany: If Only WikiLeaks Existed Before the Iraq War Began

Folha, Brazil: Testimony of Sex Charges Against Assange Don't Belong in Public

Guardian, U.K.: Ten Days in Sweden - The Full Allegations Against Assange

Libération, France: WikiLeaks: A War, But What Kind of War?

Le Monde, France: Le Monde Names Julian Assange Man of the Year

El Mundo, Spain: Julian Assange: The 21st Century 'Mick Jagger' of Data

Novaya Gazeta, Russia: An 'Assange' on Both Your Houses!

El País, Spain: Cables: Brazil Warned Chavez 'Not to Play' with U.S. 'Fire'

El Heraldo, Honduras: The Panic of 'America's Buffoon' Hugo Chavez

Jornal de Notícias, Portugal: If West Persecutes Assange, it Will What it Deserves

Correio da Manhã, Portugal: WikiLeaks: A 'Catastrophe' for Cyber-Dependent States

Romania Libera: WikiLeaks Undermines Radical Left; Confirms American Competence

Le Figaro, France: And the Winner of the Bout Over WikiLeaks is … America

News, Switzerland: Assange the Latest Fall Guy for Crimes of World's Power Elite

Libération, France: Who Rules? Hackers, the Press and Our Leaders - in that Order

Tal Cual, Venezuela: If Only WikiLeaks Would Expose President Chavez

Berliner Zeitung, Germany: Assault on Assange Betrays U.S. Founding Principles

El Universal, Mexico: WikiLeaks Revelations a Devastating Shock to Mexico

L'Orient Le Jour, Lebanon: WikiLeaks Makes 'Mockery' of 'U.S. Colossus'

Jornal de Negócios, Portugal: More than We Wanted to Know. Or Maybe Not!

DNA, France: The WikiLeaks Disclosures: A Journalist's Ambivalence

Global Times, China: WikiLeaks Poses Greater Risk to West's 'Enemies'

FAZ, Germany: Ahmadinejad's Chief-of-Staff Calls WikiLeaks Cables 'Lies'

Al-Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Saudis Ask: Who Benefitted from WikiLeaks Disclosure?

Guardian, U.K.: Cables Portray Saudi Arabia as a Cash Machine for Terrorists

El País, Spain: Cables Expose Nuance of U.S. Displeasure with Spain Government

El País, Spain: Thanks to WikiLeaks' Disclosure, Classical Diplomacy is Dead

Guardian, U.K.: Saudi Arabia Urges U.S. Attack on Iran

Hurriyet, Turkey: Erdogan Needs 'Anger Management' Over U.S. Cables

Saudi Gazette, Saudi Arabia: WikiLeaks Reveals 'Feeling, Flawed' Human Beings

Frontier Post, Pakistan: WikiLeaks Reveals 'America's Dark Face' to the World

The Nation: WikiLeaks' Release: An Invaluable Exposure of American Hypocrisy

Buenos Aires Herald, Argentina: Without Hypocrisy, Global Ties Would Be Chaos

Kayhan, Iran: WikiLeaks Release a 'U.S. Plot to Sow Discord'

El Universal, Mexico: WikiLeaks and Mexico's Battle Against Drug Trafficking

Toronto Star, Canada: WikiLeaks Dump Reveals Seamy Side of Diplomacy

Guardian, U.K.: WikiLeaks Cables, Day 3: Summary of Today's Key Points

Guardian, U.K.: Leaked Cables Reveal China is 'Ready to Abandon' North Korea

Hurriyet, Turkey: American Cables Prove Turkish Claims on Missile Defense False

The Nation, Pakistan: WikiLeaks: An Invaluable Exposure of American Hypocrisy

Kayhan, Iran: WikiLeaks Revelations a 'U.S. Intelligence Operation': Ahmadinejad

Novosti, Russia: 'Russia Will be Guided by Actions, Not Leaked Secrets'

Guardian, U.K.: Job of Media Is Not to Protect Powerful from Embarrassment




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[Posted by Worldmeets.US Aug. 22, 5:09pm]




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