FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Come to Ecuador, Julian!

Quito.

After the UK waived the right of Julian Assange to resist extradition to Sweden, Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. He is seeking political asylum in Ecuador to avoid prosecution in Sweden and possible deportation to the United States for exposing state secrets via Wikileaks.

Western media are second-guessing Assange’s choice. Is he crazy to want to go to Ecuador, of all the obscure places on this globe? UK and US officials are already putting pressure on the government of Ecuador to hand Assange over for prosecution for violating the terms of his bail. That pressure will no doubt intensify.

Assange interviewed Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa last month on his syndicated talk program with world leaders. The two men appeared cordial. After Wikileaks exposed U.S. accusations of Ecuadorean police corruption and presidential malfeasance, Ecuador expelled U.S. Ambassador Heather Hodges from the country in 2011.

The United States and Ecuador have been on touchy terms since Correa’s presidency began in 2007. Correa refused to renew the U.S. air base in Manta, on Ecuador’s Pacific coast, choosing instead to open an oil refinery there in partnership with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Correa said at the time that he would be glad to let the U.S. maintain its base in Ecuador if Ecuador were allowed to open a military base in Florida. Rafael Correa is not likely to be easily intimidated.

Critics of Assange’s decision to seek asylum in Ecuador cite Rafael Correa’s crackdown on oppositional media. From the start of Correa’s term in office, media have attacked him politically and personally. He has responded with law suits,
prosecutions of individuals and confiscations of media outlets, accusing his critics of colluding with the largest banks against the interests of the majority.

Correa’s censure of local media has brought him international criticism from organizations such as The Committee to Protect Journalists and the Inter American Press Association. Under intense international pressure he pardoned several high-profile journalists who had been fined and sentenced to prison.

But critics who believe Correa’s press crackdown should give Assange pause fail to realize that both men abhor media corruption, especially the complicity of mass media with governmental and financial interests and pressures. Opposing a free press seems to be a vile act. But opposing a Murdoch-like press, itself a vile species, much less so. Quoth A.J. Liebling: “Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one,” aka the one percent.

Changes in the new Ecuadorean constitution, written since Correa took office, have empowered the environmental movement on several fronts, on land and at sea. Assange will find Ecuador one of the greenest governments on earth. And with his popularity at a continued unprecedented high, Correa is highly likely to maintain the country’s presidency in the upcoming 2013 elections. So there would be no likely radical change of policy in the foreseeable future.

Though it’s a small country, Ecuador is ethnically and environmentally diverse, with lovely tropical coast, high volcanic Andes and Amazon rain forest. Indigenous peoples and Afro-Ecuadorians enrich the culture. Increasing numbers of U.S. retirees are choosing to move here. So while Ecuador may seem like a “last resort” for Julian Assange, he will actually have a number of resorts – and climates – from which to choose.

Mr. Assange will also find more than adequate high-speed internet connections available, at least in the urban areas. It’s not exactly a hardship post. And at least some of us who have chosen to live in Ecuador would be proud to have Julian Assange as a neighbor. There’s a perfectly comfortable two-bedroom apartment downstairs from us that’s currently available.

Julian, come on over!

JAMES McENTEER is the author of Shooting the Truth: the Rise of American Political Documentaries (Praeger 2006). He lives in Quito, Ecuador.

More articles by:

James McEnteer’s most recent book is Acting Like It Matters: John Malpede and the Los Angeles Poverty DepartmentHe lives in Quito, Ecuador.

December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
Jasmine Aguilera
Lessons From South of the Border
Manuel García, Jr.
A Formula for U.S. Election Outcomes
Sam Pizzigati
Drug Company Execs Make Millions Misleading Cancer Patients. Here’s One Way to Stop Them
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Agriculture as Wrong Turn
James McEnteer
And That’s The Way It Is: Essential Journalism Books of 2018
Chris Gilbert
Biplav’s Communist Party of Nepal on the Move: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian
Judith Deutsch
Siloed Thinking, Climate, and Disposable People: COP 24 and Our Discontent
Jill Richardson
Republicans Don’t Want Your Vote to Count
John Feffer
‘Get Me Outta Here’: Trump Turns the G20 into the G19
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail