Ecuador expels Venezuelan ambassador after minister in Caracas called Moreno a ‘liar’

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister has ordered Venezuelan Ambassador Carol Delgado to leave the country over ‘offensive statements’ made by the country’s communication minister about Ecuador’s president Lenín Moreno.

The Venezuelan minister Jorge Rodríguez on Wednesday accused the Ecuadorean president of inflating the number of refugees arriving across the border from Venezuela. Quito said it “will not tolerate any sign of disrespect to its authorities” when announcing the expulsion of the diplomat. The statement published by Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry said the country will continue to provide aid to Venezuelan refugees and added that its own chargé d’affaires will be recalled from Caracas for consultations.

This appears to be the Rodriguez statement attacking Lenin Moreno that caused to expel the Venezuelan ambassador in Quito.

Ministro de Comunicación venezolano, Jorge Rodríguez, llama "mentiroso" al Presidente de Ecuador , y afirma que las cifras de migrantes venezolanos están "infladas".

Rodríguez called Moreno a liar over his statements that each day 6,000 Venezuelans were arriving in Ecuador, fleeing form the economic crisis in their country. The Venezuelan minister argued it was logistically impossible.

 
© Global Look Press / imago stock&people 

“He is a liar, and dares to lie on the podium of the United Nations because that was what he was ordered to do to boost this hoax,” Rodríguez told a media conference, referring to Moreno’s speech before the UN General Assembly last month.

The Ecuadorean president at the time called the refugee crisis “the largest exodus” in Latin America’s history and called on other nations to respond to it in solidarity with each other.

The Venezuelan official claimed that most of the refugees living in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, and Argentina were “fed up with hate crimes” they face there and want to return to their home country.

An estimated two million people have left Venezuela since 2015, when the country plunged into economic and political problems, which are aggravated by a mounting burden of economic sanctions imposed by the United States.

Ecuador used to be a close ally of Venezuela, with both pursuing a socialist model of development. Moreno, who took office last year, has been distancing Quito from socialism and seeking closer cooperation with Washington and its regional allies.

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Ecuador Rejects Reports on Assange but It Admits New Protocol

Ecuador on Wednesday rejected reports about pressure from UN officials on the government, regarding the situation of Julian Assange, but it accepted to implement a new Special Protocol to maintain his asylum status.

'The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador rejects with indignation such stories and underlines that the president of the Republic did not even discuss the issue of Mr. Assange's asylum with the United Nations high commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, or with the United Nations special rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, David Kaye,' an official statement said.

According to the press release, the fake reports aim to maintain that UN officials pressured Ecuador to make the decision to issue a Special Protocol with regulations on the minimum conditions of the asylum seeker's stay at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

In the document, the Ministry explained that the UN and UNHCR representatives in Ecuador, who participated in the meetings, corroborated in statements to the media that the issue was not dealt with in any of the gatherings.

It also added that according to the specifications of Filippo Grandi, the founder of WikiLeaks, the portal published thousands of classified documents from several countries, mainly the United States, is not a refugee, but an asylum seeker in a diplomatic mission and therefore, the issue is outside the jurisdiction of its organization.

After insisting that the information published by digital media 'shamelessly' tried to note the pressure exerted on the national government, the Foreign Ministry concluded: 'Nothing further from the truth: Ecuador is a sovereign State, which takes its foreign policy decisions with autonomy and looking only at the defense of its national interests, with strict adherence to international law.'

The official statement was issued in response to news published by several sites that mentioned a 10-page Special Protocol, with indications on the payment of food, laundry and medical care (which will also be strictly regulated), visiting regime and the use of communications, which Assange must comply with, in order to maintain his condition as asylum seeker.

Ecuador Rejects Reports on Assange but It Admits New Protocol

Ecuador on Wednesday rejected reports about pressure from UN officials on the government, regarding the situation of Julian Assange, but it accepted to implement a new Special Protocol to maintain his asylum status.

'The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador rejects with indignation such stories and underlines that the president of the Republic did not even discuss the issue of Mr. Assange's asylum with the United Nations high commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, or with the United Nations special rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, David Kaye,' an official statement said.

According to the press release, the fake reports aim to maintain that UN officials pressured Ecuador to make the decision to issue a Special Protocol with regulations on the minimum conditions of the asylum seeker's stay at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

In the document, the Ministry explained that the UN and UNHCR representatives in Ecuador, who participated in the meetings, corroborated in statements to the media that the issue was not dealt with in any of the gatherings.

It also added that according to the specifications of Filippo Grandi, the founder of WikiLeaks, the portal published thousands of classified documents from several countries, mainly the United States, is not a refugee, but an asylum seeker in a diplomatic mission and therefore, the issue is outside the jurisdiction of its organization.

After insisting that the information published by digital media 'shamelessly' tried to note the pressure exerted on the national government, the Foreign Ministry concluded: 'Nothing further from the truth: Ecuador is a sovereign State, which takes its foreign policy decisions with autonomy and looking only at the defense of its national interests, with strict adherence to international law.'

The official statement was issued in response to news published by several sites that mentioned a 10-page Special Protocol, with indications on the payment of food, laundry and medical care (which will also be strictly regulated), visiting regime and the use of communications, which Assange must comply with, in order to maintain his condition as asylum seeker.

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Ecuador To Partly Restore Internet Access For Julian Assange

London: The Ecuadorian government will partially restore communications for Julian Assange at the country's embassy in London, Wikileaks said.

The Wikileaks founder, who has been holed up at the embassy since 2012, was stopped from using the internet or a mobile phone to communicate with the outside world in March.

"Ecuador has told WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange that it will remove the isolation regime imposed on him following meetings between two senior UN officials and Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno on Friday," Wikileaks said in a statement on Sunday.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, Wikileaks editor in chief, described the move as "positive" but said it is "of grave concern that his freedom to express his opinions is still limited".

The decision to cut off Assange's communications was taken because the Australian had broken a 2017 promise to not interfere in other countries' affairs while in the mission, the Ecuadorian government said at the time. 

It came days after he used Twitter to challenge Britain's accusation that Russia was responsible for the nerve agent poisoning of a Russian former double agent in the English city of Salisbury. 

He also attacked the arrest in Germany of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont under an EU warrant issued by Spain over Puigdemont's failed bid last year to declare independence for his Spanish region. 

Ecuador installed a jammer to prevent him from accessing email and restricted the number of visitors he can receive.

Assange took refuge in the diplomatic mission in 2012 after a British judge ruled he should be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault there.

Assange claims the accusations were politically motivated and could lead to him being extradited to the United States to face imprisonment over WikiLeaks' publication of secret US military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.

Sweden dropped its investigation last year, but British authorities say they still want to arrest him for breaching his bail conditions.

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Ecuador gets UN praise for ‘freedom of expression’ as Assange remains gagged in embassy limbo

A UN official praised Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno for his treatment of journalists despite the fact that the leader is said to be preparing to hand over WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange to the governments persecuting him.

UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye commended Ecuador and Moreno for supposedly promoting freedom of speech – the same Moreno that recently cut off communications to fugitive whistleblower Julian Assange and has been mulling handing him over to the UK and the US to be tried as a spy.

Assange, the co-founder of WikiLeaks, was granted political asylum by Moreno’s predecessor Rafael Correa in 2012 and became an Ecuadorian citizen in December 2017. In order to hand Assange over, Moreno would have to strip him of that citizenship first, as Ecuador’s extradition treaty with the UK precludes turning over its own citizens.

 
Moreno’s government invited Kaye to meet Ecuadorian authorities, journalists, academics, and civil society groups during a recent visit. The UN official was briefed on “ongoing legal and policy changes” instituted by Moreno, who has taken a hard right turn from the government of his predecessor Correa, most notably in resuming military cooperation with the US.

Kaye’s fulsome praise for the Moreno government rang especially hollow where he discussed whistleblowing and the internet: “He also urged strong promotion for independent journalism and the safety of journalists […] including by developing strong whistleblower protections for both public officials and private employees; and several steps to improve the rights people in Ecuador enjoy online.”

Assange is famous for developing WikiLeaks as a secure, anonymous platform for whistleblowers. His supporters were outraged when Moreno revoked his internet access earlier this year, leaving him completely cut off from the outside world. Moreno has maintained that he will respect Assange’s asylum as long as the journalist doesn’t engage in “political activity,” but he remains incommunicado despite this promise.

By inviting Kaye to visit Ecuador, Moreno may hope to preempt some of the international outrage that would result from sending an Ecuadorian citizen off to possibly spend decades in prison for doing journalistic work. Assange, after all, merely published information that he was given by whistleblowers, as journalists have for hundreds of years. Such acts are protected by US and UK law. But since some of that information concerned the shady conduct of American diplomats, military, and spies, Washington treats Assange as an enemy of the state. And once the UK has custody of Assange, it is assumed he will be transferred to the US.

Assange's last video before communications cut at Ecuadorian Embassy in London (FULL)

Assange is not the only Ecuadorian who Moreno has betrayed. Correa himself, who gave Moreno his blessing as his successor, was forced to flee to Belgium earlier this year after what he claims was a politically motivated prosecution for the alleged 2012 kidnapping of a political opponent. Correa turned on his protege after Moreno proposed a constitutional referendum that would have barred Correa from running for office again, and Moreno – whom he now calls a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” – has since overturned many of his predecessor’s reforms.

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Ecuador: Correa Accuses Gov’t of US Pact After Chevron Ruling

Lenin Moreno's government said the state is obliged to reverse a Constitutional Court ruling stating Chevron should pay for environmental damages.

Ecuador’s former president Rafael Correa has accused the government of past ally Lenin Moreno of “doing homework ordered by (the United States Vice President Mike) Pence” after Ecuador’s Solicitor General, Iñigo Salvador, said the country would have to pay economic reparations to oil giant Chevron, a company local courts ruled should pay US$9.5 billion for social and environmental damages.

ANALYSIS: 'Self-Sabotage:' Ecuador Embraces Neoliberal Reform and US Interests 

“How well are they doing homework ordered by Pence! Julian Assange, International Monetary Fund austerity, a boycott of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), exit form ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America), a ‘security’ office with spy planes and Chevron. And it will continue. They want to be outstanding students,” Correa tweeted Friday.

Pablo Fajardo, a lawyer for the communities affected by Chevron's actions, has also asked the Moreno government to answer similar accusations. 

In 2006, Chevron sued Ecuador for violating a bilateral investment treaty with the U.S., which was signed in 1997, to avoid liability for environmental damage caused in an area where Texaco operated for three decades. However, the bilateral investment treaty was signed years after Texaco, bought by Chevron in 2001, finished its extractive operations in the country.

Ecuador’s former defense team argued the investment treaty couldn't be applied retroactively and spent years defending itself and supporting the people affected by Chevron-Texaco. Correa government also led an international campaign known as the "Dirty Hand of Chevron" that aimed to raise public awareness of the environmental disaster Texaco left behind and mount pressure for a cleanup.

RELATED: Ecuador's Constitutional Court Rules Against Chevron, in Favor of Indigenous Communities

The ruling by the Permanent Arbitration Court in the Hague, Netherlands, announced by Salvador was not unusual. As Pablo Fajardo explained: “ the system of international arbitration is designed to protect corporations.”

What stirred controversy was the Ecuadorean government’s response to the court’s ruling. Salvador not only said the country will have to pay Chevron without announcing any actions against the ruling but also announced the state had the responsibility to nullify the US$9.5 billion ruling against Chevron and in favor of the affected communities, ratified earlier this year by the Constitutional Court, Ecuador highest court, which was suspended a week prior to the Chevron announcement.

The Ecuadorean government has also accepted an ordered to nullify a Constitutional Court ruling when there is no Constitutional Court to challenge the executive's power.

Criticism of the government’s “passive” reaction was not limited to opposition groups and Correa supporters. Several ministers within Moreno’s cabinet and state institutions have issued statements in support of the Constitutional Court ruling and urging the state to continue defending the “national interest.”

Moreno’s education minister Fander Falconi said via Twitter: “Chevron’s grave harm against our people and ecosystem are obvious… We must condemn the ruling and those responsible, its contents threaten the right of the people of the Amazon.”

Moreno’s former minister of the environment Tarsicio Granizo said: “I think a campaign by the state against the ruling of The Hague is necessary to show the world the harm Chevron caused to the Amazon and its people.”

The Defensoria del Pueblo, or Office of the Ombudsman, urged the “national government to seek a solution that prioritizes the right of communities in the Amazon to integral reparations and restoration of nature.”

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Ecuador: Guayaquil to Host 4th International Book Fair

Quito, Sep 4 (Prensa Latina) The Ecuadorian coastal city of Guayaquil will host the 4th International Book Fair, scheduled from September 5 to 9 at the Convention Center.

With Spain as the guest country, the event will be attended by six Spanish authors: Javier Sierra, Juan Manuel de Prada, Javier Moro, Elena Medel, Maria Elvira Roca Barea, Miguel Gane and Nerea Perez de las Heras, who will present their books and will participate in colloquiums.

More than 600 titles from major publishing houses and a selection from the publication service of Spanish Cooperation will be available at Spain's stand.

The fair will also be attended by the authors Carmen Boullosa and Julian Herbet (Mexico), Ariana Harwicz and Rocardo Liniers Siri (Argentina), Giuseppe Caputo (Colombia), Frank Baez (Dominican Republic) and Alberto Montt (Chile-Ecuador).

According to organizers, the main objective of the fair is to promote reading as a practice to train the personality and citizenship of Guayaquil residents, as well as attracting new regular readers.

In addition to the commercial fair, those visiting the Convention Center of Guayaquil will enjoy literary zones, areas for children and youths, contests and other activities.

  • Published in Culture

'Assange's days in Ecuadorian Embassy in London are numbered' – Correa to RT

The days of Julian Assange’s residence in the Ecuadorian embassy in London are numbered, the country’s former president Rafael Correa, who was still at the helm when he offered the WikiLeaks founder asylum, has told RT.

Correa’s remarks came amid speculation that his successor, Lenin Moreno, may soon kick Assange out, probably to be arrested by British authorities. According to Assange himself, this would lead to the unsealing of a secret US indictment against him and his extradition to America.

Moreno this week said that, sooner or later, the whistleblower will have to leave the diplomatic mission. However, Ecuador wants to make sure that nothing “poses danger” to the whistleblower's life, the president stressed.
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FILE PHOTO: The Ecadorian embassy in central London © Toby Melville Assange will eventually have to leave our embassy in London – Ecuador President

“You can be sure that he [Moreno] is a hypocrite. He already has an agreement with the US about what will happen to Assange. And now he's just trying to sweeten the pill by saying he's going to have a dialogue” about conditions of the transfer, Correa told RT Spanish. “I'm afraid ... that Assange's days in our embassy are numbered.”

Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno, has made no secret that Assange’s refuge was a nuisance for his government, which he inherited from Correa. The Australian has been living at the compound since 2012 and has lately been barred by his Ecuadorean hosts from any communications.

Accusing the incumbent Ecuadorian president of “reducing [Assange] to a hacker who snooped in private emails,” Correa pointed out that Moreno cannot grasp the complexity of Assange's role in exposing human rights abuses by the US government, or the harsh punishment the 47-year-old will face if extradited to the US.

Correa, who now hosts a show on RT’s Spanish service, noted that unless Assange secures safe passage guarantees, he is likely to be prosecuted for espionage and treason “which may carry the death penalty.” While Moreno said on Friday that he is trying to negotiate Assange's security guarantees, Correa believes that the activist’s fate has already been sealed.

“[Moreno] talks about a dialogue, but everything has already been agreed with the UK government, especially after Vice President Pence's visit to Ecuador a few weeks ago,” Correa said.

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Rafael Correa and the Ecuadorian Injustice

Just as they have done with Lula in Brazil, Rafael Correa is being victim of the political persecution in a judicial path to terminate him in many ways. They have come at him so hard that I dared say it holds personal grudge at different levels.

For Correa "the strategy towards me is to kill me, put me in jail or prevent my return to Ecuador. We must stop the judicialization of politics. Let them try defeating us at the polls, not with their tricks!", said the former Ecuadorian president.

The order of imprisonment without bail was passed against him by judge Daniella Camacho who accused him for the alleged kidnapping of former legislator Fernando Baltra, that took place in 2012, but the controller assigned as well as the attorney that pursues him was finger picked, without proceedings, which is illegal, but that doesn’t matter, because the question was, or rather is, to put him in jail.

The order of imprisonment without bail was passed after the former leader didn’t show up at the headquarters of the National Court of Justice in Quito, but he did show up in the Consulate of Ecuador in Belgium, where he lives with his family for a year. Besides the detention order, the judge accepted the request of the Attorney’s Office of asking Interpol his arrest and extradition.

Commenting the case Balda’s kidnapping, Correa denounced that it’s a "huge ridicule with no perspective of success at all in the international arena". “Balda was at large from the Ecuadorian Justice" and “he was running illegal actions in Colombia", and he highlighted that “it’s clear that it was a police abuse". “A few policemen tried to arrest him and saw that with false testimonies could involve the very President of the Republic", he denounced.

“They know I live in Belgium. The District Attorney asked me to show up in the Consulate of Belgium every 15 days, but the judge establishes that I must show up every 15 days in Ecuador knowing that it’s impossible", says the former leader.

“There is no evidence, not a hint against me", emphasizes Correa while he brands the detention order as "an absolutely illegal mechanism that would be impossible in any country". "But the world looks the other way. If this had happened during my government with a political opponent, I would already be in the International Court of The Hague", he highlighted.

PLOT

Ten years of Civic Revolution in which great social achievements and a decrease of the poverty were part of an honest policy that made more equal the sharing of wealth. It was really a thorn on the side for the national oligarchy, while imperialism saw with concern the style of government of a leader who did not work for his interests.

That’s why is annoying to think how the current leader, Lenin Moreno who was always supported by Correa, has acted according to the enemies of the former President and obeyed rules that jeopardize the achievements of previous administration, nothing clear and that seems moved by desires of vengeance, I don't know the reasons why.

Undoubtedly, this action against Correa is part of the imperialistic task of coapt justice to pursue left-wing leaders.

At regional level, the case against Correa is not the only one, because there are the results of accusations against former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, the former Argentinean president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and the Ecuadorian vice-president Jorge Glas. Let’s remember that the former President of Ecuador had already been accused fruitlessly of wrong oil pre-sales, wrongfully negotiated contracts in that field, organized crime, traffic of influences, and everything in the last months, because they saw the strategy of judicializing politics.

All this has contributed to the boost of the right-wing in South America and the breaking of an institutionality that is essential for a good life.

Meanwhile, several personalities and world leaders have already expressed their solidarity with former Ecuadorian leader. Bolivian President, Evo Morales has criticized the "politicization of the Ecuadorian justice" and has also denounced the "interference of the U.S. in an attempt to incarcerate an innocent". Other people who expressed their solidarity with Correa the former leaders Ollanta Humala, from Peru, and Ernesto Samper, of Colombia, something necessary, even insufficient, to get the attention on the so-called Ecuadorian injustice.

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