Cuba and Ecuador Celebrate Migration Talks Round

The 9th round of Migration Talks between Cuba and Ecuador is being held on Monday in this capital, the Foreign Ministry reported in its website.

The meeting will end Tuesday and is an important moment to strengthen bilateral cooperation in migration matters, in order to guarantee a regular, orderly and safe migration flow between both countries.

During the meeting, it also seeks to make a more effective confrontation to irregular migration and the fight against illegal trafficking of migrants, human trafficking and other related crimes, the report adds.

The Cuban delegation is headed by the Cuban deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, Ana Teresita González, while the Ecuadorian side is headed by Deputy Minister of Human Mobility, Santiago Chavez.

  • Published in Cuba

Journalists willing participants in Ecuador’s attempt at Assange character assassination

Ecuador’s attempted character assassination of whistleblower Julian Assange stepped up since his arrest last week, with officials offering various excuses to justify his expulsion — and the media has been eagerly lapping it up.

Apparently more interested in (allegedly) salacious details of Assange’s almost seven-year exile inside the west-London embassy, members of the UK and US press have been breathlessly repeating flaky Quito-leaked claims about his living habits and personal hygiene.

While Assange awaits the very likely possibility of extradition to the US and prosecution for reporting on the sins of the world’s most powerful, mainstream media “journalists” are doing humanity another great service — by posting irrelevant videos and pictures taken inside the embassy in an effort to assist Quito in its smearing efforts.

Footage of Assange messing around on a skateboard has travelled around the world quicker than a historic WikiLeaks document dump (back when the media was interested in cashing in off the back of Assange’s work).

The way Establishment media culture built up the cult of WikiLeaks, profited off WikiLeaks, then savagely turned on Assange with shameless hive mind efficiency—is something frightening, like a real-life "irrational mob mentality" in action

News outlets around the globe have been excitedly posting the footage and any other juicy tidbits they can get their hands on, but the UK’s Daily Mail has truly been on top of the story, reporting on Assange the “overgrown teenager” and even posting “exclusive” photographs of his “fetid lair” and the “squalid horror” in which he lived.

This Pulitzer-worthy scoop contained one photograph of a perfectly clean bathroom and a sneaky snap of a kitchen with one not-yet-washed dinner dish. Assange, the Mail tells us, also “had the run” of the embassy and “bagged” himself a nice bedroom. The lucky thing; one wonders why he ever complained about his circumstances at all. Who needs unnecessary luxuries like light, air, medical care or internet access?

This bathroom is part of the "squalid horror" which "drove" Ecuador to kick Assange of its embassy, according to  

Other accusations from Ecuador have included that the WikiLeaks founder played loud music, left the cooker on, smeared feces over the walls of his bathroom and left some dirty underwear in the toilet. Notably, those particular claims have not been backed up by evidence — but they are still being reported on without little to no skepticism at all.

READ MORE: 'If Assange is criminalized & incarcerated, you'll never be free again' – George Galloway

The always-curious minds that populate US and UK newsrooms have instantly accepted and promoted the notion that it was not extreme pressure from Washington that prompted Ecuador to finally push the eject button on Assange’s stay, it was obviously this convenient “misbehavior” that got too much for them.

Or perhaps it was the leaked pictures of Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno eating lobster in a fancy hotel room bed that finally did it. WikiLeaks denies having anything to do with the leak, but they are indeed the kind of photographs that might anger a corruption scandal-plagued president who imposed austerity measures on his citizens while apparently living the high life himself; just the kind of man journalists ought to be cherrily assisting in the shameless smearing of a whistleblower who is desperately fighting for his freedom.

There’s little concern either from Assange’s fellow journalists that Ecuador was seemingly spying on him while inside the embassy. Instead, the media has dutifully and unquestioningly reported Quito’s claims that Assange himself used the embassy as a “center for spying.” In one particular attempt to justify its decision to revoke his asylum and invite British police inside its embassy to arrest him, Ecuadorian officials claimed Assange’s cat was possibly spying on them with a secret camera embedded in its collar.

Meanwhile, as journalists and commentators joke about his plight, Assange is languishing in the UK’s notorious maximum Belmarsh Prison where he awaits a US extradition hearing for the crime of committing real journalism.

Danielle Ryan RT

  • Published in World

Julian Assange's Arrest Prompts International Outcry from UN, Rights Activists, Gov'ts

“The hand of ‘democracy’ squeezing the throat of freedom," Maria Zakharova exclaimed regarding.

Legal experts, human rights activists and several governments decried the arrest of co-founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange Thursday in London at the embassy of Ecuador, a South American country where he was granted asylum in 2012 by former President Rafael Correa.

RELATED: Julian Assange Arrested by British Police After Ecuador Withdraws Asylum

"Julian Assange did not 'walk out of the embassy'. The Ecuadorian ambassador invited British police into the embassy and he was immediately arrested," WikiLeaks said in reaction to events. 

Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno Thursday suspended Assange's asylum on the grounds that the journalist had repeatedly violated the diplomatic asylum conventions.

Many voices immediately criticized the Ecuadorean government's decision. One of the first reactions came from Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova who criticized the arrest and pointed out that “the hand of ‘democracy’ squeezing the throat of freedom." 

United Nations experts

U.N. human rights experts rallied to Julian Assange Thursday, criticizing Ecuador and Britain over his arrest and warning of grave consequences should he be extradited to the United States.

The United Nations special rapporteur on arbitrary, summary or extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, said Ecuador’s decision “has exposed Assange to a real risk of serious violations of his human rights”.

Separately, the U.N. rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joe Cannataci, said he would not change his previously announced intention to meet Assange later this month or to investigate his claims that his privacy had been violated.

The arrest merely means that “instead of visiting Mr Assange and speaking to him at the Embassy of the Republic of Ecuador in London, I will visit him and speak to him in a police station or elsewhere in the UK where he may be held in custody,” Cannataci said in a statement.

British human rights defender Peter Tatchell

“The decision of the Ecuadorean government to hand over Assange to the UK police is a clear violation of his Ecuadorean citizenship and asylum rights. Ecuador has failed in its duty to protect its citizen."

“Assange’s arrest will put him at risk of extradition to the US, where he will very likely face charges that could see him jailed for 30 or more years. A secret grand jury has been convened to prepare an indictment against Assange and key Trump officials have said that prosecuting Assange is a priority."

“Assange did not leak anything. He published the leaks of Chelsea Manning, as did The Guardian and New York Times. Why is he being signaled out?"

Read the United States’ indictment against Julian Assange

Ecuador’s former President Rafael Correa

“The greatest traitor in Ecuadorean and Latin American history, Lenin Moreno, allowed the British police to enter our embassy in London to arrest Assange. Moreno is a corrupt man, but what he has done is a crime that humanity will never forget.”

"'Sovereign decision’, beautiful label for treason, foreign police entrance in our Embassy, and the delivery of an Ecuadorian citizen. So much cowardice and human misery have seldom been seen! The story will be relentless with those guilty of something so atrocious.”

Ben Wizner, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project

“Any prosecution by the U.S. of Mr. Assange for Wikileaks’ publishing operations would be unprecedented and unconstitutional, and would open the door to criminal investigations of other news organizations. Moreover, prosecuting a foreign publisher for violating U.S. secrecy laws would set an especially dangerous precedent for U.S. journalists, who routinely violate foreign secrecy laws to deliver information vital to the public's interest."

National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden

“Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom.”

“The United Nations formally ruled his detention to be arbitrary, a violation of human rights. They have repeatedly issued statements calling for him to walk free—including very recently.”

WikiLeaks

"Assange has been arrested in relation to a US extradition request for "conspiracy with Chelsea Manning" for publishing Iraq War Logs, Cablegate, Afghan War Logs, precisely the persecution for which he was granted asylum under the 1951 Refugee Convention in 2012."

"This man is a son, a father, a brother. He has won dozens of journalism awards. He's been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year since 2010. Powerful actors, including CIA, are engaged in a sophisticated effort to dehumanise, delegitimize and imprison him."

Bolivia's President Evo Morales

"Our solidarity with brother Julian Assange who is being persecuted by the U.S. government for revealing the truth about human rights violations, murders of civilians and diplomatic espionage against sovereign countries."

The President of the Catalan Autonomous Government Joaquim Torra

“Solidarity and support for Julian Assange. Respect for freedom, and especially freedom of expression, must be the pillars of the European Union. And thank you for supporting the Catalans in the fall of 2017.”

Former President of the Catalan Autonomous Government Carles Puigdemont

“All my support and solidarity to Julian Assange and my personal affection before this unjust situation. The European Union must protect fundamental rights and must guarantee that the defense of freedoms always has protection.”

Former Catalan Republican Left candidate Gabriel Rufian

“They did not arrest just one man today. They arrested a way of understanding journalism and freedom. He was with us and we will be with him. We will closely follow his procedural situation and ask for a clear positioning to the Spanish government. Freedom for Julian Assange.”

“Assange published evidence of American war crimes. He’s a hero, not a criminal."

  • Published in World

INA Papers: Ecuador National Assembly Opens Inquiry on Head of Legislative

A commission will investigate a conversation between Elizabeth Cabezas and Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo, in which they collude to prevent the creation of a corruption probe against Moreno.

Ecuadorean National Assembly’s Legislative Administration Council (CAL) approved Sunday to start an inquiry against the head of the Legislative, Elizabeth Cabezas, in the case of a leaked audio, regarding the INA Papers corruption case.

RELATED: INA Papers: The Corruption Case Against Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno 

With six votes in favor and one against, the council members accepted the accusation presented by lawmaker Amapola Naranjo against the President of the National Assembly. The session was not chaired by Cabezas, yet she entered the meeting, presented two motions and subsequently excused herself from directing it for "ethical" reasons.

A multiparty commission will be formed to investigate the conversation between Cabezas and Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo, in which Cabezas pressures Romo into helping to prevent the creation of an investigatory commission to probe corruption allegations against President Lenin Moreno in regard to the INA Papers accusations. 

The case involves a publication made on Feb. 19 by "La Fuente" (The Source), a digital news outlet owned by Fernando Villavicencio, an outspoken critic of ex-president Rafael Correa. The investigation presented a presumed link between Moreno and the company INA Investment Corp, a Panama offshore firm, from which a series of payments, gifts, purchases of furniture and even a luxury apartment in Spain were bought for the president’s family.

RELATED: Ecuador National Assembly to Start Corruption Probe of Moreno

This comes as more processes add up into a national probe against the Head of State. Former President Rafael Correa said that the trail of corruption more than ever “points toward Moreno.” On Wednesday, with 74 votes, the National Assembly approved a resolution that requires the Inspection Commission to carry out an analysis of the same publication.

While on Monday, April 1, Moreno, 153 public officials, authorities and other defendants have been compelled to appear in front of judiciary hearing regarding Cabezas and the National Assembly's prior refusal to start the corruption probe. Separate to this process, Saturday Ecuador’s Attorney General initiated a preliminary inquiry into the whole set of accusations, presented by lawmaker Ronny Aleaga. 

Meanwhile, Moreno and Cabezas are pushing back against the accusations saying the leaks are part of a smear campaign against his government because Aleaga is a member of the Citizen Revolution, a political movement founded by former President Rafael Correa. 

“Our fight is against the true corrupt officials, not to destabilize the government. We owe ourselves to the people," tweeted Citizen Revolution lawmajer Amapola Naranjo after the decision was made. 

Tuesday another legislator of Citizen Revolution, Lira Villalva, publicly denounced political persecution as the National Assembly President, accused Aleaga of three crimes: violation of privacy, illegal association, and illegal data interception.

  • Published in World

Ecuador Suspends Participation in UNASUR, To Formally Withdraw

The organization, meant to integrate South American countries as a counter to U.S. hegemony, has five remaning members.

In a letter addressed to the Secretariat of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) Pro Tempore Monday the Ecuadorean government formalized the decision to suspend its participation and withdraw from the Constitutional Treaty of Unasur thereby leaving the bloc.

RELATED Duque: Colombia Will Create Prosur To Replace Unasur

"Ecuador will stop participating in all activities and commitments of the organization and initiate internal procedures for the retraction of the treaty," said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador, Jose Valencia, to his Bolivian counterpart, Diego Pary, whose country is in charge of the Pro Tempore Secretariat.

The government of Lenin Moreno is now the second to formalize its abandonment of the treaty, joining Colombian President Ivan Duque, who on Aug, 27, 2018 made a similar decision. Since April 2018, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Peru suspended their participation, leaving Venezuela, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and Uruguay as active members.

The decision comes six months after the Ecuadorean foreign minister publicly ruled out that his country would leave the organization during a press conference where, instead announcing withdrawal from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, the Trade Treaty of the American Peoples (ALBA-TCP).

Former President Rafael Correa, expressed via Twitter that this decision is "a death sentence for the organization." This possible dissolution occurs at a time of ascension for right-wing governments in the region, with Chilean President Sebastian Piñera proposing a new regional bloc called Prosur.

However, Ecuador’s withdrawal will not be immediate. According to article 24 of the Constitutional Treaty of Unasur, the pullout will take effect after six months from the date the notification was received by the body. The Ecuadorean constitution of 2008 itself states that leaving international treaties are required to pass through the countyr’s National Assembly.

Once the retreat becomes official, it’s headquarters, located in Quito, and whose property was donated by the government of Rafael Correa, will return to state hands, leaving the body without any building. In July 2018, Lenin Moreno announced his plans for the building, where he hopes to create an intercultural university.

Unasur has promoted regional integration since its creation in Brasilia on May 23, 2008, under the leadership of the Bolivarian revolutionary, Hugo Chávez.

  • Published in World

Former Ecuadorean Leader Rips Current Administration As 'Toxic'

Ecuador is making right-ward movements, looking for IMF loans, that could mean impending hardship for the Ecuadorean people.

Former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa denounces the current administration of Lenin Moreno as “toxic” and warns that he’ll return to Ecuador if required to run as member of the National Assembly or as a vice-presidential candidate.

RELATED Ecuador: IMF Loan Yet to Be Granted, Austerity Measures a Condition for Agreement

The former head of state currently lives in Belgium and hosts his own online program called Enlace Digital in which he makes commententary on world issues and Ecuadorean politics. His 9th show was dedicated to what he calls the “betrayal” of the Moreno government and its failure in avoiding “elite control of the country for the next 30 years” as Ecuador moves further toward embracing the neoliberal policies that culminated in its economic collapse of 1998-1999.

He appealed to the "people to take out the government which has only betrayed them" calling on the current president to issues a "muerte cruzada," a term referring to the power of the executive to dissolve the government and call for new elections.

On Feb. 20, Ecuador’s General Secretary of Communications issued a statement, signed by President Lenin Moreno, confirming the signing of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for USD$4.2 billion.

Social groups fear this means the beginning of the Moreno government’s move towards damaging neoliberal reforms. The agreement signed by the IMF was a “Staff Level Agreement,” which means that the USD$4.2 billion loan will only be granted to cash-strapped Ecuador if it complies with certain conditions first.

These conditions are likely to mean austerity for the Ecuadorean people, however no announcements have been made thus far on what these measures will look like. The relative experience of other Latin American countries, like Argentina, provides a hint at what may occur.

Argentine social movements have called attention to the fact that the recent IMF bailout agreed to in their country has, in fact, worsened the economic situation. Several demonstrations have already happened in Argentina to protest the IMF-backed austerity economic measures implemented by the government of President Mauricio Macri.

The inflation rate for Argentina from January 2019 vs January 2018 was at 49% making life extremely difficult for poor and middle class Argentines.

Despite these warnings, Ecuador is moving forward with these agreements.

Correa was president of Ecuador from 2007 to 2017 and was responsible for the country’s “pink tide” movement to left-wing policies which saw poverty decrease by 14% and an annual GDP growth of 1.5%.

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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.

  • Published in World
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