Ecuador revokes decree eliminating fuel subsidy

After 11 uninterrupted days of national strike, the government and the indigenous movement of Ecuador agreed this Sunday to revoke Decree 883, which eliminated the subsidy for extra gasoline and diesel.

A new resolution repealed the provision, which resulted in a massive popular rejection to President Lenín Moreno's measures.

National protests against the so-called package were thus terminated, as well as the measures in effect since last October 3, when the decree became effective and the demonstrations began, uniting the majority of Ecuadorian citizens.

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Curfew in Ecuador's Capital Temporarily Lifted - Armed Forces

The restriction on movement of people in the Ecuadorian capital city of Quito amid ongoing protests has been temporarily halted, the command of the Ecuadorian Armed Forces said in a statement on Sunday.

On Saturday, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno imposed a curfew and military control in Quito and its outskirts. The Ministry of Tourism advised tourists not to leave hotels and airport.

"The restriction of movement in the Quito area is temporarily halted from 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. [16:30-01:00 GMT] on October 13," the statement read.

Restrictions remain in place in certain areas in the north of Quito, with the exception for the representatives of indigenous peoples who are expected to attend the meeting with Moreno on Sunday.

The meeting between the Ecuadorian president and protest leaders is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. local time.

Mass protests erupted in Ecuador in early October as thousands rallied across the country against the government's economic reforms, particularly, the decision to end decades-long fuel subsidies for people.

According to Moreno, Ecuador could no longer afford them and the cuts could help the country save some $2.27 billion a year. Additionally, the abolition of fuel subsidies was part of the Ecuadorian government's deal with the International Monetary Fund to be eligible for a $4.2 billion loan.

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Ecuador: Reports of Excessive Response to Protest Violence

Ecuadorian authorities should investigate and hold accountable demonstrators who committed serious acts of violence and members of security forces who responded with excessive force during ongoing anti-government protests, Human Rights Watch said today.

The protests began on October 3, 2019 after President Lenin Moreno signed off on austerity measures that eliminated a US$1.3 billion gasoline subsidy. Taxi and bus drivers, student groups, and thousands of indigenous people took to the streets in response, resulting in days of unrest.

“Ecuadorian authorities should conduct prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into allegations of excessive force by security forces and due process violations, as well as of violence by protesters,” said Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Accountability is key to ensure victims’ rights to justice and is an effective deterrent to abuse.”

Ecuador’s police have fired tear gas indiscriminately at protesters, sometimes in enclosed spaces or from a distance close enough to cause injuries, Human Rights Watch heard in interviews. The Ombudsperson’s Office reported that Ecuadorian authorities have detained more than 1,000 people since protests began and that some detainees were unable to contact their families or confer with attorneys.

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Ecuador: 90 Venezuelans Return Home

Quito, Jul 11 (Prensa Latina) Ninety Venezuelans returned home on Wednesday from this capital, as part of the Return to Homeland program, implemented by the Government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The returnees traveled by bus from the port city of Guayaquil to the Mariscal Sucre International Airport.

They took the 33rd Return to Homeland flight, as part of the humanitarian program established in September 2018.

On this occasion, 71 percent of passengers were adults, 22 percent were children and 5 percent were minors under two years of age.

As on previous flights, officials from the Venezuelan Embassy in Ecuador were present at the airport to guarantee all procedures for the departure of the aircraft.

According to statistics, more than 14,790 Venezuelans, including 7,145 from Brazil, 2,921 from Peru, 764 from Colombia, 276 from the Dominican Republic, 434 from Argentina and 272 from Chile, have returned home.

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100 years since the birth of Oswaldo Guayasamín

Excerpts of speech by Fidel during the inauguration of Guayasamín’s Chapel of man, Quito, Ecuador, November 29, 2002:

I remember the time very early in the Cuban Revolution, when, amidst hectic days, a man with an indigenous, tenacious, restless face, already well known and admired by many of our intellectuals, wanted to paint a portrait of me.

For the first time I was subjected to the torturous task. I was obliged to stand still, exactly as he said. I did not know if it would last an hour or a century…

I was in the presence of a no less than a great teacher and an exceptional person, who I would later come to know with ever-increasing admiration and deep affection: Oswaldo Guayasamín. He would have been around 42 years old at that time…

Guayasamín was perhaps the most noble and human person I ever met. He created at the speed of light, and his dimensions as a human being knew no limits…

I learned a great deal from my conversations with him.They enriched my conscience regarding the terrible drama of conquest, colonization, genocide and injustices committed against the indigenous peoples of this hemisphere: a lacerating pain that he carried among his deepest feelings. He was very knowledgeable about the history of that drama…

None of this escaped the profound thought, warmth and sense of human dignity of Oswaldo Guayasamín. He devoted his art and his life to building consciousness, denouncing, combating, and fighting these injustices.

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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.

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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

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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."

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