Former and much loved Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has accused Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno of suspending the asylum of cyber-activist Julian Assange in order to obtain a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Correa said that there is evidence of the agreement and that Moreno, whom Correa selected at his successor, has promised to “hand over” Assange in a 2017 meeting with Paul Manafort, former US campaign chief to Donald Trump.
Former President Correa, who broke with Moreno, also commented on visits to Ecuador by US Vice President Mike Pence.
At these times, Moreno would have promised to “help isolate Venezuela, leave the Chevron oil corporation, a company that destroyed half of the Amazon rainforest, unpunished, and to deliver Assange.”
Last month, the IMF announced approval of a $4.2 billion loan to Ecuador. The first installment, of $652 million, has already been paid.
Correa suspects that the Ecuadorian president made the decision to withdraw Assange’s asylum after WikiLeaks published documents about Moreno’s alleged relationship with a failing company, INA Papers.
The former president pointed out that the company INA Papers was registered in 2012, when Moreno was still its vice president.
According to the Ecuadorian head of state, the measure to remove his asylum was a response to the journalist’s disrespectful and aggressive behavior, his hostile and threatening statements against Ecuador and alleged violations of international conventions, justifications considered to be unconvincing both by supporters of the cyber-activist as by several analysts.
Assange, who is responsible for the publication of US government secret documents, is the reason for the extradition request. The great concern for his lawyers – and he too – is that the British authorities actually decide to send him to the United States, where the legal consequences of upsetting Washington are still uncertain.
Assange will be on videoconference for the proceedings of the next extradition hearing, set for May 2.
It will be a preliminary session of a court case that can last for months or even years.
Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.
Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies. He has an MA in International Relations and is interested in Great Power Rivalry as well as the International Relations and Political Economy of the Middle East and Latin America.