Julian Assange, the Unwanted Guest
A country that, under the pretext of showing the world their staunch support of freedom of expression, has granted political asylum to the so-called “journalist” Julian Assange, whose goal is to protect himself from alleged political persecution; a completely different face compared to the constant aggression faced by local journalists and anyone who attempts investigative journalism about the local government.
Julian Assange is residing in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, forced by political persecution, according to many. Ecuador, the country that generated international headlines thanks to the “diplomatic narco suitcases”, suitcases which were understood to be exclusively for diplomatic use; the country that has a French-Ecuadorian chancellor with an “anti-imperialist” rhetoric.
Ecuador, the country with “all you need”, the government’s multimillion dollar tourism campaign, and which today faces attacks by its guest, who lashes out against his “friends”, accusing them of giving in to pressure from the State Department to restrict his access to the internet.
Given his clear political interference in the US presidential election, Ecuador has admitted to limiting his internet access but has denied giving in to pressure, or that any such pressure existed in the first place.
In addition to all this, we must take several things into account: Ecuador has a history of demanding censorship and respect for “internal order” with regard to Ecuadorian politicians and journalists from the countries that have granted them asylum, such as the case of former president Abdala Bucaram Ortiz, who was required to refrain from making political statements or getting involved in the activities of the Ecuadorian government; or the case of the journalist Emilio Palacio, a United States resident who was sentenced in Ecuador to pay millions in compensation to president Rafael Correa because of an editorial.
The censorship of former president Abdala Bucaram garnered local attention but had very limited transcendence on an international level; the supposed censorship of someone who is considered a “hostage” of the British government, however, has caused an international stir that could put the “cyber stability” of the South American country at risk, stability that had already been affected considerably by the acts of corruption and misappropriation evidenced in the “Panama papers”.
Julian Assange is a troubling figure for the Ecuadorian dissidents residing in the United States, and is beginning to trouble the local authorities and most likely the temperamental citizen president, Rafael Correa Delgado. What will be the agreement reached behind closed doors by the officials in the Ecuadorian government’s “pink circle”? We don’t know, but what is clear is that Julian Assange has gone from being the posterchild of support for freedom of the press and communication, to an unwanted guest in the Ecuadorian embassy.