Thursday, June 27, 2013
“You need a reality check. Don’t act like such a spoiled rude child. Here you will only find dignity and sovereignty. We haven’t ever invaded anyone. Here we don’t torture like in Guantanamo. Here we don’t have drones killing alleged terrorists without any due trial, killing also the women and children of those supposed terrorists. So don’t come lecturing us about life, law, dignity, or liberty. You don’t have the moral right to do so.” — Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador, Interview, May 2013
The U. S. has threatened to eliminate Ecuador’s tariff and trade preference if Ecuador gives asylum to NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden. Today Ecuador responded to that threat.
At a press conference in Quito, National Communications Secretary Fernando Alvarado informed the world that Ecuador will not participate in the InterAndian Free Trade Pact. Alvarado said that Ecuador does not accept pressure or threats from anyone and will not compromise its principles for commercial interests, no matter how important they may be.
He wanted to remind the world that tariff preferences were originally granted as compensation to the Andean countries for their fight against drugs, but they soon became a new instrument of blackmail.
Alvarado said, “Consequently, Ecuador unilaterally and irrevocably rejects any such tariff preferences.
“Moreover, Ecuador offers the U.S. economic aid of 23 million dollars annually–an amount similar to that which we received from the tariff preferences–in order to provide training in human rights to help to avoid attacks on the privacy of people, torture, extrajudicial killings, and other acts injurious to mankind.
“Ecuador is one of only seven American countries that has ratified all of the inter-American human rights instruments, so we respectfully requested that the U.S. ratify at least some of them, starting with the American Convention on Human Rights or Pact of San José , the basis of the Inter American Human Rights System.
“We understand that there must be mechanisms to combat terrorism, but we cannot accept in this endeavor, that human rights and the sovereignty of peoples are trampled.
“We express the love, appreciation and respect for the American people with whom we have always had excellent relations and we sympathize with them for the massive espionage they have been subject to.
“Finally, we would enjoy that the U.S. respond with the same urgency that they are asking of us to deliver Mr. Snowden when he enters Ecuadorian soil, to our requests to the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador, via communication POL 081/2013 that they deliver to us the many fugitives from Ecuadorian justice who are currently living in the United States, particularly the corrupt bankers who knowingly destroyed our economy in 1999, whose extradition has been repeatedly denied by the United States.” Information gleaned from El Ciudadano.
In a news conference on June 24, speaking from Hanoi, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño read Snowden’s request for asylum. Patiño then addressed reporters, telling them that Ecuador responds based on principles “enshrined in its constitution and the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” He said that “the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be placed by Ecuador’s government over other interests that may be planted or by pressures that might be exerted.”
Patiño spoke about the “paradox” of Snowden’s case. “The man who is trying to shine a light and show transparency over acts that have affected the fundamental liberty of all people is now being pursued by those who should be giving explanations to governments and the citizens of the world about the denunciations presented by Mr. Snowden. But it’s a paradox of life that now the whistle blower is being chased by the one being accused.”
Patiño went on to talk about how “the word treason” has been tossed around recently. “We’d like to reflect,” he went on, “the question is treason against what, against whom? Do we betray principles, betray the principles of the interests of humanity or do we believe that in one case there is betrayal of the interests of the elites in power of one country?
“…Is (treason) betraying all the citizens of the world or betraying the elites in power of a given country? What is the concept of treason?”
Patiño said that the world would have avoided terrible suffering had the “absolutely false information” presented by the Bush administration before the Iraq war been publicly known.
Here is a partial text of Snowden’s request for asylum from the Washington Post:
“I, Edward Snowden, citizen of the United States of America, write to you to request asylum from the Republic of Ecuador because of the pursuit by the government of the United States and its agents in relation to my decision to make public grave violations by the United States of America of its constitution, namely the fourth and fifth amendments.
“As a result of my political opinions and the exercising of my rights of free expression through which I have shown how the United States is intercepting the majority of the communications of the world, the government of the United States has publicly announced a criminal investigation against me.
“Also, prominent figures in the Congress of the United States of America as well as different media outlets have accused me of being a traitor. And they have made a call that I be jailed or executed …”
Ecuador law prohibits extradition of any person to any country where there is a possibility that that person may be executed.
So while Julian Assange of Wikileaks has now passed the one year mark in asylum in Ecuador’s Embassy in London, another brave soul is challenging the status quo by revealing pervasive secret spying on the world at large. Snowden, too, is looking for sanctuary in Ecuador. The drama continues.