Rafael Correa, the former president of Ecuador who granted Assange asylum, apparently says so! I’m still looking for confirmation of this in the Spanish-language media of Latin America, but if true, this is explosive:
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, who 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.
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.
If there’s any truth at all in that, it could spell the downfall of Lenín Moreno…who, unlike his revolutionary Russian namesake, is no socialist in any way, shape, or form. Personally, I’m inclined to believe Rafael Correa, who is a longtime favorite of mine among local leaders. As far as I can tell, he has no reason to lie about this. And he would probably still be president today if constitutional term limits did not apply. I only wonder why he named such a dubious candidate as his successor! I will continue to scour the internet for confirmation that Correa actually said that, however.*
And on that note, here’s something else explosive, from the lips of Lenín Moreno himself:
The president of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, described Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as a “miserable hacker” and a “brat” who smeared his excrement on the walls of the embassy of Ecuador in London, where he was arrested on Thursday after losing his diplomatic asylum through the president’s decision.
“We removed this spoiled brat’s asylum and fortunately freed ourselves from a stone in the shoe,” said Moreno during a speech in the city of Latacunga.
“From now on we have to take much care in granting asylum […] to persons who are really worth the trouble, and not to miserable hackers whose only intention is to destabilize governments”, added Moreno.
Moreno justified the decision to withdraw the asylum granted to Assange in 2012 in those terms, and emphasized that the creator of Wikileaks “has violated all the norms of a rational coexistence.”
“His conduct has been disrespectful…this man smeared the embassy walls with his feces, the house of the Ecuadorians, the Ecuadorian territory in London,” Moreno said.
In an angry tone, he insisted: “He left fecal matter in our house, hit our guards, the people of Ecuador. He said that Ecuador is an insignificant country in the world. That’s what we were to him, and we had him as an invited [guest].”
Along with the asylum, Quito withdrew the Ecuadorian citizenship granted to Assange in 2017.
So far, no pictures from the London embassy to confirm or disprove whether Assange fouled the place with his own shit before being dragged out. Here’s some video (in Spanish only) of him saying those things, though:
*In English, I found this on Sputnik, which appears to reiterate the points made in the cited article. Some critical points worth watching:
The ex-president suggested that WikiLeaks’ decision to publish materials related to the so-called INA Papers leak, which sparked a corruption scandal around Moreno and his family, was “the latest straw” in the relations between Assange and Quito. Notably, WikiLeaks has noted it had not been behind the leak itself.
“Moreno knows that he and his family will go to prison for corruption and money laundering. So before he leaves, he wants to harm as many people as possible, including Julian Assange […] He decided to ruin another person before going to prison. He is moved by pathological hatred and in his desire to take revenge, that’s why he gave out Assange to the British police”, Correa argued.
The former president recalled that back in May 2017, when Paul Manafort, then the head of US President Donald Trump’s campaign, traveled to Ecuador, Moreno offered him to hand over Assange “in exchange for financial enrichment from the US”.
So, there are two possible reasons for this kerfuffle now, and they aren’t necessarily mutually incompatible: One, Moreno is looking to enrich himself with the help of the IMF (and possibly also the currently jailed Drumpfian deal-maker, Paul Manafort). Assange could be a pawn in that scheme. And/or two: Moreno may (erroneously) believe that Assange is behind the leaking of his connections to the INA Papers scandal, which was leaked…but not by Wikileaks. He might, therefore, have another, personally vengeful, reason for handing Assange over to the US, where he is wanted on suspicious-smelling charges of “espionage”.
Charges which, I might add, are as stinky (and hinky) as the feces he allegedly smeared all over the wall of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
PS: And for something truly bizarre, Facebook has taken down Rafael Correa’s page…also for hinky reasons. The timing of this development has been far too coincidental to be a coincidence, though.