In the face of global criticism and possible revocation of its diplomatic status in Britain, Ecuador has decided to grant WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange political asylum.
Why would Ecuador grant asylum to a professional hacker, albeit the most famous one, and a probable sexual deviant? Why is Ecuador using this unpopular internet pariah to give the ultimate “F**k” you to the UK?
The answer to that question goes back further than the eight weeks Assange has been holed up in the Ecuador Embassy in London, avoiding extradition to Sweden for rape charges.
The answer lies in the immediate response given by Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino on behalf of left-leaning President Rafael Correa: “We want to be very clear, we are not a British colony. The colonial times are OVER.”
Correa once joked that he saw Assange as a fellow member of “the club of the persecuted.” Threat of persecution was the very justification that Minister Patino gave as to why Ecuador granted the asylum request.
Yes, Ecuador’s government has a persecution complex that has been aptly used by Correa to keep his people distracted. If he keeps talking about those nasty ‘colonists’ those overreaching ‘imperialists’ Ecuadorians might not notice that their human rights are often infringed on, and that there is less to eat.
Let’s hope Assange keeps his mouth shut and doesn’t point out that the very freedoms he represents to his supporters Correa squashes. Ecuador is usually on some international list as being one of the more corrupt and least transparent governments in Latin America. Ecuador is also known for having one of the most ‘repressed’ economies in the world.
Or maybe Ecuador, knowing that the U.S. is looking to talk to Assange, was giving the “F**k” to them and Chevron Corp. The U.S. oil giant has an $18 billion judgment for massive environment abuses in the country dating back to the ‘60s.
Ecuador suffered like many other countries under 300-years of Spanish colonial rule and saw its population decimated by disease and enslavement. It has struggled to find its voice and way as a democratic republic. So maybe an “F**k” you was necessary for those that can leave the past in the past but not with Assange as the instrument of that message.
For his part Assange played his cards right and sought asylum in a country’s embassy that isn’t looking to make friends with the U.S. or Britain. A country that several years ago defaulted on billions in foreign debt and rewrote the constitution at the will of its President. A country that would use him to make a social injustice statement while he uses them to save his ass from prison. Maybe even Assange sees himself as a victim of the very colonists that some Ecuadorians continue to feel wronged by.
Assange will probably be arrested when he attempts to leave the Ecuador Embassy in London to catch a flight to Quito. For his part Correa will probably enjoy a surge in popularity especially amongst the young that are fans of Assange and his freedom of the press mantra.
Maybe if Assange is able to escape out of London into Ecuador he can figure out how to get computers, internet or maybe even roads to the rural poor, who are Correa’s biggest supporters, before they give him an “F**k’ you and vote him out of office.