A stone in the shoe on a stony path

A stone in the shoe on a stony path

The arrest of the Australian Julian Assange, captured by Scotland Yard inside the Embassy of Ecuador in London, was for the Government of President Lenin Moreno to get rid of "a stone in the shoe", although the road seems to remain stony for the Ecuadorian Executive

And is that Moreno left this Thursday without asylum, which allowed the arrest, and suspended the nationality of the founder of WikiLeaks, who has been asked for extradition by the United States and wants to judge him for hacking and conspiracy to infiltrate government systems.

The episode raised all sorts of conjectures about the alleged intentions of the Moreno Government to have acted in such a way, at that time and on a person to whom the country had granted asylum since 2012 and hosted in its diplomatic headquarters.

In addition, it was Moreno's administration that granted the Ecuadorian nationality to the Australian who, in addition, tried to locate him as an official of the country in the United Kingdom, to free himself from the captivity of years in a room of the Embassy.

The Ecuadorian Government has justified its decision in which it has acted in compliance with international law, especially several protocols on asylum, and a code of conduct with which it intended to regulate its stay in the diplomatic seat.

The Ecuadorian jurist Ramiro Aguilar has no doubt that international law attends the position of the Ecuadorian Executive, since it is a prerogative that States have to accept foreigners or not.

For him, asylum is not a right, but a faculty of governments to grant to whom he considers, but also to withdraw in a sovereign and unilateral manner.

However, Aguilar told Efe that, according to the Ecuadorian Constitution, the State should argue with justifications of weight the withdrawal, since the norm establishes that "every act of the public power must be motivated" in a sufficient manner.

In this case, the granting of asylum was motivated by the possibility that Assange, required by the Swedish justice system for cases of sexual crimes that already prescribed or did not advance due to being isolated, could have been extradited to the United States, where he could face the life imprisonment or death penalty.

The asylum withdrawal, now, has been argued on the basis of an alleged breach of basic rules of coexistence and the interference of the Australian in internal issues of other countries, but also of Ecuador, since WikiLeaks has disseminated information on alleged corruption that splashes President Moreno.

Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa (2007-2017), in whose administration asylum was granted, has described the decision of his successor as "one of the most atrocious acts fruit of servility, vileness and revenge".

This is a "crime that humanity will never forget," added Correa from Belgium, where he lives with his family since 2017.

Ecuador has assured that, before ending an asylum it considered unsustainable, it has obtained guarantees from Britain that Assange will not be extradited to any country with "death penalty or ill-treatment", in the words of Foreign Minister José Valencia.

For Aguilar, the legal issue is diaphanous, the retirement of the asylum is the state power that grants it and compared the Assange case with that of Victor Raul Haya de la Torre, the Peruvian APRA leader who remained a refugee in the Colombian Embassy in Lima. 1949 and 1954 and where it came from thanks to great international pressure.

Aguilar believes that Moreno's decision does not have as much to do with apparent pressure from the United States, but rather, obeys the insistence of groups of the political right of the country that have not welcomed the Australian's asylum.

In addition, he said that many Ecuadorians have been "shocked by the grotesque way" in which Assange was taken from the Embassy in London.

If all this is added, according to this analyst, that Moreno's government would be forced to dictate adjustment measures linked to a recent credit agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the ingredients could unleash a social reaction in the future It lasts for the Government.

For Paola Pabón, a policy linked to Correa and recently obtained in the prefecture of the province of Pichincha, whose capital is Quito, the Assange case shows the "crisis" to which Ecuador has come during the Moreno government.

She even talks about the potential existence of an "economic crisis, social crisis and institutional crisis" that could combine a "perfect storm" in Ecuadorian politics.

According to Pabón, Assange is also for the progressive sectors an example of "resistance" to the resurgence of conservatism in the region.

Fernando Arroyo León


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