Ecuador's Tinpot Despot Grants Asylum to Julian Assange
I've just returned home from a week of honeymooning in Ecuador, a country I must admit that I knew close to nothing about prior to my visit. I had no idea that it ranked 156th (out of 179) on the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom and is categorized as a repressed country alongside the likes of Cuba, Iran, and North Korea. But while there, I had the opportunity to speak to native Ecuadorians about their sentiments toward the current government regime led by President Rafael Correa. Reactions ran the gamut, but the most profound response came from my naturalist guide, "J.", in the Amazon basin. "What do you think about President Correa?" I asked. "Do you generally approve?"
My question was met with a very serious stare and a stunned silence. "Daiyann," J. begun, "Do you really think I could approve of someone who is friends with all of the world's bad men?" he asked. "Someone who makes allies of the Castro brothers, of Hugo Chavez, of Ahmadinejad, of Putin? Do you really think I could approve of someone who punishes the success of people who work so hard? Someone who makes owning a second home illegal, and so seizes it in the name of the poor? Someone who has no respect for free speech?"
At once I'd learned all I needed to know about Rafael Correa to determine that he is an aspiring despot.
And today comes news that President Correa has granted asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. What's most despicable about the move isn't the asylum itself; rather, it's that this is such an obvious ploy to boost Correa's image as some sort of defender of free speech and the press. This is a man who has sued and incarcerated journalists for publishing critical news stories and who has rewritten his country's constitution in order to expropriate private media outlets and transform them into propaganda mouthpieces for the state. Rafael Correa's display of charity to Julian Assange is nothing more than charade.