Embassy ouster was a long-reported condition for pact
(April 11, 2019) —WikiLeaks has long reported that the $10 billion IMF bailout for Ecuador was closely related to complying with US demands, in particular on revoking the asylum of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. On Thursday, that appeared to come to pass.
Following recent days of Ecuador’s leadership saying Assange’s asylum would not last forever, he was arrested by British police within the London Embassy. Ecuador has tried to present this as related to continuing WikiLeaks operations, and in particular a January leak of Vatican documents.
Ecuador’s economy has been struggling mightily in recent years, and the government has bet much on their ability to secure a bailout. In the end, the US sway over the IMF meant that Ecuador was required to placate the US to get that money.
Ecuador’s recent attempts to stake out a comparatively independent foreign policy, something of which the Assange asylum move was a product, made them a lot of enemies, particularly in the US. As the government now tries to get on the good side of the US, Assange was the main thing the Americans wanted, and Ecuador seems more than willing to try to facilitate that.
While official IMF statements make no specific mentions of Assange, the clear link between the two is likely to continue to loom large, particularly in any US attempts to secure extradition for Assange after having bought his expulsion and ultimate arrest by Britain. A
Assange’s Expulsion Reflects Ecuador’s Desire for Better Relations with US
WASHINGTON (April 11, 2019) — For almost seven years, Ecuador’s government weighed the risks and rewards of providing a haven to Julian Assange at the country’s embassy in London, a diplomatic high-wire act that put the small South American nation at odds with one of its most important partners.
By Thursday, Ecuadoran officials eager to improve trade and other relations with the United States and exasperated by what they described as the WikiLeaks founder’s overbearing presence had reached a decision.
A gambit that began as a show of anti-US defiance by a leftist Ecuadoran president collapsed with Assange’s expulsion and arrest under that president’s more moderate successor.
“The patience of Ecuador has reached its limits,” President Lenín Moreno said after British police arrested a bearded Assange and escorted him to a vehicle. [Read more online.]
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