Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

The Myth Of ‘Evil Ecuador’ Debunked By Weisbrot

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 21, 2012

Several groups whose leaders should know better are acting as stooges for the US governmnent’s revenge war on WikiLeaks by buying into the US-pushed smear that Ecuador is hypocritical for protecting journalist Julian Assange because it allegedly routinely attacks and censors all journalism within its own borders. The Guardian‘s Mark Weisbrot sets them, and us all, straight:

Let’s look at one of the major cases that groups like Americas Watch and CPJ have complained most about. Last February, the nation’s highest court upheld a criminal libel conviction against the daily El Universo, with three directors and an opinion editor sentenced to three years in prison, and $40m in damages. President Correa announced a pardon for the convictions 13 days later – so no one was punished.

As noted above, I am against criminal libel laws and would agree with criticism advocating the repeal of such laws. But to say that this case represents a “crackdown” on freedom of expression is more than an exaggeration. These people were convicted of libel because they told very big lies in print, falsely accusing Correa of crimes against humanity. Under Ecuadorian law, he can – like any other citizen – sue them for libel, and the court can and did find them guilty. Just as Le Pen in France was found guilty of having “denied a crime against humanity and was complicit in justifying war crimes.”

Groups like Americas Watch and CPJ are seriously misrepresenting what is going on in Ecuador. Rather than being a heroic battle for freedom of expression against a government that is trying to “silence critics”, it is a struggle between two political actors. One political actor is the major media, whose unelected owners and their allies use their control of information to advance the interests of the wealth and power that used to rule the country; on the other side is a democratic government that is seeking to carry out its reform program, for which it was elected.

As Weisbrot notes, these groups are undermining their own credibility, both by pushing this smear of Ecuador as a way to curry favor with the US government and by refusing to join the Center for Constitutional Rights in defending Assange.

One Response to “The Myth Of ‘Evil Ecuador’ Debunked By Weisbrot”

  1. Charles II said

    If ever you want to see the American double standard on full display, look no further than Latin America. Europe, same, but with Africa.

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