Celebrating Correa’s Re-election 94

I am going to an election party in the Ecuador Embassy on Sunday. I shall do so with no sense of guilt. Since Correa gave political asylum to Assange, many with no record of concern for human rights in Ecuador – and who still show absolutely no concern for human rights in Bahrain or Uzbekistan – are suddenly immensely critical of Correa’s human rights record. Many of the same people are suddenly concerned for the appalling plight of rape victims, despite no track record whatsoever of concern for women’s rights.

No country in the world has a perfect human rights record. I am sitting in a country which recently incarcerated people in Belmarsh jail in solitary confinement for six years without informing them what the accusations were against them. Which shot dead a Brazilian electrician on the tube for looking a bit like an Arab. Where police beat one of Babar Ahmad’s eyes to blindness. Where a woman was jailed for reading out the names of Iraqi war dead at the cenotaph.

Ecuador is not perfect either, and the use of (pre-existing) criminal defamation laws against journalists is unequivocally wrong. But some of the criticisms are a bit rich, for example that the government appoints judges. Who on earth do you think appoints them in the UK? And the study of the political complexion of the Supremem Court as vacancies occur under different Presidents is an industry itself in the United States. If Assange goes to Sweden, he will be tried without a jury by a panel of three, two of whom are straight and unqualified appointees by political parties.

Of course all human rights abuse, and particularly in Ecuador free speech restraint, should be, must be, eliminated. But I am very impressed indeed by Correa’s achievement in forcing the multinationals to pay up a fair share to the nation for their exploitation of mineral resources, and then in applying that money to the benefit of ordinary Ecuadoreans.

I see the opposite in Ghana, and its devastating effect on ordinary people. Ghana is the fastest growing economy in the world, at an annual rate of over 20%. But tragically little of that benefits ordinary Ghanaians. Newmont Mining of the USA make income of over 1.5 billion dollars a year from gold mining in Ghana, wreaking huge environmental destruction, and pay not one cent in corporation tax, and indeed very little tax of any kind. The total amount of the income from the huge Jubilee Field oil discovery which in any way will actually benefit Ghanaians will be a maximum of 15% – the rest is entirely offshore.

I hope that, throughout the developing world, peoples will force their governments to follow the Ecuadorean path. It has the potential fundamentally to change the world for billions of people. I shall be at the Ecuadorean Embassy on Sunday.

Without shame.

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94 thoughts on “Celebrating Correa’s Re-election

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  • Cryptonym

    Some comments in the Daniel Bethlehem thread are a bit off too, but they’re also quite funny.

  • ToivoS

    I started thinking after US/UK invasion of Iraq that there was one silver lining in that cloud. The US became so over-extended that it lacked the resources to combat populous and left wing movements in Latin America. The Chavas government looked very precarious in 2002 and I didn’t think it could survive. Not only did it survive but its very survival inspired progressive movements throughout the continent. Correa’s success was another example of US’s waning influence and lack of resources to engage in gunboat diplomacy and subversion. Argentina, Brazil and Chile in their own ways are moving away from dependence on US imperial goals.

    Even after the withdrawal of forces from Iraq the US is becoming bogged down in even more ME wars. To the extent that we have freed any resources in the ME, the pivot to Asia is requiring even more attention. Latin America should have a free hand to follow their own path in the foreseeable future.

    The US’s inability to control events in that part of the world over the last decade is major change that is rarely mentioned. Since the invasion of Panama in 1990 there has not been a single successful US intervention. Twenty years without a US sponsored coup or outright invasion! Between 1920 and 1990 there must have been at least one every 2 or 3 years. Someone should graph this information with a timeline over the last century. Has the Monroe doctrine finally died?

  • doug scorgie

    First Images Released of Venezuela’s Chavez since His Operation

    The images show a smiling Chavez lying down in his hospital bed, flanked by his two daughters, and reading yesterday’s copy of Cuba’s official newspaper Granma.

    The images were taken for Valentine’s Day, or “the day of love and friendship” as it is commonly referred to in Venezuela.


  • Kempe

    So we can excuse or brush aside country A’s human rights transgressions because country B is worse? I’ve a feeling if this were Israel and not Ecuador there would be no limit to the odium.

    District Courts in Sweden employ four judges, one professional and three lay judges. It’s an ancient system but as trial by jury has also been criticised on these pages as being open to abuse what would be a fair way of resolving the case?

  • Villager

    And Democracy is still coming to the U.S.A. Did Cohen get it right? Debatable…


    I think i’d rather be on the Ecuadorian Ship of State.

    The Correa-Assange partnership may turn out to be a very interesting alliance. For now, every reason to party. Craig just watch out for those bobbies outside the loo windows at the embassy.

  • Clark

    Arbed, you might want to get a “globally recognised avatar”. It will only appear when the e-mail address you use here matches the one you registered at Gravatar.com. Since those who fake screen-names can’t see your e-mail address, it makes matters more difficult for them.


  • Indigo

    Resident Dissident

    I was going to say that I wasn’t naive, just hopeful … but the more I think about it the more I have to admit that that’s … naive.

    However, that doesn’t mean that I am blind to certain realities. Colonialism is colonialism no matter whether old Empire, new occidental multinationals or the Chinese business model! Any look at present Chinese business activities in Zambia, for instance, leaves one in no doubt. The model may differ but the aim remains the same.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    “:….some of the criticisms are a bit rich, for example that the government appoints judges. Who on earth do you think appoints them in the UK?”
    As has been the case in the colony too…
    Mary – I know that you are a regular far more than I am…so permit me to answer this here:-
    “I read your posts with interest Courtenay. The contents of your biographical notes shocked me. I didn’t know you had been arrested and had received a death threat. The influence and the tentacles of our ghastly empire extend a long way obviously.
    Could you briefly tell us what life is like for the average person there, is is a struggle to make a living, is the system completely corrupt and feudal and how are we in the UK viewed, if at all? Is the monarchy supported? As the government was suspended in 2009 who is running the show? Thank you in anticipation.
    I have been looking through the long Wikipedia page. I see you have invasions of American and Canadian tourists who outnumber your population.
    The answers are these:-
    A. The Turks and Caicos Islands are actually a pretty nice place to live.
    B. HMG has done its shenanigans and Lord Ashcroft is central but cannot at all be touched.
    C. There is a lot of legal and political shit unfolding at present.
    Yes, North American do invest heavily here. But – is it not designed that way when Article 73 of the UN Charter is ignored by HMG – or – is it all about the “special relationship” and derogation of duty?
    Still – TCI is not a bad place to be.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Resident Dissident,

    ” If I were in Team Assange I might also want to read and think about this attached article

    It demonstrates that Correa is at times prepared to work with the US when he sees it as being in Ecuador’s interest and that he hasn’t always been as keen on Wikileaks and Assange as might be imagined. I somehow doubt that the usual treatment doled out by Team Assange to those who become apostates will carry out much weight with Correa should he see Ecuador’s interests as laying elsewhere”

    Are you in fact saying this:-

    A. The world is not a perfect place.
    B. Those who hold power tend also to hold pieces of compromises to remain in power.
    C. The issue is not whether or not political compromises do take place – but – the degree and extent.

    Come back at me on this one – ” Resident dissident”.


  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Mary,
    I have written extensively on what you have asked:-
    “Could you briefly tell us what life is like for the average person there, is is a struggle to make a living, is the system completely corrupt and feudal and how are we in the UK viewed, if at all”
    There is a 2009 prison study that I did. It will answer all your questions.

  • Chris2

    This article, see link below, explains one of Correa’s real problems. My own view is that his big achievement, and the one that will have most long term consequences, was the auditing of Ecuador’s debt and the consequent repudiation of a, clearly odious, third. He also deserves the gratitude of all decent people for protecting the Wikileaks founder from the gangster government of the US.
    On the other hand:


  • Jemand

    @Clark re Gravatar, a security vulnerability?

    I’m suspicious of any online service that appears to be free and without any obvious source of income. Do they sell data? Do their clients include intel services, agencies or contractors?

    I’m particularly concerned about providing a website with my email address which links with other websites on which I comment. Presumably, Craig’s blog calls the gravatar website each time I visit, giving my email address to pull up my latest avatar image. So Gravatar can compile a list of websites (that use this service) that I regularly visit and sell that information to clients that include intelligence services. With a little more effort, these intel services can check those websites to see what activities I engage in by identifying my avatar image and date/time stamps. They already know my real identity from information provided by email service providers and other cross checking sources. Even if I don’t subscribe to Gravatar, this blog is still giving out my email address to query what my avatar image might be and will know at what date and time I visited, thereby allowing them to identify my comments with matching date/time.

    As you will appreciate, some commentators engage in robust debate in defence of issues and principles that are at odds with the ‘establishment’. We are even encouraged to do so. What assurances do we have that our comments cannot be traced back to us? Some comments might even include whistleblowing revelations that could result in serious repercussions.

    Can you please look into this and reassure me/us that there are measures in place that prevent this possibility? Thanks.

  • craig Post author


    This blog is monitored by the security services. They can trace you if they want, whether you use gravatar or not. They spend billions of pounds and employ thousands of people to ensure that they can. To believe anyone can be safe from the surveillance state is naive.

  • Jay

    @resident dissidents

    Any examples of defamation in the media.

    Press standards in the Uk have much to be desired.

    War propoganda to top the list.

    Maybe as I believe with the Soviet media they are trying to keep up cultural and moral standards to the masses.

    As most of us here would agree the red tops here seem to be limited here with there attitudes to anything diverse and dysfunctional.
    As with some media soon we will be marrying our pets!

  • Mary

    One of the main news items on BBC Radio 4 this morning is the cost of guarding the Ecuadorian Embassy, said to be £3m.

    Mrs May and the ConDems know the answer. Stand up against Amerika and set Julian Assange free.


    It looks very probable Correra will win reelection at the first ballot.

    Sure – there are issues with press freedom etc. but frankly they are taking the proverbial compared to the horrific abuses by the US and its allies/stooges.

    Compare Ecuador with Bahrain for example.

    I wonder what the next move will be in the Assange saga. It had all gone eerily quiet while they waited to roll the dice in this election. Now they’ve rolled craps what next?

  • Mary

    O/T We have not given our Louise a menschn for a long time.

    What a shame.

    Ex-Tory MP Louise Mensch’s rival to Twitter shuts down Louise Mensch insisted the site’s name was not a pun on her surname Continue reading the main story

    Tory MP Mensch to quit Commons
    Mensch berates ‘immoral’ tweets
    MP sorry for Morgan hacking slur

    Microblogging website Menshn, launched seven months ago by former Conservative MP Louise Mensch, has closed.


    Wonder what life is like for her and brood in New York, New York. Hope Mr Mensch is surviving.

  • Mary

    This is the BBC website report on the cost of guarding the embassy.

    Julian Assange police guard cost nears £3m
    Mr Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador Continue reading the main story

    Profile: Julian Assange
    Q&A: Julian Assange and the law
    Assange backers ordered to pay

    The cost of a round-the-clock guard outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where Julian Assange took refuge last June, has reached almost £3m, the Metropolitan Police have said.

  • Mary

    To think that this hypocritical and shameless woman once represented the 62,000 residents in Corby in ‘parliament’. Some there were quoted as ‘feeling duped’ by her and said that Corby was a stepping stone for her. http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2012/11/louise-mensch-corby-was-nothing-more-stepping-stone


    I note:

    Unfashionista has launched just after the closure of Menschn, her attempt to build a rival to Twitter. The latter was created with Luke Bozier, who once worked at Labour Party HQ. The pair’s working relationship broke down after Bozier was arrested on suspicion of viewing or possessing indecent images of children.


    Having made her fortune penning chick- lit novels — her publisher is waiting for the next one — she also has a weekly column in The Sun. Does she have any qualms, having questioned the Murdochs over the phone-hacking scandal, about being on their payroll? “I always said I would have no trouble working for Rupert Murdoch who I have always admired. I saw no impropriety at the senior corporate level over the phone-hacking scandal.”

    Pure chutzpah.

  • Mary

    Good piece on Counterpunch by Nozomi Hayase

    In a way, Assange has become a symbol of the tilted scale of justice, triggering vitriol and vilification by the controllers of the levers of power. The full force of corporate media outlets, governments and individuals worldwide have carried out unprecedented and prolonged attacks on Assange using all the classic tools of character assassination. As of mid February, he has been detained without charge for 802 days, 240 days at the Ecuadorian Embassy, due to England’s unwillingness to offer safe passage. Kevin McCabe in the conversation with his actor friend John Cusack and law school professor Jonathan Turley noted: “… what happens to [Assange] happens to the First Amendment.” Assange’s destiny is tied to the oppression of the world in the sense of him being a kind of canary in a coal mine.

    Attacks on Assange and journalists and activists like him are best understood within the social and political reality from which they emerge. In his case, Assange happens to be a founder of an organization that has become extremely influential in the world. Wikileaks’s allegiance, not to a particular country or private institution, but to global justice as a primary principle, exposes systematic oppression around the world that has been covered up and normalized.


  • Kempe

    “Scotland Yard estimated costs of £2.3m in pay that would have covered normal duties, and £600,000 on overtime.”

    So the actual additional cost is £600,000. Maybe Julian and Correa could split it between them.

    “As of mid February, he has been detained without charge for 802 days, 240 days at the Ecuadorian Embassy, ”

    No he’s been out on bail for most of that time and his incarceration inside Ecuador’s embassy is entirely his own doing. He could leave at any time.

  • Clark

    Jemand, don’t abandon your job application. Some of Craig’s posts have revealed widespread dissent from the “establishment” agenda within the FCO and NATO; most people are decent, and I expect that there is dissent within pretty much every department, organisation and corporation. Most employees are “just doing their jobs”, but that doesn’t mean that they all slavishly follow the recent neocon agenda. Maybe your political leanings will be indicated by some software, but a dissenting employee will just accidentally-on-purpose fail to notice. Maybe some people would like another like-minded person in their department. But if you don’t apply, then all possibility of that disappears.

    You might want to look into the revenue trail of Gravatar; I have no knowledge about it, but at a guess, it’s probably used to track your web behaviour so that advertising can be targeted at you; that seems to be a common source of income.

    The solution to the surveillance state is transparency, accountability and legislation, achieved through democracy. On the Internet, it’s an international matter. Much traffic, including this site’s DNS requests, is routed through the US, where 21st century laws make all such data available to the government.

    Craig, thanks for your openness and honesty.

  • Clark

    Jemand, Craig is right; you can’t really hide on the Internet. When I was moderating here, I could see the operating system type and version, the browser type and version, and the screen resolution of every contributor, except one.

    That one had JavaScript disabled, so those details didn’t show up, but he stood out like a sore thumb for precisely that reason.

    I say “he”, because I knew exactly who it was. Myself.


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