Ecuador does not fear US revenge for granting asylum to Julian Assange. Despite America’s power in the world, it is not Ecuador’s “father or teacher to punish us,” the country’s foreign minister said exclusively to RT Spanish host Eva Golinger.
“We don’t think that any punishment is possible, nor do we think that there is a reason for revenge (let’s call it this way, it is stronger than “punishment”) for Ecuador’s sovereign decision. The USA does it every day,” Ricardo Patino said.
Ecuador believes that the situation around Assange will not provoke a breach in relations between his country and the US because there are no grounds for the relationship to worsen.
“The only difference is that it may appear now that a small, less-developed country has fewer rights to protect freedom and lives of other people than world powers,” Patino told Eva Golinger, RT Spanish TV host, lawyer and writer. “We have the same rights as they do. We will not accept any revenge in any case,” he stressed.
‘UK should apologize, and then we can talk’
Ecuador remains concerned about the UK’s threats to raid its embassy in London where the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has found refuge.
“We have not got any statement from the UK which denies this [threat],” Patino said.
On the contrary, the UK keeps announcing that it will extradite Assange to Sweden regardless Ecuador’s decisions, he reminded.
The UK should apologize to Ecuador – in a written form – for their threats, or at least admit that they have made a mistake. Only after that will the dialogue become possible, he said.
The best way for the UK to correct its “mistakes” and solve this tough situation, as Ecuador sees it, would be to grant Assange a safe passage so that he could “practice freedom of speech, which Great Britain supposedly respects so much.”
If Britain stormed Ecuador’s embassy it would lead to very grave consequences, not only on the part of Ecuador, but also on the part of the whole Latin America, Patino said.
However, he believes “nothing like that would happen.”
“We believe that London will accept Ecuador’s sovereign decision. If that doesn’t happen, we’ll find a way out,” Patino said, adding that they may appeal to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
‘Assange – free speech icon’
One of the main reasons behind Ecuador’s decision to grant political asylum to Assange is protection of freedom of speech, Patino stressed – as well as the right to life, right to personal integrity, and right to freedom from political persecution.
And Julian Assange is an icon of the freedom of speech, the minister added.
“We are not doing this as part of election campaign – we are doing it because there are principles which need to be protected. And Ecuador protects them, despite all international media campaigns.”