Two Cheers For Ecuador

I welcomed the recent news that the government of Ecuador has stood up to US threats of embargo if it gives asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Instead of buckling to US pressure, it canceled its trade pact with the US. Will this be the start of a trend, the way that the overthrow of the Tunisian government started the Arab Spring? Let’s hope so. As the heroic Glenn Greenwald so aptly put it, “Courage is contagious.”

Ecuador also offered asylum to Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, if the UK ever allows him to leave their embassy there. On the other hand, I’ve heard that Ecuador has recently enacted restrictions on the press, and that criticism of President Rafael Correa can get one thrown in prison. If I was able to speak to Mr. Correa, I would strongly urge him to repeal this law. Creeping restrictions on free speech is an American thing. To those who doubt me, consider the accusations of ‘terrorism’ against peaceful protesters against events like national party political conventions and the NATO summit. There was also a cable company owner in the eastern US who was arrested over broadcasting Hezbollah’s television statement in this country. It’s obvious that the “material support of terrorism” clauses in Federal law are blatantly unconstitutional, yet very few dare challenge them.

To President Correa I say, please repeal this bad law, and take Ecuador in a direction opposite of that America has been taking. Many thousands of Americans are completely disgusted with our country’s foreign policy, and are sick of paying taxes to support it. If you were to roll out the welcome mat for all Americans and assure us of our freedoms and of a reasonable level of taxation, we would flock to your land, thus striking another blow against the world’s biggest bully.