From 1960, the Central Intelligence Agency plotted and planned to destabilise the elected populist government led by José María Velasco Ibarra because it refused to break off links with Castro’s
Cuba and crackdown on the left.
Philip Agee was a senior CIA officer in
that period. Years later, after denouncing the CIA, he blew the whistle in a
book called Inside the Company. Agee
revealed how the CIA organised the infiltration of trade unions, political
parties and social organisations at the highest levels in Ecuador. Where
no suitable organisations existed, the CIA created them, complete with headed
paper and committees.
Agee's account shows how the CIA used bribery, intimidation, bugging and forgery. He spent four years in
Ecuador penetrating Ecuadorian
politics and, by his own admission, subverting and destroying the political
fabric of an already wretchedly poor and unstable country.
“CIA financing of conservative groups in a quasi-religious campaign against Cuba and ‘atheistic communism’ helped to seriously weaken Velasco's power among the poor, primarily Indians, who had voted overwhelmingly for him, but who were even more deeply committed to their religion,” says William Blum in his Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II.
“CIA agents would bomb churches or right-wing organizations and make it appear to be the work of leftists. They would march in left-wing parades displaying signs and shouting slogans of a very provocative anti-military nature, designed to antagonize the armed forces and hasten a coup.”
A series of interventions by the armed forces that began in November 1961 culminated in a coup in July 1963 when the presidential palace in
surrounded by tanks and troops. Civil liberties were suspended, leftists
arrested and the 1964 elections cancelled. At the local CIA headquarters,
champagne corks popped. It wasn’t until 1979 that civilian rule was restored.
Today’s president, Rafael Correa, has repudiated the country’s foreign debt and has placed the country in solidarity with other radical regimes in South America like
The decision to give Assange asylum is consistent with Ecuador’s determination to assert its political independence from Washington.
The foreign minister’s statement that insists Assange is in danger from the
(while rejecting the UK’s
threat to storm its embassy) is well founded. Washington
would like nothing better than to extradite Assange to the US to face trial for espionage
alongside Bradley Manning, the soldier who allegedly collaborated with
Key figures have cleared the path. Australian prime minister Julia Gillard has denounced fellow citizen Assange for publishing previously secret cables that exposed
crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Several senior US
senators have called for Assange to be tried for publishing the cables sent by
Shortly after the dramatic video of the 2007
Baghdad airstrike which killed Iraqi journalists was
released by WikiLeaks in 2010, Assange was in Sweden where he applied for
residency. After sexual relations with two women, an arrest warrant was issued but
soon withdrawn. He was questioned by police and allowed to leave the country.
Within 10 days, the investigation was reopened by another prosecutor and
upgraded to alleged rape. His residency request was denied soon afterwards.
Assange is not charged but wanted for questioning. Following his arrest in
year, Assange volunteered to present himself for questioning at the Swedish
embassy in London.
This was rejected by the country’s right-wing government. Who can doubt then that
if he reaches Stockholm,
Assange will be questioned about the sex accusations and then handed over to
the Americans who, by then, will have an arrest warrant?