Saturday, June 23, 2012

It's Correa's End Game Now

Ecuador is sounding positive on Julian Assange. Great! But what happens when the US Grand Jury reveals new "evidence"? There will be huge pressure on Ecuador's President Rafael Correa.

It's good that Correa is taking time to review the FACTS. He should also demand that the US reveal whatever relevant evidence they have NOW.

If Correa grants asylum, he cannot whisk Assange off to Quito without a UK safe passage deal. But the US will surely block such a deal (perhaps by revealing Grand Jury "evidence" to a frothing press?) and then demand Correa reconsider.

The media circus over this new "evidence" may turn the UK public decisively against Assange. Safe passage could be delayed a very long time.

Alternatively, Correa could get the Grand Jury "evidence" now (perhaps in secret) and negotiate a deal (definitely in secret) that saves face for all.

Consider three possible outcomes, from a million possibilities..

#1 Outcome (ideal but unlikely): US indictment remains sealed, Obama says he's not interested in prosecuting journos, Assange flies to Ecuador. Correa becomes a hugely popular global hero (USA does not want this!). What would US want in return for this? What could or would Correa offer?

Outcome #2: Correa ridicules Grand Jury evidence in public (compares to Powell's WMDs?) and Assange wins UK popular support. The UK Cameron govt (or next Labor govt) prefers to get rid of Assange and upset the US rather than lose votes. Assange flies out.

Outcome #3: Correa decides Assange is not his problem, hands him back to UK. How much popular support would this cost Correa? Domestically, perhaps not much (Ecuador's under-educated poor are his base). But internationally a big loss of face.

Correa seems a proud, sincere and committed man, but also a calculating realist. It's his End Game now, not Julian's.

4 comments:

  1. he needs to grow some balls... this new evidence is a joke..

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  2. "(Ecuador's under-educated poor are his base)"

    This commentary its almost a joke itself and speaks very bad about this web page and editors.

    There are people in Ecuador that not are "under-educate-poor", so you are saying being poor is bad?, so being rich is good and makes you a better people?, thats not true, and about the education my country is still developing that, everybody knows education is the base for everything.

    Sorry for my bad english, may be i am a "under-educate poor" but i can bet im better human being than more of the "super-educate-richs"

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  3. Patronizing comments about citizens of a country is detrimental to the objectiveness that any so called 'writer/journalist' should abide to. On the other hand, I know for a fact that 'first-world' countries are full of people that do not know a thing about international affairs or do not care to be informed, which in terms of the pseudo author of this note, would be 'under-educated poor'just as much of any other country, the main difference is the amount of money they make in a given day - not to mention all the people living on welfare...
    Show some respect for the citizens of any country, particularly the one that Assange is trying to get asylum from. And yes, like you said, it's not any of Ecuador's problem to grant any concessions to a foreigner, when Ecuador's reliance on exports to US is of much more significance for its own economy and diplomatic relations.
    However, I only hope that it can work out for Assange to find asylum, but maybe Venezuela could be a better option since that country has more leverage due to its oil based economy.

    Sincerely, one of those 'under-educated-poors'

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  4. I have travelled extensively in South America and have great respect for its people. If anyone has better suggestions as to how to describe Correa's political base, I am open to suggestions.

    I wrote this post as a way to encourage people to think about possible outcomes, so that we can best channel our energies towards a positive result for Julian. At the moment I suspect UK public opinion may be the key. But I am open to suggestions...

    Another thought: if Assange exile in Ecuador is too embarrassing for USA, perhaps they can negotiate a deal where he gets asylum in Tunisia instead?

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