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Ecuador warns U.S.A. ambassador not to participate in political events

08 de mayo de 2013 10:15

Hot on the heels of a narrowly-avoided diplomatic incident with Peru, Ecuador’s president is picking a fight with a more traditional target: the American ambassador.

During his weekend broadcast to the nation, Rafael Correa called the ambassador Adam Namm “metidito” (meddlesome).

Namm is facing criticism for attending a free expression rally and writing a phrase on a graffiti wall.

Namm wrote: "The only security of all is in a free press,” in Spanish, a Thomas Jefferson quotation.

The event was organized by the National Union of Journalists (UNP) to celebrate World Free Press Day. The UNP has a somewhat combative relationship with President Rafael Correa: it is their position that freedom of expression in Ecuador is under threat.

Just a few feet away from Namm’s contribution to the wall, a cartoonist had made a speech bubble that said “The only free press is edited at the Palace of government.”

Correa said that the U.S. embassy is financing the activities of the UNP and other groups within Ecuador that try to create a discourse about a lack of freedom of expression. The UNP has challenged Correa to provide proof that they receive U.S. funding.

Correa then mocked the U.S. hypocrisy of protecting the freedoms of those who act against their own people, such as the corporations that opposed gun control. He pointed out that Ecuador hasnt invaded anyone, nor do they torture prisoners like the U.S. does at Guantanamo.

He also found the choice of quotation amusing.

“It’s wonderful that he cited Thomas Jefferson. Check history: Jefferson owned 200 slaves, and shouted to the four winds about freedom. That’s the sort of freedom these people want: freedom for themselves, for their abuses, to exploit, to outsource labour, to blackmail governments with media campaigns, to pay no taxes. For the rest: exploitation and slavery,” he said.06-05-13-caricatura-THOMAS

Ecuador’s Foreign Affairs minister said yesterday it was inappropriate for an ambassador to attend a political event and carry out a political activity.

“In case what he wrote was an insinuation--which I think it was--he should know that in our country we have a free press,” Ricardo Patiño said.

He summoned Namm to discuss the incident in private, and after a seven minute meeting Patiño spoke to the press about the warning he had delivered (Spanish video).

Patiño said that if Namm again engages in political advocacy in Ecuador, the next time it wont be just a warning. 

 

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