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Ecuador: President Correa's hypocritical stance on human rights

By Tirso Suarez

26.03.08 | Franklin Aisalla Molina died during the raid launched by Colombian armed forces against a FARC camp in the Ecuadorian province of Sucumbíos. Not a notorious death, as that of the second in command of the narcoterrorist organization Raúl Reyes, it has fuelled anew the dispute between Colombia and Ecuador. However tragic loss of human life is, without having made drug dealing terrorists exerting unquantifiable damage on many societies legally accountable, President Rafael Correa’s new found concern for human rights strikes as hypocritical.

President Correa’s press office published these remarks recently: “Franklin Aisalla’s death and the taking of his body to Colombia, derived from military actions performed outside international laws, are a violation to guarantees and human rights of Ecuadorian citizens, as was proclaimed by Ecuador and recognised by OAS’ meeting of 19 March.”

Without going into Aisalla’s terrorism involvement motives, which ultimately caused his death, President Correa should be reminded about some issues that may have escaped him.

FARC is considered to be a terrorist organization by 27 European member states, the USA and Canada. However preposterous this consideration may be in Havana, Quito, Caracas and certain quarters in Washington, FARC’s involvement in drug dealing, kidnapping, terrorism, assassinations, and recruitment of child soldiers is sufficiently documented and remains factual. Reputed organizations allege that, at least, more than 2 million Colombians have been displaced due to 40+ year war that FARC has waged against democratically elected governments. Whether or not Presidents Chavez and Correa agree with evidence is, indeed, entirely irrelevant for neither is an authoritative source on terrorism definitions. On the contrary, Chavez's credentials and Correa's actions forfeit legitimacy of their statements.

Incriminating information contained in Reyes’ laptops, which points at a wholly illegal level of cooperation and relations between FARC and the governments of Ecuador and Venezuela, is not a surprise to seasoned observers. President Uribe’s administration has purportedly delivered detailed FARC-camps location information to Hugo Chavez in the course of the last few years, which, evidently, has been ignored, as it had occurred in February 2001, when the Venezuelan dictator was alerted by his army. The novelty is that President Uribe has allowed for such damaging details to be widely published. Furthermore his invitation to INTERPOL to determine authenticity of data contained in Reyes’s laptops is a strike of geniality, which has got more than one high official very scared indeed.

Let it be clear that admission of meetings held with FARC, made by Ecuador’s Minister of Interior Gustavo Larrea, who came out of the closet only after Reyes’ laptops incriminating information was leaked to the press, leaves President Correa in an impossible situation. For Larrea’s attempt to officialise relations between Ecuador and a terrorist organization, on Correa’s orders, speaks volumes about the latter new found ‘concern’ for human rights violations.

Finally, decreeing states of emergency and militarising provinces --on the basis of quelling legitimate public protests have resulted in blatant human rights violations owing to use of excessive force-- pushes President Correa to a terribly awkward situation. His administration’s human rights record is far from pristine according to watchdogs, certainly not one that allows him to adopt positions of contrived morality. Having led an unconstitutional assault at Ecuador’s institutions, by convening a constituent assembly in charge of unipersonal and dogmatic ‘State refound,’ exposes Correa’s hypocritical doublespeak.



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