Late yesterday, Telesur reported that Ecuador had signed a “security deal” with the United States, which is expected to result in a US military presence in that country.
Telesur wrote: “Ecuador signed Wednesday a cooperation agreement with the United States to fight transnational organized crime and drug trafficking…. Moreno’s move is a further shift away from the policies of his left-wing predecessor and former ally, Rafael Correa, who has criticized and refused to participate in the U.S.-sponsored Plan Colombia, arguing peace is not obtained with helicopters and weapons but rather by promoting economic and social development.”
The news comes as a new blow to hopes that Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno would heed calls from around the globe to end the solitary confinement of Julian Assange. Tomorrow, the arbitrarily confined journalist will have been totally isolated for one month.
The latest news of a military agreement struck between Moreno’s government and the US comes as yet another major shift away from the policies of Ecuador’s prior administration. It is also a distinct pivot away from Ecuador’s decision, made just a few months prior, to confer citizenship and diplomatic status on the Wikileaks Editor-In-Chief.
This writer previously expressed the opinion that the ongoing solitary confinement of Assange by his own government constitutes torture. Disobedient Media has also reported consistently on the numerous online and physical vigils, petitions and other efforts to encourage Ecuador to return the Ecuadorian embassy in London to a place of refuge, as intended when the previous administration bravely granted Assange political asylum from the threats to his life and work emanating from the United States.
In our previous report, Disobedient Media noted that enforced isolation is not only torture in the opinions of those who have experienced it, but has also been labeled as such by the UN. Rick Raemisch wrote in an opinion piece published by The New York Times that, according to the Nelson Mandela rules, solitary confinement lasting more than 15 days constitutes torture. This means that the length of time for which Julian Assange has been cut off from the outside world would now have almost doubled the official benchmark for being considered torture.
The news of Ecuador’s decision is not only disastrous for WikiLeaks’ Editor-In-Chief, but also to those concerned that an increased US military presence in Ecuador will lead to an uptick in violence there. Earlier today, Telesur also reported that massacres had doubled in Rio in the wake of increased federal military presence in Brazil. The outletnoted: “The number of massacres in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has doubled since military intervention was launched on February 16, according to a new report by the Intervention Observatory at Candido Mendes University.”
The deal also evokes worries for some that hark back to US Army involvement in Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s and the atrocities committed under the tutelage of the School of the Americas, as described by eminent journalists including John Pilger and Oliver Stone in their respective films, War on Democracy and South of the Border.
As discussed recently by Disobedient Media, the geopolitical atmosphere in Latin America is rapidly becoming one of increased US military presence, much like that which preceded the chaotic Arab Spring. Additionally, the World Socialist Website wrote earlier this month regarding speculation that Ecuador isolated Assange in hopes of strengthening economic ties with the United States.
The report related: “On March 26, eight days before announcing the austerity plan and two days before cutting Assange’s Internet, the Moreno government met with two leading representatives of US Southern Command, the section of the Pentagon responsible for the military’s activity in Latin America. Before the meeting, the US Embassy stated Lt. Gen. Joseph DiSalvo and Ambassador Liliana Ayalde met with “defense authorities and civil authorities” to “reiterate Southern Command’s commitment to boost and strengthen the friendship between the two countries.”
As Moreno’s attitude towards the US military softens, the public is left to speculate that the life of a journalist is being perilously used as leverage in the game of global military empire.
Disobedient Media will continue to report on this important story as it develops.