Wikileaks Julian Assange in Ecuador, will Confront Haunting Reality

Quito, Ecuador

Having narrowly dodged allegations of rape and sexual assault in Sweden, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange avoided a one-way flight to gitmo.   Now he’s in Ecuador’s capital of Quito, nestled high in the Andes, straddling the Amazon basin and the beaches of the Pacific Ocean.  Safe, or so he thought.

Every time he goes to make a purchase, he finds Washington staring right back at him – wig, wooden teeth and all.    Sometimes it’s Lincoln, other times it’s Jackson and on the first of the month when he receives his stipend from the Ecuadorian government, it’s Benjamin.  Founding fathers in green paint, boasting their status as legal tender have followed the anti-secrecy crusader to his happy place.

Ecuador began using the dollar as its official currency in 2000, exchanging the inflation ridden sucre at a rate of 25,000 to the dollar.   While national currencies still predominate throughout every other Latin American country, the dollar serves as the ideal medium for larges purchases, such as property, houses, and automobiles.  According to the New York Federal Reserve, as of 2010, “roughly 75 percent of hundred-dollar notes, 55 percent of fifty-dollar notes, and 60 percent of twenty-dollar notes are held abroad, while about 65 percent of all U.S. banknotes are in circulation outside the country.”  In total, 85 percent of all international transactions are conducted in dollars. At the end of 2009, $580 billion in physical US currency was held outside the country.

Despite pleas from Assange’s mother, Ecuador’s leftist president Rafael Correa has yet to grant him Asylum.  Currently, Correa’s administration is trying to persuade Swedish authorities to conduct questioning regarding the sex scandal, in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, where Assange is holed up.  Sweden has yet to actually press charges.  Their extradition request is meant to further an investigation into allegations from two former Wikileaks supporters.

Assange interviews Correa on Russian TV

At the end of the day, Correa is likely to accept Assange.  The President, a former Harvard Economics professor, never misses a good opportunity to contest the diplomatic interests of the US.  Plus, the two became close after Assange interviewed Correa as part of a Russian television series. Whether London will allow Assange to leave is another issue entirely.  But even if he actually makes it to the small South American nation, the greenback will be ever present – a reminder of his powerful enemy.


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Follow Up

Ecuador court refuses to extradite Belarussian dissident

Furthering the escape from empire and oppression

29 August, 2012

The Guardian

A judge from Ecuador‘s highest court has rejected an extradition request for a former police investigator from Belarus who has been jailed since June, and ordered that he be freed immediately

Barankov, 30, had argued he could be killed if sent back to his former Soviet bloc homeland, where President Alexander Lukashenko has been nicknamed “Europe‘s last dictator”.

I’m happy. They saved my life,” an overjoyed Barankov said by phone from jail. His Ecuadorean girlfriend had notified him just moments earlier


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