Rafael Correa, Hugo Chavez, and an Interesting Coincidence

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Emilio Palacio: Ecuadorian journalist sentenced to three years in prison for "defamation"

On March 27th,  an editorial writer for the Ecuadorian Newspaper El Universo, was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for the crime of defamation. He is currently not in prison as he appeals the decision.

In an editorial in El Universo, Palacio directly criticized Camilo Saman, the president of an Ecuadorian government entity. Saman filed a criminal complaint against Palacio, claiming that the latter’s editorial had:

“made him a victim of dishonor, discredit, a lowering of his honor, of his morals, damaged my name and what people think of my ethics”

To the objective observer(in the U.S. at least), even if Palacio did write these mean words directed at Saman, the thought of going to prison for it would never cross one’s mind. Nonetheless, Ecuador is not the United States; in fact, it may be leaning ever so closer to operating like its ally, Venezuela.

An Curious Alignment of Events

In one week in March in Venezuela , three individuals–all critics of the Chavez-led government–were charged with dubious crimes. First, it was Oswaldo Alvaraez Paz, an opposition politician and former candidate for presidency, who made statements critical of Chavez on television. Second, it was Guillermo Zuluaga, the president of the last-standing independent television network in Venezuela, Globovision. Zuluaga made statements similar to those made by Paz. Third, it was Wilmer Azuaje, a member of the Venezuelan Parliament who has accused Chavez’s family of corruption in the rural state of Barinas. Azuaje’s situation is slightly different; the Venezuelan Parliament decided, quite hastily, to strip Azuaje of his immunity from being charged with common crimes. Allegedly, Azuaje got into an argument with a female government official and physically hit her. Ironically, there is video of a pro-Chavez politician severely beating someone, yet proceedings to lift immunity werenever initiated in that case.

Given of the large body of evidence supporting the notion that Hugo Chavez is actively trying undermine democracy in Venezuela, and given that parliamentarian elections are scheduled for September, these three arrests, all of a political nature, indicate that Chavez is ready to drop the facade of democracy and hurtle head-first into a Cuba-esque nation. But are Ecuador and Correa going to emulate Venezuela? There is a link of events supporting the latter theory.

On Friday, March 26th, Hugo Chavez and Rafael Correa had a joint-press conference in Quito, Ecuador. Chavez was questioned about the arrests of Alvarez Paz and Zuluaga. He responded that:

“A Venezuelan judge comes along and orders the detention of a criminal in Venezuela who owns a media outlet,” Chavez said during a visit to Ecuador. “And then they attack the government of Venezuela … for attacking press freedom, for attacking journalists and the news media — what cynicism. It’s the cynicism of the (U.S.) empire.”

In the same AP article, Rafael Correa was mentioned:

“His complaints were echoed by Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, who said his government would prepare its own report on human rights in the United States.”

The next day, after Correa’s “agreement” with Chavez , March 27th, Emilio Palacio was sentenced to three years in prison for committing a similar “crime” as those that were arrested recently in Venezuela. Coincidence? You decide.

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6 Responses to “Rafael Correa, Hugo Chavez, and an Interesting Coincidence”

  1. cookie Says:

    Curious to know why this is even of interest to you. Wouldn’t talking about American politicis make more sense?

  2. cookie Says:

    Are you saying that this topic is not substantive to you? If it weren’t you wouldn’t have blogged about it, would you? Sounds like I hit a nerve just asking you a question.

    • bjohns15 Says:

      Cookie,

      You hit a nerve as in you annoyed me, nothing more than that. If I must spell it out: Comments should be relevant to the entry that they are made on. Your comment was not relevant to the entry(the story on Venezuela and Ecuador).

  3. Susana Says:

    Why dont let people come to a conclusion about what acutally is going on not only in Ecuador but worlwide. Disrespect to anyone, is punished by ecuadorian laws. Take a time to translate the article written by Palacio, if you speak Spanish.

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