Fri | Apr 19, 2019

Julian Assange, Venezuela and Jamaica

Published:Tuesday | April 16, 2019 | 12:19 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

On April 11, 2019, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested from an Ecuadorian embassy in London. The current president of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, who took office in 2017, said, “Ecuador has fulfilled its obligation in the framework of international law. On the other hand, Mr Assange violated repeatedly clear-cut provisions of the conventions on diplomatic asylum of Havana and Caracas... .”

Former Ecuadorian President, Rafael Cornea stated on Twitter that his successor was the “greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history”. There is a small chance that it might be connected to the fact that Ecuador got a US$4.2-billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, according to a document dated March 11, 2019, on the IMF website. The IMF is Washington-based and United States-dominated.

In January 2018, Prime Minister Andrew Holness stated that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was to arrive in Jamaica and meet with him and Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith to discuss bilateral and regional matters, including Jamaica’s successful economic-reform efforts.

On Thursday, February 1, 2018, Tillerson suggested that Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro could be overthrown by a military uprising. He described Venezuela’s armed forces as a possible “agent of change”. He said, “In the history of Venezuela and, in fact, the history in other Latin American and South American countries, often, at times, it is the military that handles that.” On February 7, 2018, Mr Tillerson visited Jamaica and met with Jamaica’s prime minister and foreign affairs minister. On February 9, the Jamaica Peace Council stated, “The Jamaica Peace Council is deeply concerned about the inclusion of our country as part of the five-nation, six-day tour of Latin America and the Caribbean by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, which has been openly declared as a mission to consolidate support for regime change in Venezuela.”

In the address by PM Holness at the press conference for the visit of the US secretary of state, Mr Holness said, “Secretary Tillerson reiterated the concern of the US government on the political and economic crisis in Venezuela and the impact on the most vulnerable.”

Jamaica currently has an IMF agreement. It could be mere coincidence that both Ecuador and Jamaica are acting to support US interests and both have an IMF agreement.

BRIAN ELLIS PLUMMER

brianplummer@yahoo.com