Ecuadorian politician announces second attempt to revoke Assange citizenship in National Assembly

On October 11th, Paola Vintimilla, from the right-wing PSC (Social Christian Party) announced on Twitter that another attempt would be made in the Ecuadorian National Assembly to publicly release files related to Julian Assange being given citizenship – as a stepping stone to having both his citizenship and asylum status revoked. This would remove any domestic legal barriers to the Ecuadorian Government of Lenin Moreno fulfilling its stated aim of handing over Assange to British and U.S. authorities.

The English translation of this tweet reads :

Given the false news broadcast on social networks, I clarify that: next week in the @AsambleaEcuador, we will vote for the declassification of the documents #CasoAssange. No one will prevent this process from continuing, the truth should not be hidden anymore, we’ll fight for it.

The attempt was announced only one week after Vintimilla and the PSC narrowly failed to get a majority in the Assembly to vote to start this process on October 4th. Paola tweeted at the time that they only had 85 votes secured when they needed 91 votes on the floor of the Assembly. As a consequence they did not put the motion to the vote.

The latest manoeuvres in the high-level, multi-government conspiracy to hand over Assange to be prosecuted for Espionage in the U.S. became public on September 20th, when Vintimilla fronted a press conference with 12 other of her party’s MP’s. She presented documents she claimed were given to her by the current Ecuadorian Foreign Minister, José Valencia. She claimed the documents showed that as part of Assange being given citizenship to Ecuador, he renounced his status of political asylum. She also claimed the documents showed irregularities in the conferring of asylum that meant that the process was not legitimate. She also claimed all the documents should legally have been made public. At this stage there is no way of judging the validity of the documents Vintimilla presented or her claims.

In a further development Sputnik News quoted Carols Poveda from Assange’s legal team,  stating that they intend to seek legal redress over the illegal releasing of the documents to Vintimilla from the Foreign Ministry. Poveda stated “In the next few days we start legal proceedings… The proceedings will be against the Foreign Ministry and its legal representative, who is the foreign minister”.

Although Vintimilla and the PSC only hold a relatively small number of seats in the National Assembly, according to a tweet from Wikileaks on Oct 2nd, they are working with other “U.S. aligned” parties. In addition, the alleged involvement of the current Foreign Minister Valencia from Moreno’s governing PAIS alliance, raises the question of whether Moreno himself is orchestrating these manoeuvres in the National Assembly. The PAIS Alliance has itself not given any public support to the PSC efforts to revoke Assange’s asylum, but it would not be the first time Moreno had worked to overturn the policies of his own party that he inherited from the previous President Correa.

Moreno has publically stated many times he wishes for Assange to be removed from the Embassy and that he thought it was a mistake to grant him citizenship. On Moreno’s orders, Assange has been in virtual solitary confinement since March 28th, cut off from the internet and friends and family. He has had to step down as a consequence as Editor-in-Chief of Wikileaks.

Donald Trump’s government has continued the persecution of Assange began by his  predecessor Obama. Mike Pence has visited Ecuador to pressure Moreno directly. The U.S. first threatened to withhold loans from Ecuador if they didn’t cooperate and has since rewarded Moreno with over a billion dollars of funds for his compliance. Top Trump officials have repeatedly stated their determination to put Assange on trial for his work with Wikileaks, labelled a “hostile, non-state intelligence service”

That Vintimilla is attempting so soon after her first failed efforts to get another vote up in the National Assembly demonstrates the relentless nature of the conspiracy against Julian Assange and the ongoing dangers he faces.

The almost complete media blackout on these efforts to revoke Assange’s asylum in the English-speaking press also ominously point to the powerful forces working behind the scenes to both orchestrate this campaign and suppress any public discussion of it.

We call on workers and youth to participate in building the international campaign needed to defend Assange as part of the struggle against war, censorship and to defend democratic rights. We must be prepared for the fact that if Assange’s citizenship is stripped – he may be evicted from the Embassy very quickly. Visit the Call out for Emergency Global Protests if Assange is Evicted to read how you can get involved in Emergency protests if this occurs. Protests will also be occurring in cities around the world on November 4th in order to “Turn up the heat on the U.S. Government”. Email to get involved in either of these protests.


Davey Heller

Davey Heller is a Trotskyist from Melbourne and long-time campaigner for Left-wing causes including anti-war, refugee rights, environmental protests and workers' struggles. He is a former secondary teacher who studied history at Monash University and currently works in the environmental field. You can follow him on Twitter at @socialist_davey

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