Arturo Rosales writes from Caracas
Poster attached to a police barrier outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
(AFP Photo / Will Oliver)
In a firmly worded statement today at 0430pm Caracas time, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patiño, informed the international media via Telesur that his ambassador in London had received a threat from the UK authorities that the embassy “would be invaded” if Ecuador granted political asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Visibly irritated Patiño labeled such threats as “unacceptable”, “against international law” as outlined in the Vienne Convention on diplomatic relations. He also made a point of saying the Ecuador was not a colony of the UK and that colonialism had ended many years ago.
Patiño confirmed that no decision to grant Assange political asylum in Ecuador had been announced but an announcement will be made regarding the sovereign decision on whether to grant asylum to Assange or not at 0700am local time (0100pm London and 0800 New York).
Such threats by the UK against a small country such as Ecuador are designed to intimidate the Ecuadoran authorities. Patiño indicated that consultations would be held with UNASUR regarding the threat of the UK to invade what is sovereign Ecuadorian territory, even though it is in London. The current head of UNASUR is Venezuelan Ali Rodriguez Araque and we can expect a statement about this matter from UNASUR and from the ALBA foreign ministers.
All the ingredients of an international diplomatic incident are brewing in London. No one knows if and when the UK authorities will carry out such a threat. If Assange is granted asylum in Ecuador then will he be allowed safe passage out of the UK on to a jetliner to Ecuador? Based on the UK’s present stance of acting like a “rogue state” flying in the face of international law and convention, anything is possible. Do not forget the UK bombing of Libya violating international law under the guise of enforcing no-fly zone after all Libyan planes had been grounded.
Diplomatic protection in the UK is sometimes paper thin. Three months ago several opposition Venezuelans trashed the Venezuelan consulate in London and threatened the staff. Despite all this being on CCTV the diplomatic police in London have not detained anyone for this incident, despite having the CCTV footage. This is very strange since during last year’s riots in London by disillusioned youths, almost all the looters and perpetrators were identified and arrested in record time by the UK police forces all over the country.
Draw your own conclusions from the threats against Ecuador and the failure of the UK diplomatic police to detain anyone for trashing the Venezuelan consulate. Countries are only “civilized” and act to uphold law and order when it suits them. Correct Mr. Cameron?