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Emilio Palacio and Ecuador Politics

For the last couple of weeks the news in Ecuador has been dominated by a court case that throws into doubt the future of freedom of expression in this small Andean nation.

President Rafael Correa has sued the journalist Emilio Palacio and three board members of the newspaper El Universo for allegations Palacio made in an article calling the president a dictator and murderer.

The article refers to the police uprising on the 30th of September when Correa was kidnapped by rogue elements of the Ecuadorian police force and held hostage in a military hospital.

In the article Palacio calls the President Correa a dictator 8 times and accuses him of ordering the military to use lethal force during the presidents rescue. The Newspaper from Guayaquil that is being sued, El Universo, is often referred to as the mouth-piece of the countries astronomically wealthy elite class.

Judging by the article Emilio Palacio seems like one of those snake-skin journalists that skews the news as well as the finest and most manipulative FOX News anchormen. His skills probably suit him more for celebrity gossip than balanced political journalism but that does not mean should not be able to express his opinion.

The Right to Express Ourselves Freely

This is a stupid and downright dangerous move by President Correa, one that has made a martyr out of Palacio and legitimized this journalists’ outlandish ravings. It has made Correa look like the very thing his enemies have tried to paint him as – a dictator.

According to the court ruling Emilio Palacio and the three directors of El Universo owe President Correa $42 million in damages and are sentenced to three years in jail – a punishment completely disproportional to the so called crime.

The case is currently being appealed and Emilio Palacio has fled Ecuador in the last few days to seek exile in the United States where he continues his uneding diatribe against the president.

I have admired much of what I have seen Rafael Correa do here in Ecuador for the past four years compared to the corrupt presidents of the past. This incident however has made me question him for the first time – the right to express yourself freely is one of our fundamental rights as human beings and should not be taken for granted.

¡Que Viva la Libertad de Expression!

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  1. Wlady Reply

    Hey Jake

    please note that Emilio Palacio is a foolish journalist, who made an acusation, without hard proof against the president, you have the right to express yourself, here, but there has to be responsabilities also taken from what ever you may want to speak and express yourself about, you can not pint the finger at someone, and make outrages acusations just because you “hate him” this is what Emilio Palacio stands fro, he incentivates hate amongst ecuadorians, he is payed by the right wing the economic owners of Ecuador, who more than any one want Rafael Correa out, or Killed as it happened on the 30S you and I saw this Jake, and then you more than any one saw that in Ecuador you can express yourself even if this means trying to kill the president!

    Emilio Palacio saw himself lost in the process so he fled to Miami, and now enjoys the good things in life with his BANKING friends, the same ones that fled the country in 99, after taking all the money from Ecuador, now they are sipping daiquiries somewhere in palm springs !

    If anything in Ecuador every one has the right to express themeselves, i hear everyday in the news how they call Rafael Correa a Dictator, an axis of evil! and a suporter of terrorism… realy!!!!??? pfff.. 🙂

  2. Jake Reply

    hey Wlady, i agree that Emilio Palacio is one of those corrupt scumbag journalists who are paid off by the elite class in Ecudor, thats why i referred him as a “snake-skin journalists that skews the news as well as the finest and most manipulative of FOX News anchormen.”

    As I said I think Rafael Correa has been amazing for this country, but he has handled this extremely badly which is the reason very reputable Freedom of Speech and Human Rights organizations from around the world like http://www.IFEX.org campaigning on this farce of a journalists behalf. 

    No matter what way you look at it, 41 million dollars and 3 years in jail is disproportionate to the crime.  Its the kind of punishment you would see a blogger or journalist get in Uzbekistan, Syria, or Saudi Arabia but Ecuador??

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  5. Chuck Reply

    in Uzbekistan, Syria, or Saudi Arabia you probably get the death penalty. Even if you don’t, I’m pretty sure the punishment is worse than what Correa dealt. The punishment may be harsh in terms of jail time, but as in the past and up until now, most of the rich in Ecuador never serve jail time. Financially, $42 million might be a proportional punishment considering the net worth of the directors of the newspaper. I think that maybe Correa is using this as more of a deterrent rather than a punishment that will be carried out. When it comes to news media, I believe in freedom of speech as long as the information is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You just can’t go to a movie theater and yell fire and have people trampled to death while exiting the theater and use “freedom of speech” to exonerate yourself. Deception by the news media can lead to innocent lives lost- just research the antics of some Fox news anchormen to see some examples of this.

    • Jake Reply

      hey chuck, thats a good comment and you are right that in other countries such as Uzbekistan or even in Mexico or Colombia the price of expressing yourself freely as a journalist can be deadly.  

      I agree with you that Emilio Palacio is a liar and the newspaper El Universo wrote a lot of bullshit but that doesnt mean this ruling will most probably scare off some legitimate journalists from exposing the truth about some government scandal because of fear of the repurcussions.  

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