Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ecuador’s president now in neocon crosshairs
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jul 23, 2008, 00:16

(WMR) -- Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has now found himself, like his ally Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, in the neocon crosshairs for ordering Ecuador’s Deposit Guarantee Agency (AGD) to seize control of some 200 companies belonging to fugitive Ecuadorian banker brothers William and Roberto Isaias.

The neocons, especially those that inhabit the greater Miami area and hail from Cuba and New York, are accusing Correa of cracking down on press freedoms. It is the same cant heard from the neocons after Chavez closed two TV networks, RCTV and Globovision, for doing the bidding of the neocons in Washington and Miami.

In Ecuador, Correa’s actions had nothing to do with press freedom. The Isaias brothers’ Isaias Group owned Ecuador’s Filanbanco bank. Filanbanco collapsed in 1998 and the Ecuadorian government was left holding the bag. Ecuador’s government claims the Isaias brothers embezzled $661 million from the bank. However, the Ecuadorian government cannot do very much to recover the losses because the Isaias brothers fled Ecuador and now live comfortably, under the protection of the Bush regime, in Florida. They fled to the Miami area in 2000 before an arrest order was issued by Ecuador. The Correa government has asked the United States to extradite the Isaias brothers back to Ecuador and outgoing U.S. ambassador to Ecuador Linda Jewell said the request is being studied.

The Isaias brothers and their friends in Miami, including Miami Herald Latin America correspondent Andres Oppenheimer, are falsely charging that Correa is stamping out press freedom in his seizure of Isaias Group companies because they include three media companies: TC-Television, Gamavision, and Cablevision. However, among the other Isaias companies seized are a sugar mill, construction firms, and trading and insurance companies. Correa has not moved to take over other media companies that have criticized him much more vociferously than the Isaias Group TV stations.

Much like the Russian oligarchs who raided the Soviet and Russian treasuries and then absconded abroad with the funds, the Isaias brothers lorded over a business empire amid the collapse of the Ecuadorian economy in 1998. Ecuador was even forced to scrap its national currency and adopt the U.S. dollar.

Correa, a U.S.-trained economist, is now trying to revive Ecuador’s economy and political system, the latter through a referendum on a new constitution, and part of his plan is to try to recover the money embezzled by the Isaias brothers.

U.S. ambassador Jewell, who is leaving her post in Quito, may see Correa as a victim of the neocon U.S. foreign policy that is being dictated from their think tanks in Washington and condos in Miami and Coral Gables. She recently defended Correa and said there is no proof to past neocon allegations that Correa is supporting the Colombian FARC rebels. Colombia conducted a U.S.-supported military raid into Ecuador in March of this year, killing a number of FARC guerrillas, including FARC deputy commander Raul Reyes, as well as others. U.S. support for the Colombian raid was seen as retaliation for Ecuador’s ordering the U.S. to leave its military airbase at Manta on the Ecuadorian coast.

The comments by Jewell in support of Correa are sure to earn her the wrath of the neocons in Washington and Miami, which will now place a vendetta against the ambassador high on their “to do” list.


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