Emilio Palacio, the Ecuadorian journalist who was granted political asylum by the US after being sentenced to jail in a libel case brought by Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa, was assaulted by Eduardo Rivadeneira, Ecuador’s consul to Miami.
As reported by Diario Las Américas, Palacio was at Miami International Airport reporting on the arrival of Mrs. Correa, Anne Malherbe, when he took her picture with his iPad.
Palacio reports that Malherbe was on her way to a shopping trip to New York city, assertion that Ecuador has vigorously denied since it doesn’t go with the Ecuadorian government’s socialist image.
Immediately, Consul Rivadeneira tackled him from behind, knocked him to the ground, punching him, and, after Palacio dropped the iPad, took the iPad away from Palacio. Rivadeneira handed the iPad to an airport employee who begrudgingly returned it to Palacio.
When Palacio attempted to take another photo, another man, who claimed to be with the US State Department, grabbed him, punched in the chest, and pushed him away. The man would not produce identification as to being with the State Department, and Palacio doesn’t believe he is.
So we have an Ecuadorian government official attacking an older man with impunity, in the country that has granted asylum to the victim, and some other (unidentified) thug following up.
What’s even more curious is that, as of the writing of this post, according to Miami police, the Miami airport security video only shows the moment where Consul Rivadeneira is picking up Palacio’s iPad off the floor and hands it to the airport employee.
Curious, indeed since Palacio was told by the detective investigating the assault that there were several security cameras in that area, but that the video of the incident was incomplete.
The Miami Airport manager has made no statements to Diario Las Américas regarding the incident.
And, as far as I could find, Diario Las Américas and I are the only ones posting on this; I’m the first one to post about it in English.
Others reporting in broadcast media, in Spanish:
Jaime Bayly interviews Emilio Palacio and Diario Las Américas editor Manuel Aguilera:
Ecuador’s president has publicly insulted Diario Las Américas and Palacio, and claims his wife is not in NYC shopping but “visiting family for reasons he can not disclose due to security issues.” Maybe Ms Malherbe’s Belgian relatives decided to hold a family reunion in the Big Apple. Perhaps they’ll stop at the Apple store for new iPads, too.
In other Ecuador news, the government shut down Vanguardia magazine under its new censorship law.
Julian Assange could not be reached for comment.
The irony of Google ads: one popped up saying “Live like royalty in Ecuador”.