The long and winding road traveled by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has led him to many places, though for the past four years, he’s been the guest of Ecuador’s embassy in England. He’s been unable to leave that specific area because should he depart from the diplomatically-protected area, he’s scheduled to be extradited to Sweden to face charges of rape.
The problem for Assange is that Ecuador has apparently grown weary of offering such protection. The previous basis for their support was because of their animosity at the United States. However, the country’s weakened economy has damaged the power base of current leader Rafael Correa, who will be replaced by one of two new candidates. On the opposition side of the race is Guillermo Lasso, who has specifically campaigned on removing Assange from the country’s embassy.
Lasso cites the country’s own miserable financial condition as a simple reason for not spending money to continue housing Assange. One of his vows is that if elected, he’ll remove Assange within 30 days after taking office.
In reality, the support for aiding Assange had been fading even before the political campaign began. The country eliminated his internet access in October after his repeated releases of damaging e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s staff.
The rape charges date back to a visit to speak at a conference in Sweden in August 2010. Two women later accused him of rape and in December of that year, he was indicted and released on bail. After 18 months of legal back-and-forth, Assange entered Ecuador’s British embassy and applied for asylum.
Should Lasso not win in either the February 19 election or a potential runoff in April, the issue becomes moot. Lasso’s opponent will continue business as usual.