Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa triggered a serious controversy in Argentina when he defended close links with Iran and downplayed Teheran’s alleged role in the 1994 attack on the AMIA Jewish institution in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and left hundreds injured.
“I know the AMIA case, very painful for Argentine history. But only God knows how many civilians died in the NATO bombings in Libya. Then we should compare and let’s see where the real dangers are”, said Correa when an Argentine journalist told the president how sensitive the Iran issue was, including the fact that some Teheran top officials have international arrest warrants requested by Argentine Justice.
Correa insisted in defending Ecuador’s close relation with Iran and said that “some traditional ally nations are unconditional of the United States which doesn’t even hold elections. The media doesn’t say a word about that. At least here is a flagrant case of double morals”.
Correa also defended his strict media laws and argued that “they want us to believe that questioning their private businesses with the purpose of making profits is an attack on the freedom of expression”.
“When they criticize the government all the time it is freedom of expression, but when a president dares to reply it is an attack on the freedom of expression: this is but an overwhelming and cheeky double moral” added Correa.
The Ecuadorean leader was implicitly referring to a Friday judicial countdown in Argentina when a new media law comes into effect and the large groups will have to present their proposals on adapting to the new bill which strongly limits the number of television and radio signals a group can hold forcing them to divest.
“We have many difficulties in Ecuador to replace the communications bill imposed by the military several decades ago. There is no free and independent press if it is subject to private interests and the whims of capital”, added Correa who added that one o f the great challenges of Latin American is to combat ‘factual powers’ that has always had their way and done whatever they chose.
Finally Correa underlined that the hedge funds (‘vulture’ funds) attacks on Argentina are looking to have a dissuasive effect so that “nobody dares to question the power of financial capital”.
“How can you explain that a small number of Argentine sovereign bond-holders, and entirely marginal, creating all these court problems to Argentina”, asked the president.