WikiLeaks has long reported that the $4.2 billion IMF bailout [in addition to another $6 billion from other U.S.-dominated financial institutions like the World Bank] for Ecuador was closely related to complying with US demands, in particular on revoking the asylum of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. On Thursday, that appeared to come to pass.
Following recent days of Ecuador’s leadership saying Assange’s asylum would not last forever, he was arrested by British police within the London Embassy. Ecuador has tried to present this as related to continuing WikiLeaks operations, and in particular a January leak of Vatican documents.
Ecuador’s recent attempts to stake out a comparatively independent foreign policy, something which the Assange asylum move was a product of, made them a lot of enemies, particularly in the US. As the government now tries to get on the good side of the US, Assange was the main thing the Americans wanted, and Ecuador seems more than willing to try to facilitate that.
While official IMF statements make no specific mentions of Assange, the clear link between the two is likely to continue to loom large, particularly in any US attempts to secure extradition for Assange after having bought his expulsion and ultimate arrest by Britain.