If you are wanted for rape by Sweden, for treason and espionage by the US, and are holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy for five years in London where you can’t leave because UK police would immediately arrest you, it would seem smart to us not to upset your host.
Not so for Mr Julian Assange who clashed on twitter with Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno over Catalonian independence. As we have informed you, the Catalan regional parliament wants independence, Spain is harshly against any such move.
Mr Assange’s support for the Catalonian separatists has antagonised Mr Moreno, who has been president of the South American country since January and repeatedly asked Mr Assange to stay out of the Spanish crisis.
In response to the Ecuadorian president on Twitter, Mr Assange accused his hosts of trying to silence him, writing: “If President Moreno wants to gag my reporting of human rights abuses in Spain he should say so explicitly–together with the legal basis.”
Mr Moreno publicly pledges to uphold Mr Assange’s asylum “as long as we assume his life may be in danger”, but also claims he is a simple 'hacker'.
Mr Assange is going through somewhat of a hard time with Mr Moreno, who unlike his predecessor Rafael Correa is not of left wing thinking. But Mr Correa still has a lot of support, and so the new president Mr Moreno cannot risk setting Mr Assange out of the embassy for the moment.
For the moment that is. As Ecuadorian financial analyst Ramiro Crespo put it: “Moreno has to pick his battles and dismantle Correa’s machinery bit by bit. He is being cautious. Dealing with Assange is not the priority right now, but Moreno could decide to make a move once he feels stronger.”