Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Mac Margolis

Ecuador Wants Less Julian Assange and More Foreign Investors

In a bid to revamp its economy, Ecuador unplugs WikiLeaks' founder.
Assange, unplugged.

Assange, unplugged.

Photographer: Paul Davey/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Before he launched a major economic reform on April 2, Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno cushioned it with a disclaimer: “Under no circumstances,” he said, would the plan “affect the poorest, neediest sectors” of the country. At least one needy sector is already upset, however. A few days earlier, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange lost his internet connection at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he’s been holed up since seeking refuge in 2012 against extradition to Sweden to face an investigation, subsequently dropped, for alleged sexual assault.

Ostensibly, muting Assange had nothing to do with the government effort to contain the country’s ballooning debt and fiscal deficit. Ecuadorean authorities claimed that the Australian hacktivist had violated his asylum agreement by using the embassy in Knightsbridge as a platform to hector foreign governments. So they pulled the plug.