Swedish prisons beat the Hilton

As we speak, Julian Assange is being the world’s most inconvenient house guest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

If you’ve been living under a rock, here’s the skinny: Assange is being accused of raping two women in Sweden and has been fighting extradition from the UK  for some time now. Alas, he lost his final appeals and now it’s time to get on a plane to Stockholm and face the music. Except Assange had a card in his sleeve.

Back in 2010, a high-level official from Ecuador offered Assange asylum and residency should he ever need it. Rafael Correa, the President of Ecuador, is a Chavez-like figure trying some stunts in the global arena to call some attention to himself. There is no better way to do that than pissing off the U.S., hence offering a safe haven for Julian Assange sounded like a great idea. And now it has come to this. Assange is sheltered in the embassy and UK police has made clear that the minute he leaves the building he’s fair game, regardless of being in a diplomatic vehicle.

These diplomatic stand-offs  can last forever. During the cold war, a Hungarian Cardinal lived in the U.S. embassy in Budapest for 15 years.

It is hard to decide what would be the most fitting punishment for Julian Assange: serving some time at the pleasure of the Swedish Crown or making his way to Ecuador to live a productive life as an anti-imperialist symbol for the current regime.

Some years ago, this correspondent went to Ecuador, specifically to Guayaquil, for a week. If ever faced with the choice of few years in a Swedish prison or another week in Guayaquil, there wouldn’t be much to ponder – lock me in a Swedish cell and throw away the key.

Here’s to hoping Assange gets a one-way ticket to Equador – specifically to Guayaquil.

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