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Exiled journalist attacked by Ecuadorian consul in U.S.

Columnist Emilio Palacio (L) speaks with the media after a meeting with officials at the U.S. Immigration Services Asylum Office in Miami, Florida February 8, 2012
Columnist Emilio Palacio (L) speaks with the media after a meeting with officials at the U.S. Immigration Services Asylum Office in Miami, Florida February 8, 2012

REUTERS/Joe Skipper

On June 29, Emilio Palacio, former opinion editor of Diario EL Universo made a public statement about an attack he suffered from the Ecuadorean Consul in Miami, Florida, Eduardo Ribadeneira and his security escort. Palacio was at the Miami Airport covering the visit of President Correa's wife to the U.S.

Palacio told Fundamedios that the incident took place at 11:30 a.m. in the arrivals area of the Miami Airport where Consul Ribadeneira, three consular agents and their security escort received President Correa's wife.

“Some journalists took pictures when Correa's wife arrived. I tried to do the same from a certain distance. Ribadeneira attacked me from behind and pushed me to the ground. A young member of the consular escort then stood in front of me so I could not take any pictures, while Ribadeneira grabbed my iPad by force, assisted by two airport security members”. After recovering his tablet, he tried to photograph Ribadeneira as he left, but one of his bodyguards hit him in the chest, which left him in pain for three days. He made a formal accusation about this matter on July 1.

Neither the Consul in Miami or any authority of the Ministry of Foreign Relations has made any statement on this matter, or have answered any calls asking for information. Fundamedios tried to reach the Consul in Miami, but no one gave any information on the matter.

On July 1st, President Correa confirmed that his wife was in the U.S. He said: “My family departed for Europe, where my wife's family lives (…) Surprisingly, when they stopped in Miami that sick man, Palacio, and those anti-revolutionaty worms with their pamphlets entered a restricted area to take pictures, and then said that my wife was in Miami on a shopping spree, which is a gross lie. Miserable human beings, this Emilio Palacio is truly a sick man, I feel sorry for this psycho(…)”.

Correa was also referring to an article published by Journal Las Americas from Miami on the visit of Correa's wife to Miami. Palacio indicated that the area in the airport was not restricted. This was confirmed by one of the detectives that was assigned to the case. Palacio indicated that his intention was not to take any pictures or approach the President's wife, he only intended to confirm her presence.

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