The Ecuadorian government today questioned the legitimacy of the rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the OAS, Catalina Botero, saying she has a commercial link with the NGO that criticizes President Rafael Correa.
“It was recently known that the Rapporteur Catalina Botero has a partnership relationship with Fundamedios” said the secretary (minister) of Communication, Fernando Alvarado, to Sonorama radio station.
“There are documents (…), that show there is a business relationship, advice, tutorials” the official said, pointing out that this is a link that leads to a “partnership” between the rapporteur and the observatory of media, which reported to the Commission a “harassment” of the Ecuadorian government against the press.
Alvarado felt that this situation “takes away the legitimacy of Catalina Botero to treat the case that Fundamedios took to” the IACHR, from OAS (Organization of American States) in Washington, on October 25.
Asked by AFP, the director of Fundamedios, César Ricaurte, denied the remark and said “it is part of a campaign undertaken by the Ecuadorian government to try to discredit the IACHR and its Special Rapporteur.”
“If you are talking about a tutorial done by the Office in Ecuador that is not any kind of commercial relationship, but academic (…) to raise awareness of the inter-American system,” said Ricaurte.
The activist was referring to a seminar issued on April 8 in Quito by two members of the Special Rapporteur, Michael Camilleri and Mauricio Herrera, according to him through a $ 5000 contract signed between Fundamedios and the General Secretariat of the OAS.
“There is no other relationship,” said Ricaurte.
On 11 November, Correa accused the Commission of abusing its duties, after the agency asked the Ecuadorian state information on the trial that resulted from a lawsuit made by president Rafael Correa against newspaper El Universo.