Latin American dictator slams US for rejecting gun background checks

Despite his own checkered human-rights track record, newly re-elected Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa this week slammed the U.S. Senate’s rejection of a proposal to expand federal background check regulations, asking “who had appointed the U.S. arbiter of good and evil to rule on human rights in other countries.”

Correa said the rejection of the gun bill amendment suggests the Senate can be easily swayed by the “immense power of the arms manufacturers” and lobbyists.

The Ecuadorian president, according to Human Rights Watch, is known for his efforts to “undercut freedom of the press in Ecuador by subjecting journalists and media figures to public denunciation and retaliatory litigation.”

A January 2012 law in the country grants the National Electoral Council “sweeping” censorship on all political media, enforced as the agency sees fit, according to HRW, which notes that Ecuador’s judicial system is plagued by “[c]orruption, inefficiency, and political influence.”

Correa arrived in office in 2007 as a “man of the people” who championed causes important to the indigenous population of Ecuador, a group that makes up a quarter of the country’s population. After taking office, though, he has largely dismissed this group’s concerns, arguably pursuing his own political agenda above the native population’s concerns.

Following a protest that turned violent, for example, Correa’s administration arrested 189 Indian leaders on the grounds that they were “saboteurs and terrorists.”

“We are not repressing; we are simply guaranteeing that the rest of the population is safe,” Maria Luisa Moreno, the government minister responsible for indigenous people, said of the arrests.

The men arrested, however, maintain the detention was “illegal, arbitrary and illegitimate.”

Still, Correa felt compelled to rail on the U.S. electoral system, recently describing it as “imperfect” and “built to perpetuate the same bipartisan schema.”

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