Why Ecuador?

Swami Nithyananda seems to have captured the imagination of a section of the population, who are anxious to migrate to the Nation of Kailasa:

https://newstodaynet.com/index.php/2019/12/10/12-lakh-applied-for-kailasa-citizenship-nithyananda/

But where is it? The above report (as well as the official website)  https://kailaasa.org/

do not make it clear. Some newspaper reports say that he made his way to Ecuador via Nepal, and that he purchased an island from that country. Some news websites with muddled geography stated that this island was near Trinidad & Tobago, which is a few thousand km away from Ecuador.

But why Ecuador, anyway? In recent years it had hosted the fugitive Julian Assange at its embassy in London until they got tired of him. To refresh your memory see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange  and the climax at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-47907600

However, Ecuador is supposed to have a long association with people who have a problem with India. This goes back to the Khalistan movement. From the Wikipedia article on the Khalistan movement, we see:

“Embassies in Britain and other European countries were opened by Chohan. It is reported that with the assistance of a wealthy Californian supporter, a peach magnate, he opened an Ecuadorian bank account to support his operation.”

Some years later, a Sikh writer tried to find out what the Khalistan supporters had achieved in Ecuador. His report:

https://www.sikhglobalvillage.com/stories_sikhecuador1.htm

So there is some history of the Ecuadorean government getting involved with dubious activities connected with India.

Meanwhile, humorists on Facebook and elsewhere have to generate material about the Swami and his country. It is known that Ecuador has an island province including the Galapagos islands and its famed flora and fauna, including this fellow:

Galapagos tortoise 2

One could imagine him being cuddled by the Swami.

 

 

Julian Assange’s predecessor

As you know, on Feb 11 Julian Assange was removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London after spending close to 7 years there. The story so far:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-47891737

But there was an even longer stay of this kind, from 1956 to 1971 in the US embassy in Budapest. The name of Cardinal Mindszenty may not ring a bell today, but this should help:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B3zsef_Mindszenty#Church_leader_and_opposition_to_communism

and

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B3zsef_Mindszenty#Confinement_at_the_US_embassy

A somewhat related story pertains to South Africa during the apartheid era. I must have read about this in the 1980s but cannot locate a reference now.

During the heyday of apartheid and the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela and other activists, a few junior activists feared arrest and took refuge in the British consulate in Durban.

While Durban is one of the larger cities in South Africa, the British felt it did not deserve a full-fledged consulate and thus their diplomatic staff were working from a few offices in a regular office block. So much so that their offices did not even have attached toilets and their staff had to walk to toilets in a different part of the building.

The South African security police (called BOSS if I remember right) soon arrived there and could not do anything right away as their prey was under British consular protection. But it was soon pointed out that their protection and immunity would cease the moment they left the office to go to the toilet.

One can imagine the diplomatic exchanges which would have gone on. After a few hours the British staff must have persuaded the South African activists to leave, right into the hands of BOSS.

Meanwhile, Ecuador is at least famous for a while for something other than the Galapagos tortoises.