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Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino 2012 UK interview

Ecuador's foreign minister explains why his country decided to grant Julian Assange asylum. On June 19, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange entered the door of the Ecuadorian embassy in London seeking political asylum, claiming an extradition order to Sweden to answer charges of sexual misconduct was a setup so he could be sent to the US to be tried for leaking national security secrets.

Over night, the South American country known mostly for its rainforest, exotic animals and bananas became embroiled in a high-stakes controversy, involving not just Assange but the UK, Sweden and the US.

When the British foreign ministry threatened to revoke the Ecuadorian embassy's diplomatic status to allow police to enter and arrest Assange, Ecuador's fiery leftist president, Rafael Correa, responded by granting the whistle-blower asylum. London refuses to grant Assange safe passage. Bidding the charge for Ecuador is foreign minister Ricardo Patino, who makes no apologies for his small country's involvement in the high-profile Assange affair, or for the battle his government is waging against Ecuador's opposition media.

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