A man against the empire. The man with the white hair.
Latin America has a hero, unmasked the empire clear and the empire attacked a single man worthy of admiration. The man with the white hair.
Julian Assange wrote a special preface for the Latin American edition. This region is placed as one that has recovered sovereignty and independence from the empire. Although it recognizes that it is in its initial stage, it considers that "these events are the hope of our world, while the sun sets on democracy in the West".
On June 19, 2012, the founder of WikiLeaks, escaping his house arrest, took refuge in the embassy of Ecuador in London, a country to which he requested political asylum after considering that the accusations of sexual harassment for which he faced charges in Sweden They were a strategy to silence him. The request was processed in a period of almost two months. Meanwhile, what we saw on the screens looked like scenes from an espionage film: the British police besieged the embassy to stop him, they even threatened to enter the place. After intense negotiations, on August 16, 2012, Ricardo Patiño, the Ecuadorian chancellor, officially announced that the Rafael Correa government would grant Assange political asylum. Among others, Ecuador made the following considerations: "That Mr. Assange shared with the global public privileged documentary information that was generated by various sources, and that affected officials, countries and organizations; that there are serious indications of retaliation by the country or countries that produced the information disclosed by Mr. Assange, a reprisal that could put their safety, integrity and even their lives at risk ".
The debate that Assange raises is not new. In the nineties of the 20th century, Nicholas Negroponte and Neil Potsdam put at the center of the "digital age" debate the tension between optimists - those who think of the internet as a platform for citizen empowerment - and the pessimists - who judge the internet as the space of abuse of the powerful for social control. In recent years, the so-called Arab spring has brought this discussion up to date. The greatest triumph (perhaps the only true) of the movements in the Middle East and North Africa occurred in Tunisia, where information from diplomatic cables, filtered through WikiLeaks, served as a catalyst for social mobilization.
According to the special rapporteurs on freedom of expression, both from the UN and the OAS, restrictions on freedom of expression on the Internet "are only acceptable when they comply with international standards that provide, among other things, that be provided by law and pursue a legitimate purpose recognized by international law and be necessary to achieve this purpose. " But how to understand freedom of expression in a world where everything you say can be used against you?
Probably Julian Assange's intuition about the new Latin American independence already has visible symptoms in the approach of civil society to the public, to hack the system. On a different plane from international politics, an incipient civil society with access to technology is transforming the political landscape of Latin American countries. In a way, the cultural battle of hackers has triumphed in these latitudes. Today there is a generation connected by Internet that finds common battles in Colombia, Chile, Peru, Guatemala or Mexico, one that has liquefied borders and uses social networks and the code to modify its social reality: civic hackers everywhere.
Organizations as Digital Rights in Chile; the Creative Commons coalition in Colombia, along with the Karisma Foundation and the hacker schools in Brazil and Peru, and activists such as Renata Ávila in Guatemala or the Codeando México group account for a new, silent and effective Latin American feat. Not only are they connected to each other: they share many of the values touted by Assange, Manning, Snowden or Aaron Swartz - an internet activist persecuted for sharing academic articles of the Jstor service - and, in many cases, have managed to establish communication channels with the governments or influenced fundamental decisions such as the brake of the so-called Ley Lleras -a bill that seeks to regulate the responsibility of Internet service providers against infringements of copyright of users- in Colombia or the rejection of the Agreement Anti-Counterfeiting Commercial (ACTA) in Mexico - which represented a model of public negotiation in which civil society won the game. The Senate of the Republic concluded that the controversial agreement was contrary to Constitutional principles and that it violated fundamental rights.
Today, among other battles, civic hackers in Latin America form a front against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a controversial agreement that commits the region currently negotiated by eleven countries that, taken together, are the home to six hundred and sixty million people and generate more than twenty billion dollars in annual economic activity: the United States, Canada, Chile, Peru, Brunei, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. Japan and Thailand have also expressed interest in participating in the talks.
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