Union City Disinvites Ecuadorian President Correa

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Rafael Correa's in the vicinity because he is attending the UN General Assembly, so he thought he would drop by Union City High School on Friday.

Not so, said the city's residents:

"It is evident that President Correa has associated with Fidel and Raul Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela," said Union City Mayor Brian Stack in a statement. "Even associating with such regimes sends a terrible message to the world and condones the many evils that have been imposed on the residents of those nations."

"For these reasons, I refuse to welcome President Correa to Union City."

The announcement by Stack comes a day after he met with Cuban exile leaders who were outraged after learning that Correa – who is in the New York/New Jersey region because of the United Nations General Assembly - was going to be featured at an Ecuadorian event at Union City High School on Friday.

The Cuban exiles pressed for Correa to be dis-invited because of what they denounced as his oppressive government in Ecuador and his support for the Communist regime in Cuba as well as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

“The mayor said he was going to cancel the event,” said Sergio Gatria, an exile leader who was at the meeting, which was held at the headquarters of the Former Cuban Political Prisoners organization. “He said he had no idea that his was planned at the high school, and that as long as he’s mayor, no dictator, or sympathizer of dictators and terrorists, would be welcome to Union City.”

“Correa supports dictators, is an oppressive leader and hobnobs with [Iranian President] Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This man is a sworn enemy of the United States. It is an affront to this community to roll out the red carpet for someone like that.”

In Ecuador, seven radio broadcasters face sanctions for airing freedom of expression debates. Earlier this month, Reporters Without Borders asked Correa to stop attacks on the press, and:

...that the Ecuadorean government address several facets of its media policy and the proposed communications law that would create a state media oligopoly and regulate the awarding and confiscation of radio and television broadcasting rights, and to cease making offensive statements about the press
Correa's visit to UCHS had been arranged by Ecuadorian officials.
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