Born in the United States but of Venezuelan descent, Eva Golinger is a lawyer and the presenter of the Russian news channel Russian TV (RT), one of the international media organisations that has given the most coverage to “The dirty hand of Chevron” campaign, which was launched by Rafael Correa’s government. She has also become one of the public faces of the stateside defense of Venezuelan Chavism.
|Lea este texto en español:
Few weeks ago, a contract was revealed under the terms of which Golinger agrees to advise the Permanent Mission of Ecuador to the United Nations, which has its headquarters in New York, on legal matters. The contract provides for a monthly salary of USD 5000, together with the payment of a bonus in the form of a contribution to her Social Security in the United States.
However, this is only one of many contracts that Eva Golinger has entered into with the Ecuadorian government, judging by emails leaked on the web portal WikiLeaks Forum, which reveal a close relationship between the Venezuelan and the ex-Secretary of Communication and current Minister of Tourism, Fernando Alvarado Espinel and his brother, the current Minister of Production, Vinicio Alvarado.
The leaked emails
According to an email leaked by the web portal, which was written in September of 2014, the ex-Secretary of Communication informed Golinger, in English, that the contract she had entered into for the production of a series of communications products had been terminated.
Alvarado’s email is cutting: he said that it was not a question of her services being good or bad, but that they no longer met SECOM’s expectations. Therefore, Alvarado said that he would arrange for the payment of all her expenses, and that he would recommend her as an advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The lawyer and television presenter’s reply consisted of listing the activities she had carried out and the expenses she had incurred since May of 2014, when she was hired by the government to carry out communications activities and lobbying with international media, in particular in London.
Golinger indicated that, from May to September of 2014, she had travelled from New York to Quito on five occasions, and had also travelled to London on behalf of the government to coordinate a media agenda for the Ecuadorian Ambassador. The North American lobbyist noted that she had also bought her airplane ticket to Quito for her monthly visit, planned for September, to offer support to the Ecuadorian delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations.
She then proceeded to list 17 matters she had been working on for Ecuador from May of 2014, and for which, in another email, she demanded that the government pay her expenses.
For example, Golinger stated that she had developed a “media strategy” to commemorate Julian Assange’s second anniversary in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. She had planned to record, edit and deliver ready to be broadcast in one of the president’s Saturday addresses a “message from Assange to the Ecuadorian people”, for which she would have to go to London with her team. Another of her tasks was to “coordinate an interview” with the Australian Assange, who sought asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy, with the government’s official media and, in particular, with the newspaper El Telégrafo.
However, the lawyer and journalist’s work in London went far beyond this: the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ricardo Patiño, had a visit to London scheduled for the 16th to 18th of August, for which she had planned some activities, like preparing his media agenda; a press conference in the Embassy, in which Assange and the Ambassador would participate; and writing an article for The Guardian newspaper about Assange’s situation in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, which would be signed by Ricardo Patiño.
Golinger also had tasks related to domestic issues, according to the leaked email. She was going to design a communications strategy on the re-election in Ecuador. She was also going to disseminate the political messages on the re-election of the citizens’ revolution in Europe while, pedagogically, she was going to prepare data to demonstrate that re-election is permitted in several European countries and in the United States.
Another strategy that Golinger was going to design was aimed at involving young people in the “citizens’ revolution”, and in this regard, she was going to prepare documentaries on the “before and after” of Ecuadorian politics.
Golinger had even planned to give young people t-shirts; she was working on a print design for them in which Correa appears on his bicycle, accompanied by young people from different sectors. Along with the t-shirts, Golinger’s campaign was also going to run on the internet, for which she was going to design a special page. The bombardment that Golinger had prepared for young people finished with a television program, which she said was suggested by Vinicio Alvarado.
Among other tasks were the daily monitoring of international media; drafting a letter responding to the editor of The Hill, signed by Fernando Alvarado; preparing the agenda for the Ecuadorian delegates at the Assembly of the United Nations, which was scheduled for September of 2014; and, lastly, preparing a report on the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s presence in Latin America.
The advisor’s bill
In another email, Golinger complained about the Alvarados’ decision to terminate her contract, as only a few weeks earlier they had asked her to design more products and strategies, in particular on Rafael Correa’s re-election. After complaining about the termination, and seeming a little perplexed about the decision, Golinger got to the important part: how much Ecuador still owed her for her work. Despite the ease of current communications, Golinger stated that she had a representative in Quito called Romain Migus, who had moved to Ecuador, and who she had offered to pay USD 2500 per month up until December of 2014.
This is only one of the items that Golinger demanded payment for. Also, she indicated that she spent USD 8500 on travelling between Quito and London on several occasions between July and September of 2014; that they owed her USD 20,000 for her professional fees between July and August of 2014, at USD 10,000 per month; that she had worked up until the 10th of September, for which Ecuador owed her USD 3,333 for these ten days in September; and that Romain Migus, her representative’s wage until December of 2014, meant at least a further USD 7,500. In total, she asked the government to pay her USD 39,333 for her services.
But, it was not the first time she had participated in the brothers Fernando and Vinicio’s communications operations. In October of 2014, the international advisor gave a conference in Quito where she suggested the need to create a “center of progressive intelligence” in the countries from the region. The web portal PLANV asked her about this plan and at the time she said that it was only a project that she had not been able to carry out.
Apparently, the advisor was telling the truth, as a few weeks before the Alvarado brothers unilaterally terminated her contract.
The special contracts
During the Correísta government, hiring consultants and authorizing expenses for services that the government officials from public bodies could carry out seems to have been the rule rather than the exception.
Also, if you look at the section of consultants hired by the Chancellery during 2014, which is published on the official website, you will see that they have made payments for studies like the “determination of the exportable supply of the country’s goods and services” for USD 35,000, of which Juan Falconí Morales was the beneficiary; the contract to implement a “process management model” in the Ministry, awarded to Qualiplus International for USD 148,000; the “consultancy for a citizen attention model in the Ministry”, for USD 52,200, awarded to Olga Moreno; the “strategic management of migration issues” for USD 318,000, among others.
In the section for special status contracts, however, there are expenses like USD 180,000 for “positioning Proecuador’s image”, awarded to the firm Maruri; at least USD 80,000 more for a similar campaign, awarded to Kommunik; the USD 699,570 given to IAEN for the “provision of specialized services for the preparation of the strategic agenda for foreign policy for the Ministry”, among others.
The USD 113,000 allocated for the contract to “prepare communications strategies” is notable, which was awarded to the Political and Social Studies Centre, a Spanish foundation linked to the Spanish political party Podemos [We Can] and made up of the principal members of the Iberian left.