Peruvian newspaper declares Ecuador's president "persona non grata" for the press

With a black cover reading "Repudiation!" the Peruvian newspaper Correo criticized Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa's visit to Peru at the invitation of the Andean nation's new president, Ollanta Humala, to attend the Ceremony of the Assumption. The paper named Correa "persona non grata" for the press adding, "a dictator's apprentice attacking the freedom of expression" on its July 28 cover.

The paper's protest was not limited to its cover. Its editorial page was left blank with only a paragraph titled "Repudiate Correa" followed by "This column appears blank as a protest against Rafael Correa, populist Ecuadorian autocrat who assaults the freedom of expression in his country".

Correa won a trial against the newspaper El Universo whose managers and a columnist were sentenced to three years in prison and $40 million in fines for defaming the president. Furthermore, the president has another suit in court for $10 million against two journalists that wrote a book denouncing nepotism and corruption in Correa's government.

The Ecuadorian Chancellor Ricardo Patiño balked at the cover, calling it "defamatory", according to the newspaper El Comercio. The official Ecuadorian government online newspaper El Cuidadano immediately released a defense of Correa with support from the Secretary of Communication Fernando Alvarado who alleged Correo was an ultra-Right publication with hardly any circulation.

In a news conference upon his return to Ecuador, President Correa stood before journalists with the black covered-edition of Correo in his hand, boasting that he was "so important" that they even insult him abroad. "I would give my life for the freedom expression but it's another thing to pretend that any for-profit business is all about good and evil," he said.