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Correa denies charges that he is trying to destabilize the country

By Robin Emmott

Ecuador’s former president Rafael Correa denied on Tuesday he was orchestrating a coup against the government from his self-imposed exile in Belgium, after being accused of stoking the worst unrest in years in the Andean oil producer.

Former president Rafael Correa

Protests over an end to fuel subsidies have erupted across the country, prompting President Lenin Moreno to accuse Correa, his predecessor and one-time mentor, of trying to overthrow him with help from Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.

“They are such liars … They say I am so powerful that with an iPhone from Brussels I could lead the protests,” he told Reuters, holding up his mobile telephone. “People couldn’t take it anymore, that’s the reality,” he said, referring to austerity measures brought in by Moreno with support from the IMF.

Moreno has abandoned the leftist policies of Correa’s time as president from 2007 to 2017, a rare period of stability for a country accustomed to political turmoil but which ended in corruption allegations and a rise in Ecuador’s external debt.

Thousands of indigenous protesters have marched into the capital for a sixth day after Moreno announced a measure to eliminate fuel subsidies to reduce the fiscal deficit. A national strike is planned for Wednesday.

In a defiant national television address on Monday evening, Moreno, who has left the capital Quito, said he would not back down on the fuel price hike in the face of what he called a “detribalization plan” orchestrated by Correa and Maduro.

Correa, who lives with his wife in a small town south of Brussels, has fiercely criticized Moreno, including with a video circulating on social media where he sings “Ecuadoreans, to the streets … Goodbye, Lenin!”

He reiterated that view on Tuesday, saying that “the government has already fallen” and that he did not expect Moreno, who is in the southern port city of Guayaquil, to be able to return to Quito to govern while the protests continue.

“Why don’t they announce early elections,” he said, calling on Ecuadoreans to exercise the right to resist what he called government oppression.

Sitting in an empty office with an Ecuadorean flag and his official photograph as president, Correa said he would be ready to return, possibly as a candidate for vice president, if new elections were called.

“If it’s necessary, I will go back. I would have to be a candidate for something, for example, vice president,” said Correa, who said he earns a living in Brussels partly consulting for the Venezuela government and interviews for Russia’s RT channel, which is backed by the Russian state.

“From there, we would need a constituent assembly,” he said, although he declined to give details about any future government policies. “This isn’t my plan, I am obliged to do this.”

He denied any direct links to Venezuela’s Maduro, who France, the United States and several Latin American nations accuse of installing a dictatorship as a political and economic crisis deepens in Venezuela.

But he also accused the United States and the European Union of hypocrisy for imposing economic sanctions on the Maduro government, which stands accused of rights abuses.

“They have a criminal blockade (against Venezuela). They must lift it.”

Correa, who said he was working on five different books, defended his decision to live in his wife’s native Belgium after leaving office in 2017. He said that it was right that after 26 years living as a couple in Ecuador, they spend time in Belgium.

But he also acknowledged he faced 29 different charges against him, from corruption to misuse of power, in Ecuador, and that he would not go back unless the political situation changed because he said he would not be given a fair hearing.

“I have to prepare my legal case. They have asked Interpol to raise a red alert and capture me, I had to hire a lawyer … it is an enormous task. In the last few years, I’ve worked just to pay lawyers.”

Credit: Reuters,

16 thoughts on “Correa denies charges that he is trying to destabilize the country

    1. Is it really a democracy when the people vote for a candidate based on his political platform and then he does the exact opposite of everything he pledged?

  1. Rafael Correa is not in “self imposed exile.” That’s wrong. The government has issued an arrest warrant for him, and even tried to get INTERPOL to arrest Correa in Brussels. INTERPOL rejected Ecuador’s request, stating that the evidence presented by Ecuador was insufficient (all but saying it is politically motivated). So, Correa is in exile, not “self imposed exile.”

    1. I think what you described is exactly ‘self imposed exile’. the Ecuadorean government hasn’t exiled him. They would love for him to come back. He left voluntarily and is hiding in Belgium of his own free will.

      1. Belgium is wonderful place to be “exiled” in.

        It should be noted. for those who are unaware, that Mr. Correa’s wife is a Belgium lady. They met while he was a student on scholarship for his Masters in Belgium. His doctorate (also on scholarship) was obtained in the USA. There were rumors that his wife insisting on returning so that their daughters would have a share of their other heritage.

  2. If I can be forgiven paraphrasing, there is an interesting forest to these trees (which we should try to see). Correa did much good for Ecuador, a pivotal leader. However, he made the same mstakes we have all seen before with other such leaders:
    1. He gambled on the price of oil would remain high and borrowed accordingly. Like so many, he never fully appreciated the agony American/British financial practices regularly put the world to. Wishful thinking. I am not prepared to blame him for that one. No one is going to carry off his new roads, schools and hospitals off to foreign lands. And what Correa did for ECuador is why 99% of us are here.

    2. He overstayed his welcome. He went from understanding that power inevitably corrupts the most high in the already iffy presidential systems and limiting presidential terms, to forgetting all that as too long in power began making him progressively sillier.

    3. He chose a man much less capable than himself to succeed him..a habit those who become too-full-of-power always fall into, feeling it assures them of continuing control. 🙁 I can understand the dissatisfaction with Moreno, but the answer to that is not Correa. I’d vote for someone like our Mr. Faulkner, long before I would vote for either Moreno or Correa.

    4. The corruption surrounding his regime does not faze me. In a country that has a culture that has a corrupt charcteristic to it, How does one avoid having coruption around, whether one is honest oneself or not? Are South American country leaders supposed to fill their ruling cabinets with imported Norwegians only. (LOL)

    Moreno’s handling of his Correa problem was the height of dumb. He could have trivialized Correa merely by treating him sugar sweetly no matter what Correa said. That would have had the Correa statements about him look addled..while Moreno would be unveiling lopsided Correa statues at roundabouts..

    1. Listening to you tell us you would vote for the egotistical narcissist (JF) that is exactly like Correa scares the heck out of me. Why would you vote for someone that unstable

      1. Globo and many other long-time expats are ingenuous when they talk about Correa since they voted for a continuation of Correa’s movement despite his abismal rights record and close ties to Venezuela, and then when the corruption scandals ocurred they flipped.

        1. You do not read so well Swami. As I written many times here, I was all for Correa until he overstayed in office. At that point, I became eager for him to leave. As I have pointed out repeatedly, the saddest thing about the American Revolution is that it created an ersatz monarchy that do easily leads to power abuse by the Presidents. That it spread throughout the world is a tragedy we must all live with.

          I do not suggest that parliamentary systems are anywhere near perfect. (The first-past-the-post nonsense is VERY dangerous and should be addressed.) But their shstems can pass legislation very quickly (the New Zealand firearm legislation passed in a few days is a case-in-point). They also do not afford a Prime Minister the same horrific power grab opportunities many presidents jump at. Less PMs become nutty than Presidents.

        2. This forum is infested with brain washed Leftist that listened and sucked up worthless Correa propaganda. I was living in Quito when Correa would come on TV and run his big mouth for hours about idiotic prophecy followed by a couple of hours of anti-American Castro bovine scat. It’s sad to see that so many weak minded individuals drank the kool aid!

      2. Everything scares the heck out of you … because you live in a fantasy world populated by fairy tales.

        And seriously, Esmeralda, you calling someone unstable?

        1. Jason, I am reminded of a quote from the New Testament. LUKE 23:34
          “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

          In any event, Esmeralda’s leader of choice is a narcissist. He/she is making a play for you 😉

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