Comments made last week by former president Rafael Correa about President Lenin Moreno have set off a firestorm of reaction in Ecuador and Europe. “He has shown to the world that he is a coward and a man consumed by bitterness and frustration,” said Juan Sebastián Roldán, Moreno’s personal secretary.
In a Friday interview with Spanish newspaper El Diario, Correa said Moreno’s actions as president were influenced his physical disabilities and called him a “deformed” man. “I believe there is something pathological in his actions. Sometimes, people who have suffered a tragedy like the one he suffered, express their bitterness and frustration through their actions. In his case, he expresses it through the presidency.”
Correa also received blow-back for his justification for possibly ignoring a judge’s order to appear in a Quito court on Tuesday. He claimed he was needed at home in Brussels to take care of a daughter injured in car accident. Critics claim, however, that Correa has spent little time a home since the accident.
Ecuador housing minister Xavier Torres who, like Moreno, is confined to a wheelchair, called Correa’s comments “mean and hypocritical,” showing disrespect for everyone with disabilities. “Besides being discriminatory, his remarks indicate a high level of frustration and anger at the path Ecuador has taken since he left office,” Torres said, adding that Correa suffers from “poverty of the heart.”
Richard Martinez, Ecuador’s finance minister, was more blunt. “What he said is reprehensible and are the expressions of a pathetic low-life.”
On Correa’s reason for defying the order to appear in Quito criminal court as part of a kidnapping investigation, the reaction was equally harsh. “He says he is needed at home in Belgium to take care of his daughter but he has, in fact, been traveling almost continually since the accident.” A commenter wrote on the El Diario website.
“My daughter suffered a serious traffic accident,” Correa said in the newspaper interview. “I need to take care of her and cannot leave my home and my family at this time.”
Quito journalist called the ex-president’s excuse “pathetic” and dishonest. “Since his daughter’s accident — which we understand was not life-threatening — Correa has traveled to Havana, Caracas, Buenos Aires, to Madrid twice and to Moscow three times, including a trip to watch the opening match of the World Cup,” Pallares said on a Quito radio talk show. “The man is never at home and to ask for sympathy for his daughter’s situation is outrageous.”