Former president Rafael Correa said Wednesday that an arrest warrant issued by an Ecuador court over the kidnapping of an opponent was part of a “plot” by the government against him.
“There is a whole roadmap, there is a whole plot,” Correa told AFP in an interview in Brussels where he is now based, adding that current Ecuadoran President Lenin Moreno “is behind this”.
Ecuador’s National Court of Justice on Tuesday said it had ordered the arrest of Correa over alleged links to the kidnapping of former lawmaker Fernando Balda in Colombia in 2012, and had alerted Interpol, asking that it issue an arrest warrant.
Correa, president of Ecuador from 2007-2017, was one of the feistiest characters in Latin American politics. He now lives in his wife’s native Belgium.
He said he doubted Interpol, the international police organization, or Belgium would accept the arrest warrant. “Interpol takes its time, analyses the case and, if it is political, rejects it. We have the deep conviction that it is going to throw this away, because there is nothing more political than that,” said Correa.
“But supposing it passes the red alert, the Belgian authorities will never process such nonsense.” Asked who was behind the plot he described, Correa said: “Without a doubt the government. The government announced it in November, met Balda in secret on April 20, with his lawyers as well.”
On President Moreno, his former ally, Correa added: “He is behind this. But that’s obvious. He’s pushing it. I insist, he met with Balda… He is behind all this, the judicialization of politics.”
Correa said he and his lawyers “haven’t ruled out” the possibility of applying for political asylum in Belgium. “Moreno is creating a banana republic in Ecuador and it is clear that I will not be welcomed there in the foreseeable future,” he added.
In Ecuador, supporters of the former president were pushing a social media campaign, claiming he is the victim of “lawfare” aimed at former leftist leaders in Latin America, including Correa.
A protest march is planned for July 5 in Quito opposing the Moreno government and supporting Correa.