Correa formally charged in kidnapping case
Ecuador Attorney General Paúl Pérez has charged former president Rafael Correa and four others on 28 counts of kidnapping in the case of former national assemblyman Fernando Balda. Previously, Correa had been wanted for questioning in the case and a warrant for his arrest had been issued based on his failure to appear in a Quito court in June.
The charges stem from an alleged 2012 attempted kidnapping in Bogota, Colombia involving Ecuadorian intelligence agents. Balda, a former supporter of Correa, had been convicted of slandering Correa and had sought refuge in Colombia. Pérez claims that Correa ordered the kidnapping.
Ecuador murder rate one of lowest in the Americas
New statistics released by the United Nations Office of Drug and Crimes show that Ecuador’s murder rate is the third lowest in the Western Hemisphere, only behind Canada and Chile. The latest statistics show Ecuador has moved slightly ahead of the U.S. for fewer homicides. Countries with the highest homicide rates in the Americas are El Salvador, Honduras, and Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.
The UN also reported that the rate of violent crime, which it says tracks closely to the murder rate, is also declining in Ecuador,
Moreno’s approval numbers extend slump
According to a new poll by the Cedatos Demographic Institute, the approval rating for President Lenin Moreno is 38.5 percent, the lowest of his presidency. The key elements of the decline, according to the pollster, are dissatisfaction with economic growth and slow progress in eliminating corruption. In August 2017, four months after taking office, Cedatos found that 67 percent of Ecuadorians gave Moreno a favorable rating. The numbers have declined steadily since then.