Former President Rafael Correa said goodbye to supporters Tuesday in Guayaquil before boarding a private jet and flying home to Brussels.
Correa had been in Ecuador since January 5 to campaign against President Lenin Moreno’s popular referendum. He had planned to leave on Monday but remained in the country an extra day to testify in a trial concerning oil contracts signed during his administration.
Several dozen friends and supporters, some holding signs, “Rafael, we are with you always,” gathered in a rain storm at the international airport before Correa flew home to Belgium, his wife’s native country. Among the well-wishers were former National Assembly president Gabriela Rivadeneira and assemblywoman Paola Pabón.
Correa was unable to persuade voters to reject seven referendum questions, including one that prevents him from running again for president. Voters overwhelming voted “yes” on all questions, most winning by margins of more than 30%.
On Monday, the former president testified that he was unaware of contract details in the case of oil sales to Petrochina, the Chinese national petroleum company.
In the final two weeks of the referendum campaign, Correa’s caravan was attacked on several occasions by protesters, some throwing eggs and rotten fruit and vegetable. On Thursday, police were called to rescue him and his supporters from a radio station in Esmeraldas Province.