Four members of the National Assembly have left Ecuador for Mexico where they have been granted political asylum. The Foreign Ministry confirmed Thursday that the group, aligned with the Citizen Revolution and supporters of former president Rafael Correa, left the Mexican embassy in Quito on Wednesday and flew to Mexico City.
Assembly members Gabriela Rivadeneira, Soledad Buendía, Carlos Rivera and Luis Molina, along with their spouses, had been living in the Mexican embassy since October 14, where they sought refuge following the nationwide indigenous protests. According to Rivadeneira, the group feared persecution from the government for supporting the protests.
Foreign minister José Valencia said that Ecuador was following international law by allowing safe passage from the embassy to the Quito airport for the four. “I have been notified by the government of Mexico that the group has been given a grant of political asylum and we are following established protocols in allowing them to leave the embassy and travel to Mexico,” he said.
Valencia said that no charges have been filed against the four but that the investigation into violent acts committed during the October protests continue. Other members of the Citizen Revolution, including Pichincha Province Prefect Paola Pabón, have been arrested and are awaiting trial.
In a prepared statement, Valencia said that “strong evidence” shows that members of the Citizen Revolution were involved in illegal acts during the protests, including the incitement to rebellion. “The government believes that the conspiracy to attack democracy and the violent events of October will be clarified by the justice system and that those responsible will be punished,” his statement read.
Rivadeneira, National Assembly president during the Correa presidency, claimed that she and the other assembly members had been warned that they would be arrested by the government following the protests. “We had no choice but to seek refuge in the embassy given the government’s reign of persecution on the political opposition,” she said. “We are very grateful to [Mexican] President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the people of Mexico for providing us protection and for respecting our human rights.”
The leadership of the National Assembly began discussions on Thursday to replace the departed assembly members.