French-Brazilian journalist Manuela Picq arrived in Quito Monday night more than two years after she had been deported by the government of former president Rafael Correa. Arriving from the U.S., where she is professor at the University of Amherst (Massachusetts), Picq was greeted by her husband, indigenous leader Carlos Pérez.
Picq’s visa was revoked by Ecuador’s Ministry of the Interior in August 2015 based on her participation in anti-government protests. Police initially claimed that she had been involved in a violent demonstration but that charge that was later withdrawn based on video evidence.
She made several attempts to return to Ecuador in 2015 and 2016, based on her marriage to Perez, but was denied.
On her arrival at the airline terminal on Monday, Picq was regaled with music and presented with a tray of cherries as part of a ceremony to cleanse her of bad energy. Perez gave her a bouquet of geraniums and other plants he had harvested for the occasion. Picq reciprocated with a kiss.
Perez is president of the leftist indigenous group, Ecuarunari, which clashed frequently with the former government.
The Lenin Moreno government’s decision allowing Picq to return is the latest in a series of reversals of Correa-era rulings to punish individuals and organizations opposed to government policies.
Prior to her deportation, Picq was a professor at the University of San Francsico, Quito, and a journalist writing for European and Brazilian media.