Eduardo Del Pozo, vice mayor of Quito, says he’s ready to go to jail for insulting President Rafael Correa but has no intention of backing down on his criticism of the government. On Tuesday, he claimed that a double-standard in the courts puts people in jail for “hurting the president’s feelings” while criminals who have stolen millions of dollars from the government remain free.
The Provincial Court of Pichincha rejected del Pozo’s appeal of the June conviction on Monday and he will begin serving a 15-day jail sentence within days. He was also ordered to pay a $90 fine.
Del Pozo’s conviction is based on comments he made during a June 10 radio interview about Correa’s proposed referendum to bar those with off-shore assets from holding elected office. The court ruled that del Pozo made offensive statements about Correa and used inaccurate facts in his argument.
“It is amazing to me that the government talks about ethical responsibilities in keeping money in the country yet goes easy on public officials who have embezzled millions from the citizens of Ecuador and deposited it in off-shore banks,” del Pozo said, adding that some of those who have stolen money are friends of relatives of Correa. “I go to jail because the president disagrees with what I say and these thieves are walking around free in Florida and Spain,” he said.
Del Pozo was referring to a cousin of Correa who pocketed money from an Argentinian loan deal and who now lives in Miami, and a former director of the Petroecuador who allegedly stole more than a million dollars from the government owned company.