United States Ambassador to Ecuador Michael Fitzpatrick announced Thursday that the U.S. has withdrawn more than 300 visas of Ecuadorian citizens who may have been involved in illegal activities. The move follows last month’s arrests in a Guayaquil public hospital corruption case that included dozens of government officials and members of prominent Ecuadorian families. Several of those wanted in the case fled to the U.S.
The U.S. did not disclose the names of those whose visas have been revoked and it is not known if Abdullah Bucaram, his wife Gabriela Pazmiño and brother Michel Bucaram are among the group. The Bucarams have business ties to the key defendant in the hospital case, Daniel Salcedo. Abdullah Bucaram’s father, former president Abdalá Bucaram, is under house arrest in Guayaquil for his alleged role in the case.
On Friday, following the revocation of the visas, Ecuador requested the extradition of 39 fugitives believed living in the U.S., most of them in the Miami area. In addition to the Bucarams and three others believed to be part of the hospital scandal, Ecuador is asking for the return of William and Roberto Isaiah, former owners of Filanbanco who allegedly fled Ecuador in 2000 with more than $500 million in customer deposits and government assistance funds. The Isaiahs, who live in Coral Gables mansions and have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican and Democratic senators and congressmen, have withstood eight previous extradition requests.
In addition, Ecuador is asking for the return of Pedro Delgado, former director of Ecuador’s Central Bank and cousin of former president Rafael Correa, and Carlos Polit, wanted on bribery charges in the Odebrecht corruption case.