NEW YORK – Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who leads the opposition to the Lenin Moreno government from exile in Belgium, is not afraid to return to his country and even be arrested if he is guaranteed it would be done under due process of law, his sister Pierina Correa told EFE in an interview.
“But there are no guarantees in our current judicial system that we can enter a defense in court as there should be,” she said, giving as an example the recent case of ex-lawmaker Virgilio Hernandez, sentenced to preventive prison for suspected rebellion after being accused of taking part in organizing violent demonstrations during last October’s protests.
Hernandez, a Correa follower, calls his sentence political persecution.
According to the former president’s sister, who is campaigning in New York for the opposition movement Social Commitment to the Citizens’ Revolution as part of a plan to “take back the government” in the 2021 elections, Hernandez surrendered voluntarily after his home was broken into and searched so he would be allowed to stand trial without being incarcerated, but then “he was taken prisoner” on Nov. 5.
Rafael Correa, president between 2007-2017, has lived in Belgium since he left the presidency, after which some 20 charges have been brought against him including the accepting of bribes, something his sister totally denies.
“The procedure is clear, above all in the case of Rafael Correa and Jorge Glas (former vice president of Ecuador): to annul their political participation not only in the 2021 elections but for life,” Pierina Correa said.
She admitted that some mistakes could have been made under her brother’s administration, and that some officials might have abused the power of their positions “to do things they shouldn’t have,” and therefore should be put on trial, “but respecting the universal principle of innocence” until proven guilty, which, she added, does not exist in Ecuador.
She also felt there was something to be learned by “the election results in Argentina, where the pendulum has moved back toward the left, and after the marches in Ecuador, in Chile, the problem in Bolivia, and what is going on in Colombia. So what’s the message? That the winds of progressive politics are blowing again in the region and that doesn’t suit our current government.”
“It seems their idea is to get convictions and sentences as fast as possible that would block us for life” from being elected to any public office, she added.
According to Pierina Correa, with this scenario in her country, the Social Commitment to the Citizens’ Revolution that her brother directs from Belgium has assumed the task of “taking back the government” and to do that, “we are carrying a message of unity and organization.”
“We are calling together a great coalition of hope that unites movements, parties, fronts, and progressive and leftist organizations, so we can go into the 2021 elections as a solid pact,” she said.
Correa, who began her tour in California and after New York will continue on to Florida, added that Lenin Moreno “took away from us, above all from the younger generations, the chance to build our future.”