Raphael Correa He is everywhere present at elections on Sunday in Ecuador, despite not being a candidate. Former Ecuadorian President (2007-2017), sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison for corruption, lives as a refugee in Belgium and accuses his country’s justice of persecuting him politically by order of the current president, Lenin Moreno, who was his dolphin. Correa has been in Mexico for days from where it replies through Zoom and where it will continue on Election Day.
Its progressive candidate Andres Arause is the favorite in the election.
Nobody disputes who will win, all polls without exception give Andres Araese a winner. The debate is who is the second, if it is (conservative banker) Guillermo Laso or (The Indianista) Yaco Perez, with the difference and if we win in one round or not. I think there is an 80% chance of winning in one lap. And we hope that will happen because the president-elect can stop the theft by this government in its last months, he can now search for vaccines to vaccinate our people and start looking for funding to overcome the worst economic crisis in the country’s history.
If Arouz won, what role would she play in his government? Are you returning to Ecuador?
Electoral victory does not solve the legal problem, and I do not intend to return. Andres has said very kindly that he would like me to have a counselor, you can give advice online, because my life plan in principle is to continue living in Belgium where my family also lives.
Andres Arouz, the winning candidate in the Ecuadorian elections. Photo: Reuter
In recent days, the confrontation between him and President Lenin Moreno intensified. She called it “trash” after linking it to the extinct Colombian guerrilla warfare of the “FARC”. Does this tension, in polarized Ecuadorian politics, not cause the presence of as many undecided as opinion polls indicate?
I am not facing Lenin Moreno, I am facing his corruption, and the devastation he has inflicted on the country. If he accuses me of having links with FARC, let him prove it, and finally when they accused us of being the Vice President, why didn’t he say that at the time? Lenin Moreno’s hypocrisy and lies are clear. We are facing a pathological liar. It is an outrage for the press and the international community to want to put this just as a dispute. Confrontation? It’s the worst betrayal in the country’s history, it shattered the country. Here there is no confrontation with someone like Lenin Moreno, who is in the dustbin of history, who will see the election results.
What happened between you and Lenin Moreno?
Once again you are underestimating the biggest betrayal in the history of Ecuador. But this is not me. He won our government’s program in the ballot box and threw it in the trash, and chose neoliberalism. The criminal persecution of what they call Coristas was not possible in a civilized country either, and it was possible in Ecuador due to the outrageous complicity of the press. But what happened? We have a crazy man, Moreno is crazy. Stop thinking it is a battle between two people, they are much deeper things.
How would you rate Moreno’s presidency in these four years?
All destroyed. We leave the growing economy. In 2017, we achieved 2.4% growth, now we are going down 11%. Extreme poverty tripled, and we were once again a very unequal state and a decline in all basic rights, in all public services.
How did the government manage the epidemic? What did you feel when you saw pictures of corpses on the streets of Guayaquil?
They said that those videos were false news from the Koristas! The response to the pandemic can only be described as criminal negligence. Since it was known that there was a new virus in Wuhan, we had to take precautions. He provided us with tests and quizzes … They did nothing. Then increase the ICU beds, get ventilators … they didn’t do anything. On the contrary, the agreement with Cuba expired and 400 Cuban doctors returned to Cuba in December 2019, of whom 74 were epidemiologists.
I was president in the context of left-wing governments in Latin America. Then the continent went through a rightward turn, which now appears to be unraveling again. To what do you attribute this ideological pendulum?
Raw materials, including oil prices, collapsed, and all of Latin America, especially South America, which exports goods, faced economic difficulties. This was the advantage of the press, which in Latin America is the tool of the elites to preserve the status quo, to preserve their privileges, and to say that it was a failure of our policies. Taking advantage of it, the coup happened in Brazil: the world looked the other way. Or was it not a coup against Dilma (Rousseff)? In 2015, Argentina lost, but strictly speaking, it did not lose to (Mauricio) Macri: (Daniel) Scioli loses against Clarin, the opponent is the bourgeois press. Then there is the Ecuadorian betrayal: we won the elections and lost power; Those who lost the election won power due to Moreno’s betrayal.
Doesn’t Chavezmo consider a regime that violates human rights? This was stated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, a socialist with which you had very good relations as President when you were President of Chile.
Michelle Bachelet, whom I cherish, could also be wrong. Just in case I visited Venezuela with Jose Luis Rodriguez, ask him. They are self-fulfilling prophecies. They are preventing Venezuela, making it suffer from a shortage of fuel, a shortage of medicines, a shortage of food … So if there are protests they have to control the protests and there is repression. It’s the usual hypocrisy. Venezuela banned. Venezuela has a war economy. This is the real attack on human rights and the rule of law. Lift the blockade and we can talk whatever you want.
What is your current position on the court?
I have 39 judicial investigations, I have a prison order for the alleged kidnapping charge and the last of which was the verdict in the cassation stage that was resolved in 17 working days. It’s a great trick. Belgium never gave way to extradition despite massive pressure from the Ecuadorian government. Judges have eluded, there is political persecution.