Rafael Correa to teleSUR: 'We're Heading to Economic Disaster'

“I hope I am wrong, but this administration is leading the country to another crisis,” stated the former president.

In an exclusive interview for teleSUR, Ecuador's former President Rafael Correa shared his views about the current administration one year after his successor and Lenin Moreno took office, denouncing the “betrayal” of his political successor.

RELATED: 'Self-Sabotage:' Ecuador Embraces Neoliberal Reform and US Interests

Correa recalled that only a few weeks after the administration started, he acknowledged the political rupture: “They made a pact that they never mentioned to the party Alianza Pais, not even to the board, to Ecuador, for instance, the pact with the Social-Christian party, and gave the banks, the media, and everyone their share (of demands).”

But the former head of state said he later took the real measure of the “betrayal,” when members of Alianza Pais were probed on corruption charges, governing and using “political power to favor private interests” while “taking away subsidies for the poorest.” “This is the real corruption,” he added.

As for the economic policies, Correa said they were “a disaster.”

“Despite the drop of oil prices, despite losing trials in international courts, despite the devastating earthquake, we managed to recover the economy without increasing poverty and inequality in a record time.”

Quoting a recent report issued by the International Monetary Fund, Correa said the economic growth was positive with 3 percent by the end of 2013, denying Moreno's allegations that the national economy was going through a deep crisis when he took office.

However, at the beginning of 2018, the country started a recession despite the increase in oil prices. “I hope I am wrong, but this administration is leading the country to another crisis.”

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Venezuela Protests against Ecuador for Interventionist Positions

Caracas, Jul 6 (Prensa Latina) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela today delivered a protest note to the business manager of Ecuador, Elizabeth Mendez, for interventionist expressions by that country's government.

According to a press release published by the Foreign Ministry, the Deputy Foreign Minister for Latin America, Alexander Yanez, held a meeting with Mendez to express Venezuela's position on the ideas expressed in the letter delivered to his government on July 4.

The Deputy Minister highlighted Venezuela's respect for the people and institutions of Ecuador, and noted that the protest note states that President Lenin Moreno offered statements and interviews with the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, some of which refer Venezuela's internal affairs.

'It is important to note that the representative of the U.S. government has threatened Venezuela with a military operation and has imposed unilateral coercive measures against the Venezuelan economy and people,' said the source.

The protest note also stressed that the Bolivarian Government has never questioned the legality and legitimacy of the last Ecuador's electoral process, and therefore it urged that country's authorities to respect the will of the Venezuelan people, who constitutionally re-elected the President Nicolas Maduro.

Deputy Foreign Minister Yanez said that former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is considered a friend of Venezuela, where he is admired and respected for his ethical, political and humanistic qualities.

In this regard, for the Venezuelan Government it is a duty to express sincere solidarity with Correa and his family, given the circumstances and the manner in which unsuspected and undeserved acts against his person and political environment have been developed, he pointed out.

The Deputy Minister assured that the Executive of Venezuela is aware of the importance of the bilateral relations between the South American peoples, so he ratified the will to develop deep relations of high strategic interest for the Latin American integration.

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Ecuador: Rafael Correa Supporters March To Protest Detention

Thousands of Rafael Correa supporters marched through one of Quito's main arteries on Thursday in defense of Ecuador's former president, accused of orchestrating a failed kidnapping attempt in 2012 – a charge he vehemently denies.

Carrying giant 'No, Neoliberalism' signs and shouting "a people united will never be defeated," demonstrators marched along Quito's 10 de Agosto Avenue towards the Plaza Grande, outside President Lenin Moreno's executive offices, but were blocked by police forces.

Moreno has been accused by political opponents of betraying Correa's socialist-leaning Citizens' Revolution by favoring big business and private enterprises. He had previously served as Correa's vice president.

On July 3, Ecuador's National Court of Justice ruled that Correa should be taken into preventive detention. The court is accusing the former president – a popular, progressive politician who governed for a decade until he was replaced by Moreno last year – of 'illicit association' and being involved in the failed kidnapping of opposition lawmaker Fernando Balda in Bogota, 2012.

Balda claims that five people tried to kidnap him in the Colombian capital, but police stopped the attempt. Evidence supporting the allegations has yet to be made public.

The arrest warrant came shortly after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited Ecuador on June 27. "There is a whole roadmap, there is a whole plot," Correa told AFP from Brussels, where he now lives with his family, insisting that Moreno "is behind this."

The Chief Prosecutor's office has requested that Interpol be notified of the request for Correa's arrest and extradition, but Correa told AFP he doubted Interpol or Belgian authorities would act on the warrant.

"Interpol takes its time, analyses the case and, if it is political, rejects it. We have a deep conviction that this is going to be thrown out because what is going on is nothing more political," said Correa. "The Belgian authorities will never process this nonsense."

In Quito, marchers carried a giant banner bearing the faces of Kristina Fernandez, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Dilma Rousseff, Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales: nearly all former progressive presidents in Latin America who are now being prosecuted by their respective right-wing governments.

A Correa supporter holds an Ecuadorean flag in front of the national police that prevented thousands of Thursday's protesters from entering the Plaza Grande. July 5, 2018. Photo credit: Marco Varese
In Brazil, former president turned candidate Lula has been in jail since early April, accused of having accepted an apartment as a bribe in the wide-reaching Lava Moto ('Car Wash') scandal.

Lula was jailed on the basis of testimonies alone, with no evidence submitted, and his lawyers have been denied due process to appeal

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Rivadeneira: Justice is Being Manipulated Against Rafael Correa

“An enormous challenge has arrived; the manipulation of the justice system with the payment of political favors is evident," Rivadeneira said.

Leader of the Citizens' Revolution movement, and former leader of the National Assembly of Ecuador, Gabriela Rivadeneira, has said that the justice system is being manipulated to wage a political war against former President Rafael Correa and the movement he led.

RELATED: Ecuador Suspends New Ambassador Trip to Venezuela

“The hardest hit is the effort to diminish, de-legitimize, not only the leader of the Citizens' Revolution, but an entire project that began from below, that had strength for ten years, that had made itself one of the biggest political forces of our day. This is what they want to end through judicial processes because they can't arrive to power through the popular vote,” Rivadeneira said in an interview with teleSUR's Enclave Politica.

Rivadeneira, a key Correa ally, said that the current government has reversed the gains of the Correa administration.

“It's been thirteen months since the government changed, and in thirteen months we have seen a backstep in national policy in economic terms, social terms, and sovereignty,” she said. “The economic elite of Ecuador have taken the public debate once again, through control of media corporations, and of the mouthpieces for the current government.”

“An enormous challenge has arrived; the manipulation of the justice system with the payment of political favors is evident.”

She also affirmed that Ecuador already has one political prisoner, Jorge Glas, regarding whom they “still have not presented a single bit of evidence that would demonstrate that he was indeed implicated in the crimes they claim.”

Ecuadorean lawyer Eduardo Franco Loor was invited to the discussion, where he pointed out that “there is no part of the conviction that determines that Rafael Correa was a participant, author, or accomplice (to said crime).”

“Rafael Correa has every right to request international protection... as a citizen that is being politically persecuted by his government.”

Ecuador's chief prosecutor requested a preventive detention of Correa for supposed involvement in a kidnapping, charges which he vehemently denies and says there is no evidence for.

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Ecuador: Correa 'Attacked' While Campaigning in Esmeraldas

Correa's life was reportedly threatened by violent opposition members who surrounded a radio station where he was being interviewed.

Ecuador’s former president Rafael Correa has denounced an attack carried out on his motorcade and a building where he was being interviewed in Quininde, a city in the northern province of Esmeraldas.

RELATED: Ecuador's Referendum: Conciliation or 'Coup'?

According to a series of tweets posted by Correa and local media reports he was being interviewed at Radio Magia’s building when the individuals encircled the building and vandalized vehicles that formed part of his motorcade.

“The situation is very serious in Quininde. The radio where I was being interviewed is surrounded by people from the city council led by some people from the MPD (Popular Democratic Party), who were also in Brobón. I am sorry for the country! I embrace our beloved Quininde. Many people waited for the caravan,” Correa stated.

He also said leaders of the aggression had armed bodyguards and claimed they threatened his life and physical integrity. During an interview with TeleSUR, Correa claimed they were waiting for police protection to leave the radio station.  

Supporters of president Lenin Moreno's referendum (locally known as popular consultation) allegedly participated in the attack. In a video uploaded to multiple social media platforms, one attacker can be seen wearing a t-shirt supporting the referendum. 

"#UltimoMinuto (LastMinute) Aggression against #Ecuador former president Rafael Correa's caravan has been denounced. The radio where he was being interviewed in the province of #Esmeraldas had been surrounded. Rafael Correa confirmed the situation is serious. #ConsultaPopular2018 (#PopularConsultation2018)."

Correa's caravan was vandalized by the opposition members. "@MasiRafael caravan was attacked in the city of #Quininde, in the province of #Esmeraldas."

Ricardo Patiño, one of Correa's closest allies has said "it is the national government's responsibility to provide security for a former president. That is intelligence and efficacy."   
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Ecuador's Correa Returns To Support 'NO' In Referendum

“These people want to end with the division of power, they want to end democracy," stated the ex-president.

Rafael Correa, the former president of Ecuador, announced in a radio interview, that he would return to the country next Thursday, to support the campaign against next month's referendum.

RELATED: Correa Responds After Ecuadorean VP's Guilty Verdict

The plebiscite was proposed by Lenín Moreno, the current president of Ecuador, in order to “strengthen democracy”, and will take place on Feb. 4.

In the interview, Correa stated that he would support the “NO” against three specific points of the seven included in the referendum:

2.- Election of new members of the Civic Participation Council.

3.- Invalidating the amendment that allows indefinite re-election of elected positions.

6.- Restriction of mineral mining.

“These people want to end the division of power, they want to end democracy, go back 20 years and then take the next 20 years for themselves," stated the ex-president, “they may have control of the media, millions of dollars and the government, but we have millions of arms, millions of hearts and millions of minds”.

This is the second time the ex-president is visiting Ecuador after his term ended. Between last November and December, Correa spent ten days in the country, attending several events including a ruling party PAIS Alliance convention. He stated that his visit and the organization against the Moreno faction within the PAIS Alliance was virtually ignored by the media.


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Ecuador's President Visits Cuba

Ecuador''s outgoing President Rafael Correa is today in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba where he starts a two-day visit to the island during which he''ll pay tribute to late Fidel Castro and be conferred the Order Jose Marti, the country''s highest distinction.

In Santiago, the Ecuadorian Head of State, who arrived last night, is scheduled to visit Thursday Santa Ifigenia cemetery to pay homage to the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution; then, he'll be declared Illustrious Son of the City.

He is also visiting the Moncada Garrison, where the armed struggle against the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship sparked in 1953.

Correa's also scheduled to meet with local neighbors whose houses were uplifted or rebuilt by Ecuador's solidarity aid in the wake of Sandy hurricane in 2012, and talk with Ecuadorian students who are studying medicine there.

He'll be on Friday in Havana where he'll be hosted by President Raul Castro who will confer on him the Order Jose Marti, Cuba's highest award, after laying a wreath at the Memorial Jose Marti at the Revolution Square.

Rafael Correa who came to power in Ecuador in 2007 at the helm of the PAIS Alliance and led what he called the Citizens's Revolution will be honored as Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Havana.

The outgoing leader will pass on the Presidency of Ecuador to Lenin Moreno next May 24.

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Ecuador's President Supports Random Review of Ballot Papers

Quito, Apr 13 (Prensa Latina) Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa supported a proposal by Guayaquil Mayor Jaime Nebot for a random review of ballot papers for the second round of presidential elections held on April 2, but under conditions.

In his Twitter account, the president referred to the idea of Nebot, which he said is similar to a suggestion he made a few days ago.

The initiative, defined by the mayor as a supra-legal solution, establishes that representatives of the academy, the church, political movements and the media, among other factors, randomly choose a group of records and check them publicly.

'We fully support this proposal. We ask the CNE to accept it despite not being covered by the law,' the president stated.

However, he mentioned three conditions for implementing the proposal: to review records of the first round of elections (February 19), when the opposition also spoke of fraud, to accept the results and if these are ratified, CREO-SUMA political organization and the media that supported it should apologize publicly to Ecuadorians and the entire world.

According to Correa, the opposition of this South American state seeks to copy the strategy of the Venezuelan right that is to question results and delegitimize the origin of the administration, keep the streets warm and tear their clothes for a divided country, only to prevent governability.

'The difference: it will not happen here. Let all the ballot papers they want to be publicly open. They will not be able to steal from us the popular victory,' the president concluded.

The initiative recently proposed seeks to put to an end the environment generated by the right, led by CREO-SUMA and Guillermo Lasso-Andrés Páez, who from the same day of ballotage went out to the streets to talk about fraud and to incite their followers to ignore the results.

Official data from the National Electoral Council (CNE) indicate that the second round of elections was won by former vice president and representative of PAIS Alliance, Lenín Moreno, with 51.15 percent, while rival Lasso scored 48.85 percentage points. These estimates were corroborated in the recount carried out recently in five provinces, which recorded the initial figures.

However, the post-election process is at the stage of objection, challenge and appeal, valid reasons to file claims.

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