MONTEVIDEO (Sputnik) – Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa (2007-2017) told Sputnik that he will not hold office in the case that leftist presidential candidate Andrés Arauz wins the elections.
“The only place I want to occupy is that of a family father, cook and writer, to continue finishing my book,” Correa told Sputnik when asked if he would like to hold any position in a possible Arauz government.
On February 8, Arauz had told CNN news network that if he wins the presidency, he would like Correa to be close to the government.
“We want him to be close, because he is part of our political project, he is a partner, a friend and a reference in Latin America and in the world,” added Arauz. “He will be one of my main advisors.”
Correa is the leader of the Revolución Ciudadana (Citizen’s Revolution) political movement, which includes Arauz, winner of the first round of the presidential elections in Ecuador.
Correa said that his plan is not to return to politics in the short term, but to retire “indefinitely from politics.”
“Returning is not my plan in the short term,” related Correa. “My plan is to reside indefinitely in Belgium, where my wife is. My daughters are studying in France. Reuniting the family was my desire and also to retire indefinitely from politics. I could have remained president of my party, but I said I was going back to Belgium. I thought they were going to leave me alone, but they didn’t.”
Likewise, he assured that in the short term he does not intend to return to Ecuador, even if Arauz wins.
“In any case, winning the elections does not mean that my legal problems will be solved,” said Correa. “I have 39 investigations for bribes, kidnappings, homicides, foreign debt, misuse of the presidential plane. If the plane lacked a stewardess, I had to be a stewardess. It’s ridiculous. We are honest people. They couldn’t find evidence so they accused me of psychic influence.”
He pointed out that the term “psychic influence” does exist in criminal law, but it’s used in cases in which an individual wields their power to manipulate and abuse a fragile person.
“It can’t be used for ministers, legal secretaries—that’s laughable,” said Correa. “We were judged by temporary, corrupt judges, hand-picked, but the world says nothing. It goes against all jurisprudence of the Inter-American system. When the political, and hopefully the media pressure ceases, honest judges will surely do the right thing and they’ll see that the charges have no basis. If national judges do not do it, international judges will do it.”
Correa pointed out that in 2017, when he wanted to retire, he believed he had done “enough” by “transforming” the country.
“We went from being classified as a low-income country to a middle-income country, we were the champions of poverty and inequality reduction,” reflected Correa. “We said it was clear what we had done, but how wrong I was. There are many people with plenty of hatred, and they’re capable of destroying the country to destroy us. They didn’t destroy us, but they destroyed the country.”
Likewise, Correa said that the Union for Hope coalition (UNES, center-left) had wished for a better showing in the first round of elections.
“A higher vote is always aspired to, because we have very high standards, but we received about 33 percent of the popular vote,” Correa told Sputnik. “The runner up received 19 percent, and they were all against us.”
Correa said that they didn’t have a bad electoral showing but that they expected to win in the first round, as they had done in previous opportunities.
On February 7, the first round of elections was held in Ecuador, in which the candidate for UNES, Andres Arauz, took first place with about 33 percent of the votes. At this moment it remains to be defined who finished in second place.
According to official data from the National Electoral Council, as of February 11 the candidate of Pachakutik, Yaku Pérez, has registered 19.65 percent of votes, and the right-wing candidate Guillermo Lasso 19.60 percent, with 96.64 percent of ballots counted, and 99.55 percent of those processed (entered into the system).
The second round of elections [Ballotage or runoff] is scheduled for April 11.
Correa told Sputnik that an influence on the outcome was what the US learned from the elections in Bolivia, where the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) won.
“The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) chose Yaku Pérez and they created a supposed leftist movement to take away our vote,” he pointed out. “Half of Perez’s vote is ours, as he presents himself as someone of the left—ecologist and progressive.”
Correa doesn’t consider Perez a leftist, and believes that he is Washington’s candidate.
“With Correa we lived better, everything was clear, and now after four years they say that the bankruptcy was ours, people have doubts and are looking for a newcomer,” added Correa. “They created the conditions for people to become disenchanted with politics, they created a rival for us, unlike the Bolivian case where the votes from the center to the left were concentrated with MAS; but in this second round they’re going to see what those votes mean. The pronouncement of the Ecuadorian people will be clearer.”
He also pointed out that Lasso “resented” the US Embassy because they “turned their back on him.”
Guillermo Lasso and Yaku Pérez”The gringos are not stupid, they know he’s a very poor candidate,” said Correa. “They needed someone new, who looked like us, to take votes away from us.”Correa also said that another influence on the result was the fact that UNES was forced to start their campaign late, on December 25, as it wasn’t yet known if their candidates would be authorized.
“The result was a slap in the face of the Ecuadorian people, following so much betrayal and so much destruction,” added Correa. “Four years of defamation. They did not destroy us, but they destroyed the country and themselves. Here’s the response of the Ecuadorian people: we were by far the primary political force, we won the first round for the presidency by far. We’re the largest bloc with 50 assembly members.”
He pointed out that despite all the pitfalls, they managed to assert themselves in the first round.
“They prevented me from being a candidate, they issued my sentence in 17 days, they wanted to prevent the registration of our candidates. They prohibited the campaign ads containing my face or my voice, they stole our political party. In spite of everything, the response on the part of Ecuadorians has been forceful.”
Correa has several judicial processes pending in Ecuador, including an accusation of ordering the kidnapping of an opponent in the Colombian capital, which merited a request for preventive imprisonment.
Last year, a final court of Ecuador’s Court of Justice upheld an eight-year sentence against Correa and 18 others including government officials and private businessmen, for the crime of bribery.
The judiciary named them as guilty of complicity in a criminal structure of collecting bribes in exchange for contracts with the State between the years 2012-2016, to finance campaigns of the ruling Alianza País [PAIS Alliance] party.
In August 2019, from his current residence in Belgium, Correa told Sputnik that the trials he faces in his country were to prevent him from participating in the elections.
Ecuador’s indigenous leadership has an alliance with the US
“The indigenous leadership is politicized, bought, infiltrated by the US, clumsily radicalized,” Correa told Sputnik. “They speak according to their agendas and not according to those they represent.”
The former president clarified that the leadership is one thing, while the indigenous people are another thing altogether. He stressed that during his government he worked to help the indigenous peoples.
“We always had their support,” said Correa. “But the indigenous leadership is another thing, they are infiltrated by the US, and have been the greatest allies of (President Lenín) Moreno. They always voted in support of his government. Until the 2019 protests, they were part of the Government, they had ministers. With those people you can’t talk. With the people, with the grassroots, of course you can.”
Correa pointed out that if his party wins the elections, they’ll seek to fight poverty among indigenous peoples.
“If you are born indigenous, you have a 99 percent chance of being poor, and a 99 percent chance of dying poor,” said Correa. “This reflects centuries of exclusion and perverse systems that have exploited them. Many of these leaders have the agenda of post-modernist leaders. But for me the first objective is to get out of poverty. That doesn’t contradict their culture, but if it were to contradict it, I would prefer to get them out of poverty a thousand times.”
Change of Government in the US
Correa submitted that Joe Biden’s inauguration as president of the United States was something very positive for the world.
“It’s a relief for humanity,” said Correa. “(Former President) Trump (2017-2021) really was a danger. It’s not the same as having an amoral president like Trump, who bragged about not paying taxes. Seven times he’s gone bankrupt, but he’s still more prosperous than ever.”
The former president pointed out that Biden is “another kind of person,” defining him as an “experienced politician,” a “statesman,” a “good person,” “sensible,” and who has had a “very difficult” family life.
“That’s enough. But obviously it’s not going to change US foreign policy,” reflected Correa. “What’s the common denominator for US policy, especially in Latin America? That everything is done in order to defend—not democracy or freedom—but their own interests. We must be clear that this isn’t going to change.”
In addition, he pointed out that former Democratic President Barack Obama (2009-2017) levied many more sanctions than Trump.
“Biden has a more international vision, but it means more interventions,” he added. “Let’s not expect big changes with Biden, but having a sensible person at the helm of the most powerful government in the world provides more peace of mind to the planet.”
Republicans like Trump are not interested in the rest of the world, said Correa, so their policy is focused exclusively on the US.
Featured Image: Former President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa (Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi)
Translation: Orinoco Tribune