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Rafael Correa: "I thought that Lasso would not dare to cross death for our chances of triumph"


Highlights: Rafael Correa lives in Belgium, from where he answers by Zoom. He cannot return to his country because he would be arrested. From exile, however, he continues to pull the strings of his Citizen Revolution movement. His plan is for his candidates to reach the government this year, convene a Constituent Assembly and declare invalid the 2018 referendum that prevented re-election. He could then run for the presidency again if his movement wins the elections, he says. He does not exclude the possibility of convening a constituent assembly to declare that 2018 consultation invalid.

The Ecuadorian political leader does not rule out convening a Constituent Assembly to declare invalid the 2018 referendum that prevented re-election if his movement wins the elections

Rafael Correa has the soul of a newspaper editor. To many of the questions in this interview, she will answer that they are not true, that they are poorly formulated, that the journalist lacks information or that they contribute to spreading lies. But it won't shirk any. Correa (Guayaquil, 59 years old) is facing a stroke of fate. The dissolution of the Assembly of Ecuador and the call for early elections decreed by the president, Guillermo Lasso, direct the correísmo to the polls this August 20 in one of its best moments of popularity since the fall from grace of its leader.

Correa lives in Belgium, from where he answers by Zoom, and cannot return to his country because he would be arrested, after being sentenced to eight years in prison and disqualification in a case that he considers a set-up and a persecution. From exile, however, he continues to pull the strings of his Citizen Revolution movement, with which he won the local and regional elections in February. His plan is for his candidates to reach the government this year, convene a Constituent Assembly and declare invalid the 2018 referendum that prevented re-election. He could then run for the presidency again.

Question. Do you already know what the candidacy of Correismo will be?

Answer. We are discussing several names. The binomial has to be mixed, that was officially resolved a couple of days ago. We are studying various combinations and Saturday will be the primaries. Thank God we have a lot of paintings.

Q. Do you think they will win the elections?

A. We have a healthy confidence, which is not self-sufficiency, but I think we are in very good condition. Now, anything is expected from Trump. From who manages the National Electoral Council, the dirty campaign of the press, as in the past elections, to any credible lie they know how to invent.

Q. The one that leaves will be a government for the remaining year and a half of the mandate. You can't do many things in that time.

A. But it's hard to get worse. The situation of the country is dramatic and the problem is an absolutely inept government, a president tremendously limited in all dimensions, including physics, which should give a little compassion, but it gives indignation, because he did know about those problems and on a whim wanted to buy the Presidency. Even if it is a transitional government, things will improve. However, if a progressive government arrives, it will be tied hands, totally limited. They took over the entire state with the soft coups they made in 2018, with a supposed popular consultation absolutely unconstitutional. We do not exclude the possibility of convening a constituent assembly, not to put a new Constitution, although reforms are going to be made, but above all to declare that 2018 consultation invalid and put new State authorities.

Q. ¿ Would they invalidate the victory in the referendum that prevented re-election?

A. What victory? It was the first time that a reform to the Constitution did not have constitutional control. They cheated. It was demanded at the inter-American level, but there is no judicial independence at either the national or inter-American level. It was the turning point for the destruction of the country.

Q. What do you trust to return to Ecuador? In international justice or by taking their movement to the government?

A. Coming to the Government without a doubt, because everything is political. Those cases are a laughing stock worldwide. If it is not resolved at the national level, at the international level there are four reports of the United Nations rapporteur denouncing judicial independence and the Bribery case, in which we were involved. Internationally, it is only a matter of time before everything collapses. But obviously with our victory it collapses immediately because everything is political.

Q. Would he then seek the presidency again?

A. The collapse of court cases does not qualify me to run for that tricky consultation. Now, if we declare that consultation unconstitutional [the one in 2018], it could. I don't know what the fear is, assuming I want to run it's the people who choose.

Q. And the people would choose him?

R. Do you think that if I did not love me, the Ecuadorian people would do everything possible to prevent me from returning to my homeland?

Q. You officially live in Belgium, what is your real presence in the movement?

A. Of course a lot, because I am the leader.

Q. Will the candidates for the presidency be the ones you indicate?

A. I don't know where he draws that conclusion. In the case of candidates primary elections are required, it is not my decision.

Q. Ecuador is currently suffering from a very serious security problem. How would they deal with it?

A. With what we did. We leave the country as the second safest in Latin America, behind Chile. Today we are the most violent. They destroyed everything. We must go back to what we did, which was so successful: integration, inclusion and social development.

Q. Lasso says the violence is a reaction to his government's increase in drug seizures, because in previous mandates there was permissiveness with criminal groups.

A. What proof do you have? Only the question induces the lie to spread. What is a useless person who has totally failed going to say? That is, the success of a safe country is not success, it is defeat and an indication of guilt because we have made a pact with the mafias. That does not stand up to analysis, but he repeats it because he is a useless liar. He says this to try to justify his incompetence.

Q. What do you think of the heavy-handed Bukele model?

A. It is the strategy of the right: to create terror to sell its solution. I don't like Bukele, beware, I think great evils, great solutions, and the problem of violence in El Salvador became immense, but a universal ethical minimum must be respect for human rights and human rights are not being respected in El Salvador. We do not need those extremes, with policies and human development we achieve what Bukele tries without violence.

Q. Would you negotiate with criminal groups, the model Petro wants to apply?

A. We had gang problems. We gathered the boys and told them: unify your youthful energies for the real struggle, which is to move the country forward. We even gave them a social headquarters and the violence ended. But it is a cocktail of measures, not just one: we must equip the police better, we must improve the justice system. Of course, suddenly, a strong hand is required, but human development, conciliation, technology, institutionality and security system are also required. Not just give the biggest gun to the police.

Q. Did he expect Lassus to decree cross-death?

A. I did not expect it, I thought he was not going to dare because of the possibilities of triumph we have. I knew the U.S. Embassy didn't support him on that, and the rest of the right didn't either. The argument of serious internal commotion did not exist and the Constitutional Court should have denied it, but it did not. Now, without being the right thing to do, I think it was the best thing for the country. It was also illegal because there was an impeachment trial underway. In that case [if Lasso were removed by the Assembly in the impeachment trial], the vice president would assume power. It would essentially be the same government. So, to really dissipate the social pressure that existed, because no one could stand the government anymore, the best solution was to anticipate elections and democratically solve the problem.

Q. So, was it a wise decision?

A. I think it's good, but in philosophy there's a difference between right and good. The right thing to do was to allow impeachment. The best, the good thing, was to anticipate elections.

Q. What did he think when he heard it?

A. I tried to understand why I had done it. And I think there's a very reasonable hypothesis. If he became vice president, he would be a puppet of the Christian Social Party. It was like giving him the government and they hate each other to death. Between handing over power to the Christian Social Party and having it persecuted, because they persecute, and the possibility that we win, who knows that we are not bad people and that we do not persecute, he opted for the latter.

Q. Did he prefer you to the Social Christians?

A. He prefers to let us run the risk of winning because he knows we're not bad and we're not going to chase him.

Q. If they reach the government, what would happen to the State Attorney General, Diana Salazar [who requested the capture of Correa]?

A. That lady will have to face justice, she is an impostor. He has maintained all the protection of the State and believes himself untouchable, but as long as he loses that protection he will have to face the truth. Justice is a serious problem for her. The word our corrupt adversaries fear most is true justice.

Q. During his tenure, the Odebrecht case broke out. Did he use his majorities to stop impeachment proceedings against some of his ministers?

A. Look at the imprecision you have of the case, it is not true what you tell me. With all due respect, this is not true.

Q. Did you recognize that there was oil corruption in your time?

A. What country doesn't have oil corruption? Corruption happens in Spain, in the Vatican, but it is one thing for there to be corruption and another to tolerate corruption. In my government we were the country that most reduced the ranking of corruption in all of Latin America, but what are we talking about?

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-06-07

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