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Ecuador asks Interpol to arrest former President Rafael Correa for corruption

Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador, in 2019.Mario Guzman / EFE

The sentence to eight years in prison against former President Rafael Correa and the top of his Government ended their options to return to power in the next elections, but until now it had not affected their freedom. This Wednesday, the Ecuadorian Justice decided to ask Interpol for the red broadcast so that the former president, who lives in Belgium, is arrested. Despite the ratification of the sentence at the end of August, only two of his closest former collaborators are already in prison. The rest are at large or unaccounted for.

The court in charge of the execution of the sentence has ordered the notification to Interpol against 15 of the 20 convicted in the Bribery case, as they are part of a criminal network that made campaign contributions to the Alianza PAIS party in exchange for obtaining public contracts, according to the thesis of the prosecution.

Interpol already rejected another request from Ecuador in December 2018 to capture Correa, who has resided in Belgium since he left power in 2017. This time, the Justice justifies its request that “there is a duly enforceable conviction” and that “ Up to now, 13 days have elapsed (until October 6, 2020) from the date on which the location and capture were ordered ”, the whereabouts of those sentenced are not even known.

Apart from Correa, among those convicted for whom the red broadcast is broadcast, are his former ministers Walter Solís – a fugitive in the United States -, María de los Ángeles Duarte – a refugee in the residence of the Argentine ambassador in Quito – and Vinicio Alvarado – a fugitive in Venezuela-, in addition to former parliamentarians Viviana Bonilla – unaccounted for – and Christian Viteri – also in Venezuela.

The only two members of the leadership of the previous Ecuadorian administration who are serving sentences are Jorge Glas, former vice president, and the former legal secretary of the presidency, Alexis Mera. The first was already in prison for a six-year sentence for the Odebrecht case. And the second entered the same social rehabilitation center at the end of August, reproaching that he was entering prison “without having received a single penny” and assuring that he did so “with honor.”

The case came to light in April last year thanks to the revelation of the journalistic portal Strudel, in which the code names of high-ranking officials of the Correa government and of businessmen involved in a scheme of bribes were exposed that, according to the State Attorney’s Office, generated damages for the country for 21 million dollars.