Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has made no secret of his severe disappointment with the current government of President Lenin Moreno. The current leader has not only failed to live up to the radicalism his name would suggest, but has failed to live up to Correa’s expectations that Moreno would be a dignified successor.
Correa’s time in power saw the South American country pivot away from the US and towards a more multi-polar dynamic abroad while Correa embraced egalitarian causes at home. Correa sought to balance good relations with Chinese energy companies against a record of environmentalism, while also helping to improve the condition of the Ecuadorian poor.
Internationally though, it was Correa’s granting of asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that gained him the most notoriety. Correa has often expressed a personal gratitude to Assange for publishing documents revealing the extent of meddling the US had conducted in his country, while Correa has also associated himself with Assange’s positions opposing war and the militarised exploitation of people and cultures throughout the world.
In all of these areas, Moreno has failed to live up to Correa’s record. Moreno has engaged in a rapid asymmetrical rapprochement with the US that among other things has forced Moreno to take a hard line against Julian Assange. Assange has now been without any contact with the outside world since 28 March 2018 as Moreno’s government has cut off all internet and phone access for Assange who is effectively living in solitary confinement at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. This is the case in spite of the fact that the UN issued a report stating that Assange’s current position is that of arbitrary detention and consequently violates Assange’s internationally derived human rights.
Moreno also oversaw a referendum on Presidential term limits which many Correa supporters saw as a calculated design to prevent Correa from returning to the Presidency in 2021. Now, the National Court of Justice of Ecuador has ordered the arrest of Correa based on allegations that he ordered the assassination of a political rival in 2012.
Correa who is currently living in Belgium fervently denies the charges, claiming they are politicised and symptomatic of the kind of corruption he tried to fight while in power.
Agradezco a tod@s sus muestras de solidaridad ante este nuevo y grave atropello a la justicia y mis derechos.
Yo estoy bien. No se preocupen.
Buscarán humillarnos y hacernos pasar un mal rato, pero una monstruosidad así JAMÁS prosperará en un Estado de Derecho como Bélgica.
— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) July 3, 2018
As Correa himself stated, the move is designed to humiliate Correa who like Assange has sought shelter abroad due to being harassed and now threatened by his own country. But while Correa lives as a free man in Belgium, Assange continues to live as a de-facto prisoner in the Ecuadorian Embassy.
Correa’s legacy is one of a valiant fighter against forces far more powerful than he. Correa’s vision of multipolarity, a sense of ethics in government and a rejection of neo-imperialism has gained him powerful enemies. Tragically, some of these enemies now rule Ecuador itself – thus representing a grim reversal of fortunes for a country headed in a much more positive direction under the leadership of Rafael Correa.