Special Urgent Editorial: NO to Political Persecution, YES to Human Rights*

Despite the Ecuadorean government’s spokespeople’s (because Lenín Moreno does not explain any of his actions) tireless efforts in denying political persecution, all of the evidence points to coordinated action among all branches of the State, the mainstream media, and intense framing by right-wing so-called thought “leaders” and legal “experts”.

Only a few days after the visit from the US Vice-president, Mike Pence, who was welcomed in Quito pretty much like the empire’s viceroy, everything has been revealed: arrest warrants against Rafael Correa, the attempts to deliver Julian Assange to the UK, and the obscure security agreements to sustain a harassment and intimidation strategy against critical voices and against collaborators of the previous administration.

Meanwhile, a crony neoliberal economic model is being applied to the Ecuadorian society: more than 70.000 public employees are to be dismissed, 9 billion dollars are to be pardoned to the transnational oil corporate giant Chevron, dollarization’s monetary stability is in danger and big business and corporations are projecting their profits for the remainder of Moreno’s presidential term.

The so-called “Balda Case” cannot be understood without this context. It is a morbid political act: the big media framed the message in such a way that judges feel compelled to act. They implemented a lawfare strategy with a single objective: to politically annihilate Rafael Correa and condemn him to ostracism. With this in place, the field is open for Ecuador’s right-wing to storm through and surrender our country to the dictates of Donald Trump.

It is beyond any doubt that Fernando Balda is a confessed follower of Alvaro Uribe, former President of Colombia. Balda has committed several crimes and has been convicted by the Colombian and Ecuadorian courts. In the last presidential campaign in Ecuador in 2017, he worked closely with far-right politicians such as the banker Guillermo Lasso and Andrés Páez. In addition, he was accused of having connections with mafias and paramilitary groups. In his social networks, he anticipates what judges and media should do about this “case”, not to mention that when interviewed, his outbursts reveal his tactics and his phobias to everything that is related to left-wing/progressive thinking.

There are many questions that need answers:

Wasn’t Balda at a private meeting with President Lenin Moreno? A meeting that has not been denied by any of Moreno’s spokesmen. A meeting, it seems, took place only a few days after the trial against Correa was activated. Why did Moreno not meet with former president Correa’s lawyers to hear both sides of the story? Or was President Moreno never briefed by former ministers José Serrano, Ledy Zúñiga and Rommy Vallejo, who were informed about this so-called “kidnapping” case?

In this unusual process, several constitutional guarantees have been violated, not only against Correa as a former president of Ecuador, but also against due process. There are fundamental aspects of any rigorous investigation that had been left aside, there are strong suspicions that evidence was forged. Prosecutors, courts and other institutions were dismantled and replaced by de-facto interim appointees  with the single objective to send Rafael Correa to jail. Doesn’t this create a despicable precedent for the future of the current president Moreno? When Moreno ends his term, won’t he be accused for the assassination of the three journalists and a couple that were hypothetical informants of the intelligence services?

There is a clear and obvious strategy: purge Correa’s influence in Ecuador to guarantee the return of the establishment parties -especially far-right parties-. These recycled parties now have broad regional connections that will involve giving up national sovereignty in favor of the most powerful global economic groups: banksters and big business. This alone demonstrates that Moreno left the platform with which he won the elections in April 2017 very far behind. 


* The Spanish title refers to “Estado de Derechos”, a phrase in the first article of Ecuador’s Constitution that means “a State of Rights”, refers to almost a hundred human rights listed in the Constitution that must be guaranteed by the State, and plays on the conservative “Estado de derecho”, which can be translated as “Rule of Law”.