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7 Apr, 2020 22:55

‘Everything is bulls**t’: Ecuador pins 8-year corruption sentence on Correa as dead bodies line the streets amid Covid-19 outbreak

‘Everything is bulls**t’: Ecuador pins 8-year corruption sentence on Correa as dead bodies line the streets amid Covid-19 outbreak

Former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa has been convicted in absentia of bribery and sentenced to eight years in prison while the country languishes in a coronavirus disaster that his successor’s austerity policies exacerbated.

Correa and his vice president, Jorge Glas, were given eight-year sentences for corruption and bribery, and barred from politics for 25 years on Tuesday in the culmination of what Correa and his supporters have long framed as a politically-motivated setup.

The leftist former leader, who decamped for Belgium in 2017 after realizing his hand-picked successor, current president Lenin Moreno, was not the devout democratic socialist he had played on the campaign trail, expressed worry for his colleagues but otherwise seemed unconcerned. “This is what they were looking for: managing justice to achieve what they could never do at the ballot box,” Correa tweeted following the decision. “Surely we win internationally, because everything is bulls**t, but it takes years.”

It depends on your vote that this nightmare ends.

Also on rt.com Ecuador’s Covid-19 catastrophe is man-made disaster — because for political elites ordinary Ecuadorians are just disposables

Moreno, elected with a mandate to carry on Correa’s leftist “Citizens’ Revolution,” reneged on his campaign promises almost immediately and began making nice with the US and the International Monetary Fund, reversing his predecessor’s hard-won gains and setting the stage for the nation’s current health crisis.

His government has been trying to pin charges on Correa for years, ordering him in 2018 to return to Ecuador to stand trial for the 2012 botched kidnapping of an opposition lawmaker – a request Interpol vetoed as “obviously a political matter.” When massive protests broke out in October across the country against a round of punishing austerity measures, Moreno accused the expat ex-president of colluding with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to overthrow his government – a notion Correa found laughable.

They say I am so powerful that with an iPhone from Brussels I could lead the protests,” he told Reuters at the time.

The current case of “aggravated passive bribery” centers on a $7 million corruption scheme in which Correa’s political party allegedly took payments from corporations in exchange for bestowing generous government contracts. Of the 20 individuals accused in the case, 18 were found guilty. 

Also on rt.com Bodies of Covid-19 victims pile up in streets of Ecuador as residents beg authorities for help

Some might call the conviction a distraction from the macabre scenes currently playing out in the streets of Guayaquil, however. With 90 percent of Ecuador’s coronavirus cases, the city has proven utterly unable to handle the crisis; Moreno, channeling his American counterpart, dismissed the burning bodies in the streets as “fake news with clear political intent” earlier this month. The country has reported a mere 191 deaths and 3,747 confirmed cases as of Tuesday, even as its health minister acknowledged earlier this month that 1,500 had died in Guayaquil alone. Healthcare cuts effected by the Moreno government took annual spending from $306 million in 2017 to a mere $110 million in 2019, a matter which surely hasn’t helped the national response to the crisis.

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