Protests Welcome Rafael Correa’s Return to Ecuador to Oust President Moreno from Ruling Party

Rafael Correa's Return to Ecuador
“We are going back to our roots” on the left, said Correa upon his return to the country (Flickr)

Español After several months in Belgium, former President of Ecuador Rafael Correa returned to his country this Saturday, November 25 to a crowd that was shouting for his imprisonment.

Please share: Correa’s exalted reception…

Correa declared that his return would mark the beginning of a new “Citizen’s Revolution” that will retake the Alianza PAIS party led by current President Lenín Moreno. The party’s support is currently split between Moreno and Correa, who have butted heads over the last year.

“We will not allow traitors to take Alianza PAIS,” Correa said during a press conference at the port city of Guayaquil.

The former President announced that he will participate in a national convention on December 3 with the intention of removing Moreno from the party.

“We are going to return to our roots,” Correa said, calling his successor a “traitor” for failing to comply with the leftist policies he left behind.

The arrival of Correa caused an uproar in the country, as supporters of the former head of state went to the airport to welcome him and express their support. The police had to separate protesters from those supporters, but there were still physical altercations between the two sides.

Tweet: Verbal altercations between supporters and protesters of @MashiRafael turned physical turned physical at the  @eluniversocom

Tweet: Violence in the Guayaquil airport between Correa supporters and and protesters @MashiRafael @eluniversocom

Moreno used to be Correa’s Vice President, and their relationship seemed to be strong until a few months ago.

The differences between the two sides have gradually worsened since Moreno took office and began to differentiate his administration from Correa’s. Moreno has clarified on numerous occasions that he does not “want loyalty under false pretenses” and complained about the economic situation left by Correa, who allegedly lied about the country’s debt by suggesting it was much lower figure than it really was.

The rift between them worsened after Moreno’s decision to temporarily replace Vice President Jorge Glas, a close ally of Correa, after Glas was implicated in a corruption case linked to the Brazilian company, Odebrecht. Glas remains in jail ahead of his trial. President Moreno decided to appoint María Alejandra Vicuña, Minister of Urban Development and Housing, as interim Vice President of Ecuador, which deepened divisions within the party.

Correa accused his successor of implementing policies favored by the opposition. Moreno said he is only trying to establish “a process of national reconciliation,” and ensured that, despite criticism, he will continue in the fight against corruption.

Recent tensions led the Correa faction of AP to attempt to dismiss the President as its party leader last October. However, the National Electoral Council ignored the decision, arguing that the decision was not made at a national AP convention.

Uncertainty continues to mount amid speculation that Moreno’s expulsion is only the beginning of Correa’s plans for the party. In the past, he has spoken of forming a constituent assembly that would replace Moreno and allow him to return as President.

Sources: La República; La Prensa; Telesur; BBC; Infobae; El Comercio.

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