In Ecuador, President Daniel Noboa strongly submits his policy to the referendum

Sunday April 21, 13.6 million Ecuadorian voters are called to vote in a referendum on the security policy of their young president and on his economic priorities. Daniel Noboa, 36, is in the international spotlight for having ordered, on April 5, the arrest of former vice-president Jorge Glas in the premises of the Mexican embassy in Quito. The police raid was unanimously condemned, including by Washington. Mexico, which immediately broke diplomatic relations with Ecuador, demands sanctions and an apology. But it is not said that, on the domestic level, Mr. Noboa has lost points.

Arriving in power in January for a brief mandate of seventeen months (the time to complete that of his predecessor, Guillermo Lasso, who resigned), Mr. Noboa took the reins of a country in the grip of an unprecedented security crisis, due to the growing presence of mafias and gangs linked to drug trafficking. Corruption weakens the action of the State. Thursday April 18, José Sanchez, the mayor of Camilo Ponce Enriquez, in the south of the country, was killed, bringing to four the number of city councilors assassinated in one year.

Mr. Noboa quickly established the image of a strong man. He stated that there was a “internal armed conflict” in the country, deployed the army and declared a state of emergency to fight against criminal organizations. “The arrest of Jorge Glas reinforces this image of a strong man”, comments researcher Esteban Nicholls, from the Simon-Bolivar Andean University. According to him, “the unjustifiable decision to intervene in an embassy can only be understood in the light of domestic politics”.

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Mr. Noboa intends to win his referendum, the first step in his possible re-election in 2025. “In the eyes of part of the electorate, Jorge Glas alone embodies the corruption of the Correa years”, continues Mr. Nicholls. In power from 2007 to 2017, convicted of corruption, exiled in Belgium and very active on social networks, Rafael Correa remains very present on the political scene.

“Illegal and arbitrary” arrest

Seized by Jorge Glas’ lawyers of a request for habeas corpus, the National Court of Justice ruled, on April 10, that, in the absence of an arrest warrant to authorize his capture in the premises of the embassy, ​​the arrest of the former vice president had been “illegal and arbitrary”. But the Court refused to release the accused on the grounds that there were convictions against him in two corruption cases. Mr. Glas says he is the victim of political persecution since his first conviction in 2017. Incarcerated in a high-security prison in the city of Guayaquil, he launched an appeal for help to Mexico’s left-wing presidents on Thursday. , Brazil and Colombia. “I am in the worst prison in Ecuador and on hunger strike. Help me “wrote Mr. Glas in a handwritten letter cited by Agence France-Presse.

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