On Wednesday, November 7, former President Rafael Correa was ordered to stand trial due to his alleged involvement in the 2012 kidnapping attempt of a member of congress and the opposition party, which occurred while Correa was in office. Correa, suspected of having ordered the crime, was also ordered to turn himself in for pre-trial detention. However, he has been living abroad in Belgium since leaving power in 2017 and is not expected to voluntarily return to Ecuador. Back in June, the National Court of Justice (Corte Nacional de Justicia; CNJ) ordered Correa to report to a court in the capital Quito every two weeks beginning on July 2; Correa has ignored the ruling and was consequently declared a fugitive November 7.
It is unlikely that the trial will take place in the near-term, as Correa cannot be tried in absentia. Nevertheless, protests by his supporters and opponents are possible in the coming days and weeks, notably in Quito.
Correa had previously been linked to corruption scandals related to the energy multinationals Odebrecht and PetroChina, although formal charges were never filed. However, Ecuador’s former Vice President Jorge Glas was sentenced to six years in prison in December 2017, charged with accepting bribes while serving under Correa in connection with the Odebrecht scandal.
Individuals in Ecuador are advised to keep abreast of the situation and avoid all protests as a precaution.