Former Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno announced on Tuesday that he is considering the possibility of seeking asylum in Paraguay. This comes after Ecuador’s justice system ordered him to appear every two weeks while being prosecuted for alleged bribery.
Moreno, who preceded Guillermo Lasso in office and governed Ecuador from 2017 to 2021, is currently based in Paraguay, where he serves as the Organization of American States (OAS) commissioner for disability issues. He has stated that continually travelling to his home country to appear in court could pose a risk to his health.
Specifically, the former Ecuadorian president recalled that on several occasions he has had to be hospitalized on emergency due to internal bleeding caused by sudden movements in his wheelchair.
Moreno is accused of allegedly benefiting from bribes paid by the Chinese state-owned company Sinohydro to obtain contracts for the construction of Ecuador’s largest hydroelectric plant.
Moreno’s legal situation has been controversial in Ecuador since he was accused of corruption. Earlier this year, the former president left the country after handing over power to Lasso. Since then, he has remained in Paraguay, where he serves as an OAS commissioner.
The decision by Moreno to seek asylum in Paraguay has sparked debate in Ecuador, where some have questioned his motivation. Some critics suggest that Moreno is attempting to evade justice and avoid being prosecuted for corruption. Others, however, have argued that Moreno’s decision to seek asylum is a reasonable measure to protect his health and avoid being subject to political persecution.
In any case, Moreno’s situation reflects the challenges faced by political leaders throughout Latin America at a time when corruption remains a serious problem in the region. Often, leaders who have been embroiled in corruption scandals face intense public scrutiny and can be subject to prolonged and controversial legal proceedings.
In this context, some analysts have argued that it is necessary to strengthen the judicial and political systems of the region in order to effectively address corruption and promote transparency and accountability. This could include measures such as judicial reform, promoting the independence of the media and civil society, and fighting impunity in corruption cases.
As Latin America continues to face these challenges, Moreno’s situation in Paraguay is a reminder of the importance of effectively addressing corruption and protecting the rights and health of all citizens, including political leaders.