Statement on the Judicial Persecution of Ricardo Patiño

The pre-trial arrest warrant issued against former Ecuadorian minister Ricardo Patiño is the latest case of politically-motivated judicial persecution in Ecuador.

Patiño, who was minister of defense, the economy and foreign relations under former president Rafael Correa, has been charged with the “crime” of “incitement” based on a speech he gave at an internal meeting of his political party in October 2018 in which he called for “combative resistance” against the current Government of Lenin Moreno.

Mr. Patiño did not call for the use of violence and stated that “we are not saying that we are going to resort to violence,” nor did any violence take place following his speech.

The accusation presented by Ecuador’s Attorney General and the judge’s issuance of a pre-trial arrest warrant against Mr. Patiño is outrageous, particularly given the fact that inflammatory political rhetoric by rightwing figures has been commonplace in Ecuador without ever resulting in judicial proceedings much less in pre-trial arrest warrants. Moreover, the “right to resistance” is enshrined in the Ecuadorian Constitution.

DSA considers that the arrest warrant against Mr. Patiño is a clear case of political persecution against one of the principal voices of opposition to the increasingly autocratic government of President Moreno.

In recent months, key leaders of the opposition in Ecuador, including former President Correa, have become victims of persecution through legal procedures that have resulted in unjustified pre-trial arrest warrants.

These and other arbitrary measures serve to quash political dissent as Moreno dismantles the progressive economic policies and programs of his predecessor  and deepens relations with the Trump administration, as exemplified by his decision to have WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange forcibly removed from Ecuador’s embassy in London shortly before his April visit to Washington, DC.