First they came for Lula and Kirchner, now it’s Correa

Rafeal Correa

By Bridget Anderson

On 3 July the National Court of Justice of Ecuador ordered the preventive detention of the country’s former President Rafeal Correa and requested that he is extradited from Belgium where he is currently living.

The proposal to arrest Correa is the latest in a string of legal attacks against the most important leaders of Latin America’s ‘pink tide’. Across the region bourgeois courts, backed up by the US, are attempting to decapitate the left by imprisoning its most authoritative, experienced and popular figures.

Correa is being accused of involvement in a kidnapping – which he strongly denies and points out that there is ‘not a single piece of evidence.’ Earlier this year the current President Moreno, who is politically aligned with US policy, won a referendum to bar Correa from running in 2021 by imposing retrospective term limits.

The right wing may have won office in a number of countries, but faces mass opposition from the left, which it is trying to repress. The US works closely with the judiciaries in the region, as they are an un-elected branch of government, representing rich white interests, so are conservative and anti-democratic. A term being used to describe these attacks is ‘lawfare‘.

Kirchner and Lula

In Brazil courts have convicted former left President Lula on corruption charges and sentenced him to 12 years in prison. Lula continues to be ahead of all rivals in the opinion polls, so the aim is to keep Lula off the ballot paper for this October’s Presidential election.

In Argentina former left President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has been charged with treason, a crime punishable by 10 to 25 years in prison. The right wing government, in office since 2015, was already unpopular before it signed a bailout deal with the IMF and its support is expected to further decline. Kirchner would be a strong candidate for next year’s Presidential election, so the aim is to block her from running.

The right wing governments in Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina are pursuing unpopular policies, so are facing increasing opposition from the left. The right has concluded it needs to rig forthcoming Presidential elections if it is to hold on to office. This will be a huge struggle as the region’s right and left wings both have deep social roots and mass support.

Socialists and progressives across the world should rally in defence of Correa, Lula and Kirchner.