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Fugitive former minister left the Argentine Embassy in Quito and took refuge in the Caracas headquarters

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A former minister convicted of corruption in Ecuador fled to Venezuela after escaping from the Argentine embassy in quit, where she was a refugee for more than two years with her minor son, the Argentine Foreign Ministry reported on Tuesday.

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“At 11 a.m. (local time) today, Tuesday, March 14, Ms. Maria de los Angeles Duarte Pesantes made present at the headquarters of the Argentine Embassy in Caracas and was attended by Ambassador Oscar Laborde, and two officials from the diplomatic headquarters,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a bulletin.

The head of Transportation and Public Works during the governments of then-President Rafael Correa (2007-2017) reported that she was in Caracas, but omitted to say how she got there or if she is accompanied by her son, the Foreign Ministry text added.

on your side, andThe Ecuadorian government questioned Argentina for “inconsistencies” in its explanations about how Duarte escaped and for refusing to deliver videos from security cameras from the embassy to clarify the leak, according to a statement.

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duarte pesantes y correa.jpg

Former Minister Duarte Pesantes with the former President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa.

Who is María de los Ángeles Duarte Interns

Sentenced to eight years in prison for the crime of bribery, which is imprescriptible in Ecuador, the former official remained in the Argentine diplomatic residence in Quito since August 2020.

That country had offered him asylum but the Ecuadorian government denied him a safe-conduct to leave in December.

The former official was sentenced along with former socialist president Correa -asylee in Belgium- and other former government officials for being part of a criminal structure that requested bribes for almost 7.6 million dollars from companies in exchange for contracts with the State, according to the Prosecutor’s Office.

Correa and former collaborators reject the court rulings and consider them a political persecution of the current right-wing government.

Duarte “made inquiries about the documentation that our country could extend to him. Likewise, he stated that he had no intention of traveling to Argentina in the short term,” said the Foreign Ministry of that country.

What did the former official say?

On his Twitter account, Duarte Pesantes thanked Argentina and denounced the governments of Lenín Moreno and Guillermo Lasso. Along the same lines, he told why he ran away.

“I decided to leave the embassy because by denying me the safe conduct that corresponded to me as a political refugee, in accordance with the Caracas convention of 1954 and preventing my safe exit (safe conduct), the Ecuadorian government made me its political hostage. I had to leave at risk , but I exercised the right that assisted me,” he added.

Ambassador Gabriel Fuks met on Tuesday with Ecuadorian Vice Foreign Minister Luis Vayas, who expressed Quito’s “strong annoyance” over Duarte’s escape.

“As it is a diplomatic jurisdiction, the Ecuadorian police do not have access to the property of more than 3 hectares of the Argentine mission, which has private security,” added the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry.

The head of Argentine diplomacy, Santiago Cafiero, told his counterpart, Juan Carlos Holguín, on Monday that Duarte “escaped” from the legation “without the knowledge of the embassy staff.”

Source: Ambito

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