"In 2018, [US Vice President] Mike Pence visited Ecuador, and he and Moreno agreed on three things. Isolate Venezuela, which Moreno did with great enthusiasm. Drop a case against Chevron, which he gladly did as well. And hand over Assange", Correa said.
The ex-president suggested that WikiLeaks’ decision to publish materials related to the so-called INA Papers leak, which sparked a corruption scandal around Moreno and his family, was "the latest straw" in the relations between Assange and Quito. Notable, WikiLeaks has noted it had not been behind the leak itself.
The former president recalled that back in May 2017, when Paul Manafort, then the head of US President Donald Trump’s campaign, traveled to Ecuador, Moreno offered him to hand over Assange "in exchange for financial enrichment from the US".
Correa characterized Moreno’s decision to hand out Assange as selling the activist’s head to the United States, where he is likely to face death penalty.
"It was not Rafael Correa, who gave asylum to Julian Assange. It was the state of Ecuador. And the state of Ecuador had to protect the person it pledged to protect according to international law and its national pride. Instead they gave him up, allowed the British police to enter our embassy […] This is unheard of. These actions cannot leave one not outraged", Correa insisted, noting that this move violated the constitution of Ecuador.
Since coming to power 2017, Moreno has repeatedly expressed discomfort over Assange’s stay in the embassy. The president said on Thursday that his decision to terminate Assange’s asylum had been caused by alleged violation of international laws and internal protocols of stay by the activist.