Spy-Camera Allegation Sure to Heat Up Ecuador Presidents' Feud

  • Moreno says predecessor Correa planted camera in office wall
  • Correa denies allegation of hidden camera, remote monitoring

The escalating public feud between between Ecuador’s president and his predecessor took an unexpected turn when Lenin Moreno accused Rafael Correa of spying on him through a camera planted in a wall of the presidential office. Correa denied the allegations.

“This is a criminal violation of privacy,” President Moreno told his cabinet Friday. "I’m extremely angry and will start a rather strong investigation” of why former President Correa failed to inform him about the camera that had been installed seven or eight years ago.

Lenin Moreno celebrates his electorial victory earlier this year.

Moreno went on to allege that Correa was able to monitor a video feed of the president’s office remotely via his cellphone. Correa via his Twitter account @MashiRafael issued a denial.

“A hidden camera run through my cell!” Correa said on Twitter. “If President Moreno proves this, may I go to jail. If not, may he resign the presidency, not even for being bad, but for being ridiculous."

The camera was found Sept. 14 when a security detail found a "warm spot in the wall, noticing that the camera was working," Moreno said. Moreno narrowly won election on April 2 for Alianza Pais, the political movement which both presidents represent. Moreno entered politics as Correa’s vice president and served in that capacity from 2007 to 2013.

The spy-cam scandal is the latest twist in an ongoing rift between the two leaders after the May 24 inauguration. Moreno’s political pragmatism and hands-off approach to an investigation into corruption under Correa, including Jorge Glas, the serving vice president and long-time friend of Correa, has led to a deep rift.

During a decade in power, Correa rode to widespread popularity on the back of $300 billion spent on on roads, hospitals, social spending, and hiring civil servants yet recent opinion polls put Moreno’s approval ratings at over 80 percent.

Last month, Moreno stripped Glas of his political powers after the vice president sided with Correa, who has branded Moreno as “mediocre” and “disloyal.” Glas faces trial for alleged criminal conspiracy linked to bribery in Ecuador by Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht. Glas has denied committing any crime.

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