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News > Ecuador

Ecuador: Ex-Health Minister Fled to the US Upon Quitting Office

  • Former Health Minister Juan Carlos  Zevallos, Quito, Ecuador, 2021.

    Former Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos, Quito, Ecuador, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @cavalfm

Published 1 March 2021

Juan Carlos Zevallos left his country without being accountable to the judicial authorities.

Ecuador's former Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos this weekend fled the country towards the U.S. shortly after resigning from office over an irregular vaccination scandal.


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Local outlets, which released images of Zevallos' alleged arrival at Miami International Airport, assured he escaped despite having five complaints against him. 

"The Attorney General's Office should have acted quickly to prevent an escape," Ecuador's Popular Legal Action Representative Santiago Machuca stated and added that the Institution could have placed legal restrictions against Zevallos.

"Neither his resignation nor his departure from the country will stop a possible criminal prosecution. If Justice authorities find sufficient elements, they could request a hearing against Zevallos," Machuca said.

On January 28, the Attorney General's Office opened an investigation against Zevallos for the possible crime of influence peddling. 

This occurred shortly after his mother and other family members were secretly vaccinated in a private nursing home on the first day of the campaign. "I allowed it because I am the Health Minister, a doctor, and a son," he admitted then.

In recent days, local outlets revealed that a group of right-wing academics,  politicians, journalists, and sports leaders were also irregularly vaccinated. 

As of Monday morning, Ecuador had recorded 286,155 COVID-19 cases and 15,811 deaths. The mishandling of the epidemiological crisis caused the popularity of President Lenin Moreno to drop to 7 percent.

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