Ecuadorean President, Lenin Moreno is in a difficult situation after an audio recording with controversial statements was leaked by La Posta, a local web media outlet. On the audio released on Tuesday, President Moreno said that he was "very sorry for all those deaths that may come after this situation, but I think we are clear that we can not have a State cornered," regarding the El Comercio journalist team that was kidnapped and killed by the Oliver Sinisterra front in Colombia.
Ecuador: Murdered El Comercio Staff Laid to Rest in Quito
"I believe that the elementary principle of dignity of a people, of the citizenship, of a Government and of a State goes well beyond the life of one or a few or of some people. With all respect for their lives, but I believe that the dignity of a State goes well beyond that. Please, I'm going to ask you to give your opinions," said the president of Ecuador in the recording in which the context or the situation is not clear.
Relatives of journalist Javier Ortega, photographer Paúl Rivas and driver Efraín Segarra, kidnapped on September 26 in the Ecuadorian town of Mataje, demand that the president clarify the statements. "We ask President Lenin Moreno and the Cosepe (Public Safety Council of the State) authorities to clarify the date and context of these statements. It is essential for families," they said in a statement.
"An audio of President # LenínMoreno, obtained by #laPosta, calls into question the government's version of having done "everything possible" for the lives of our colleagues at #ElComercio."
The official response to the audio leak occured on Wednesday, Dec. 19th, in the form of a public statement released by the Communications National Secretary (Secom). The response clarified that the "leaked" audio corresponds to Session 20 of Cosepe, held on April 17, 2018, a few days after the El Comercio journalist team was killed.
The Secom statement ensures that the auditory material is out of context and warns that the disclosure of confidential information could be classified as "an attack to the internal and external security of the State." It also stated that "the position of the President of the Republic and the Government - despite all the risks involved - was to seek a negotiated solution to the kidnapping of journalists."
According to the Ecuadorean government's statement "in order for citizens to have full knowledge of the subject, the President of the Republic has ordered the declassification of his speech in the session that has been published with cuts and out of context."
"OFFICIAL COMMUNIQUÉ | About the note published by the digital medium La Posta, under the title of 'Special Report.'"
On December 7, the national director against organized crime of the Attorney General's Office of Colombia, Claudia Carrasquilla, announced that Moreno's government refused to negotiate the rescue of the journalistic team. "In the interrogations that we have already received from the members of the criminal organization, they have clearly stated that the death ensued because of the refusal of the Ecuadorian Government to exchange three prisoners for the kidnapped journalists," said Carrasquilla.