Ecuador’s presidential candidate Yaku Pérez supported coups in Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. His US-backed party Pachakutik and supposedly “left-wing” environmentalist campaign is being promoted by right-wing corporate lobbyists.
by Ben Norton
Part 5 - Non-Indigenous anti-Correa activist from Indigenous party spreads disinformation against Julian Assange
One of the co-founders of Pachakutik, who is not indigenous, Fernando Villavicencio, played a major but under-acknowledged role in the Russiagate conspiracy that consumed official Washington during the Trump era.
Villavicencio is an Ecuadorian opposition activist and journalist who dedicated years of his life to destroying Rafael Correa. Besides his work with Pachakutik, Villavicencio established an anti-Correa media outlet to spread disinformation against the leftist president.
Villavicencio hated Correa so much that he publicly called for the United States to impose sanctions on Ecuador to punish his government, and said he would lobby the US Senate to do so. (This led Correa to dub Villavicencio a “traitor.”)
In 2018, Villavicencio went on to co-author a highly dubious report in the major British newspaper The Guardian, alongside its Russiagate-promoting reporters Luke Harding and Dan Collyns, accusing WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange of holding secret meetings with Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
WikiLeaks strongly denied the report, calling it a complete fabrication and launching a legal fund to sue The Guardian over the story.
The Guardian removed Villavicencio’s byline from the article, even as the Ecuadorian activist boasted on Twitter that he had been a co-author and the apparent source of the questionable claims.
Villavicencio also runs a website that publishes constant questionable materials demonizing Correa and WikiLeaks. He calls it La Fuente – Periodismo de Investigación, or The Source – Investigative Journalism.
This publication appears to be funded by the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA front founded by the Ronald Reagan administration to push regime-change in foreign socialist countries.
In its database, the NED has listed annual $65,000 grants for a media outlet in Ecuador that is “Promoting Investigating Journalism,” using a description that is almost identical to the about page on Villavicencio’s website La Fuente.
Villavicencio frequently faced legal troubles when Correa was president. He and Pachakutik National Assembly member Cléver Jiménez, for whom Villavicencio served as an advisor, were accused of helping to hack Correa’s emails and then publishing them to hurt the Ecuadorian president — charges they denied.
Correa took Villavicencio and Jiménez to court for spreading false, defamatory claims about him and accusing the president of “genocide” and “crimes against humanity” for quelling the September 30, 2010 coup attempt.
Yaku Peréz helped organized public demonstrations in support of Villavicencio and Jiménez. Pérez condemned Correa as a “caudillo” over the case, and in 2017 held a protest outside of the appeals court, which he called a “court of injustice.”
Villavicencio went on to leave Pachakutik in 2017. In the 2021 election, he was a National Assembly candidate running with the center-left Socialist Party of Ecuador, another fringe anti-Correa group that officially broke all ties with Marxism, calling itself social democratic, and has often found itself in alliance with the right-wing.