Turn of the defense in the preparatory hearing of the trial for the Balda case. Caupolicán Ochoa, Rafael Correa’s lawyer, went on for more than three hours in his effort to discredit the conviction elements of the Prosecutor’s Office, lost his voice, pleaded for a recess, returned well for lunch and kept talking. At the close of this edition I continued to use the floor. Then Diego Chimbo, the attorney for agents Luis Chicaiza and Diana Falcón, will have done the same. The decision is in the hands of Judge Daniella Camacho. The fate of the former president of the Republic is about to be resolved.
A quiet and uneventful day after the scandal of the day before, when it was revealed that Assemblywoman Sofía Espín and lawyer Yadira Cadena, of Ochoa’s legal team, visited Falcón in the jail with the presumed purpose of pressuring him to change his testimony, that directly involves Correa in the kidnapping of Fernando Balda. Cadena quietly took his place at the table of the defenders and everyone behaved as if nothing had happened here. Espin did not show his face. Only the correístas Ricardo Patiño and Virgilio Hernández attended the audience, in which they appear to play a role that oscillates between that of simple supporters and that of defense assistants, in whose reserved space they enter and leave without asking permission.
As for Balda, this time followed the example of his counterpart and came accompanied by a team of own observers among which stands out Patricio Zuquilanda, the former Chancellor of Lucio Gutiérrez and figure of his party, Patriotic Society. Along with him, a group of five or six well-dressed observers occupied the front row.
Caupolican Ochoa is not a passionate speaker. Its correct syntax adorned with archaisms and rhetorical turns does not manage to communicate emotion even in the moments of greatest substance. That is due, in large part, to the obscurity of their arguments. However, he did not lack humor when mocking the thesis of “psychic influence” that, according to the prosecutor Paúl Pérez Reina, former President Correa exercised over the material authors of the kidnapping. According to Ochoa, the figure of “psychic influence” now replaces that of “mediate responsibility” which, at the beginning of the process, was imputed to the defendant.
If the elements of conviction exposed in the previous hearing by the prosecutor and by Balda’s private attorney, Felipe Rodríguez, were overwhelming for the viewer, the evidence of defense presented yesterday by Ochoa seemed rather convoluted. He started by expressing surprise at the fact that none of the prosecutor’s indications are concerned with establishing the material proof of the crime; however, from then on, everything he said took for granted the commitment of it. He concentrated on convincing the judge about the falsehood of the anticipated testimonies collected to date although Daniella Camacho herself pointed out that she, in this instance, does not have a say in this regard. Finally, he made a confusion with the dates and the names of the operatives organized around Balda.
Of all this, what was clear is that there was covert activity of the Ecuadorian Intelligence in Colombia, even to follow the former president Álvaro Uribe (as a consequence of the bombing of Angostura, Ochoa justified) and Balda himself (to check his immigration status, according to the lawyer).
The defense tests
The lawyer Fausto Jarrín presented them: certificates of migratory movements of the agents Chicaiza and Falcón; measures of the Colombian justice that establish the lack of elements to link to Ecuadorian authorities; an office of Alexis Mera to Chicaiza in which the President disengages from covert operations; bank certificates and others that deny the payment of travel expenses … (I)