One of President Correa’s closest allies, Ricardo Patino Aroca has survived staying in power in spite of being the star player in various acts of corruption. Patino debuted as Minister of Economics and Finance at the beginning of the regime in 2007 and was involved in the so called “Pativideos” case, recordings made by his advisor Quinto Pazmino where Patino meets with speculators of the foreign debt and negotiates the interest payments of the Global Bonds under the guise of wanting to detect how foreign debt was negotiated and to see if they would make an indecent proposal.

Patino was also on the verge of prosecution for embezzlement, misappropriation of funds and to have instigated an onerous financial fraud but, the political pressure from Carondolet were strong enough to save him. . The Wiki leaks cable 109333 dated May 22, 2007 revealed that the State Department of the US had its own version as to what had occurred “the Ecuadorean government was manipulating the bond market”.

Patino was later recycled and the government created a budget just for him; the  Ministry of the Coast, where political clients were developed rather than governmental attention being paid to the necessities of the Ecuadorean coast.

In January 2010, Patino was recycled once again, this time as Minister of Foreign Relations and Human Mobility. Two years later, Patino was involved in a narcotics case called “narcovalia” there were 40 kilos of liquid cocaine sent from Ecuador to Italy as part of the diplomatic correspondence pouch belonging to the Ecuadorean Minister of Foreign Relations.

The drugs were camouflaged on the inside of some promotional glasses of the cartoon “Ruga la Tortuga”, that was supposedly going to put on a theatrical act to promote tourism to Ecuador with sponsorship from the budget managed by Patino. In Italy, the Italian police arrested various Ecuadoreans responsible for the illicit act but, in Ecuador the Prosecution protected the masterminds, accomplices and accessories blaming the narcotics canine patrol for not detecting the drugs.

Patino counter attacked and blamed the press for the media lynching and fought with CNN.  Finally, the party’s assemblymen impeded Patino from answering questions before the legislative branch and the President came out publicly to support Patino arguing it was a dirty trick by the opposition and that it happens often, as it did with a plane from the US that traveled to and from Argentina.

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