[WSMDiscuss] Fwd: In Ecuador's election, will Correa ally Andrés Arauz win?
jai.sen at cacim.net
Sun Feb 7 17:17:24 CET 2021
Sunday, February 7, 2021
Abya Yala in movement…, Ecuador in movement…, The Left in movement…, Movements in movement…, Politics in movement…
[Further to my earlier post (‘Yaku Pérez : The Indigenous Water Defender Who Might be Ecuador’s Next President’, February 4 2021, at https://writersrebel.com/yaku-perez-the-indigenous-water-defender-who-might-be-ecuadors-next-president/ <https://writersrebel.com/yaku-perez-the-indigenous-water-defender-who-might-be-ecuadors-next-president/>), here are three articles on the presidential elections taking place in Ecuador today, the first an interview with the third candidate, from the Left, Correa ally Andrés Arauz, and two independent analyses :
In Ecuador's election, will Correa ally Andrés Arauz win ?
[Thanks as always for this compilation, Patrick
> Begin forwarded message:
> From: Patrick Bond <pbond at mail.ngo.za>
> Subject: [Debate-List] (Fwd) In Ecuador's election, will Correa ally Andrés Arauz win?
> Date: February 7, 2021 at 9:26:33 AM EST
> To: DEBATE <debate-list at fahamu.org>
Ecuador’s Left Is Back
By Denis Rogatyuk, Tribune Magazine <https://tribunemag.co.uk/2021/02/ecuadors-left-is-back-and-on-the-verge-of-power>.
February 6, 2021
And on the verge of power.
Four years after Rafael Correa’s successor Lenín Moreno abandoned the Citizen Revolution for neoliberalism, Ecuador’s Left is back. We speak to presidential frontrunner Andrés Arauz ahead of this weekend’s election.
The race for the Presidency of Ecuador is entering its final stages, and the desperation on the part of both the neoliberal government of Lenín Moreno and the country’s right-wing political parties to avoid the victory of the Left has reached fever pitch.
Since the beginning of the right-wing turn by Moreno’s government and the political persecution of the key leaders of the Citizen Revolution—most notably Rafael Correa and Jorge Glas—countless attempts have been made to prevent the participation in the elections of either Correa himself or any other political leader affiliated to his movement.
This has included preventing the registration of the Citizen Revolution Movement as a political party, a ban on the Fuerza Compromiso Social (FCS) electoral movement used by them to run in the 2019 local elections, a ban on Correa running as a vice-presidential candidate, and several attempts to prevent the registration of the Andrés Arauz-Carlos Rabascall presidential ticket. Although these attempts at blocking the re-emergence of the Left in the political landscape ultimately failed, the electoral process itself has come under threat.
The desperation on the part of the elites can be contrasted with the desperation of the ordinary Ecuadorians. The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed nearly 15,000 lives, the unemployment level has hit double digits for the first time in almost two decades, and IMF-sanctioned austerity continues to be implemented. In this environment, the workers of Ecuador are once again embracing revolutionary change.
Andrés Arauz, an economist and the former minister in the government of Rafael Correa, is seen as the favourite to win the Ecudorian election, with the majority of polls <https://twitter.com/alfreserramanci/status/1354936726754619401?s=20> from the period of December 2020 to January 2021 giving him between 35 and 42 percent of the valid votes. That places him ahead of the Right’s preferred candidate, Guillermo Lasso—also the country’s most notorious corporate banker—who has 18-36 percent.
Andrés Arauz sat down with Denis Rogatyuk of Jacobin América Latina <https://jacobinlat.com/> to discuss his candidacy – and what Ecuador and the world could expect from his future presidency.
Denis Rogatyuk (DR): What measures are you planning to implement to resolve the issue of unemployment and begin the economic recovery in Ecuador?
Andrés Arauz (AA): Our main priority, in the short term, is economic recovery. This also depends on the recovery of the healthcare system.
We can do many things, but economic activity needs to resume. That is why we consider acquiring vaccines a priority. We know that until vaccination is implemented in Ecuador, until work is generated, until the state recovers its strength to resume public works, we need to give immediate help. We have proposed a programme to give $1000 to a million Ecuadorian families in our first week of government.
In this way, we boost the families’ economy (‘la economia familiar‘). The money can cover debt repayments, buy medicines, food, and clothing, and if there is a little left over, it can even be used to start a small business venture. With this, we reactivate the entire national economy: the mother or father of the family goes out to the market, to the store, to the commercial premises, and the money circulation increases.
DR: How do you plan on renegotiating both the debt and the terms with the IMF?
AA: We are first going to use the resources that already exist in Ecuador, but that this government has allowed to be taken out of the country and stored abroad, in Miami, in Panama, in Switzerland. That money has to return to Ecuador to finance our development – not the war adventures of other countries, but our interests.
After that, we will establish dignified conditions with our sovereign economic plan that seeks economic growth, and that seeks to solve the problem of unemployment by generating work and restarting public works and services. If the IMF wants to help us with that Ecuadorian plan, they are welcome – but as the agreement with the IMF is now, we are not going to comply with it.
DR: What will be the great project in Ecuador that goes down in history bearing the stamp of Andrés Arauz?
AA: The great challenge we have is to successfully emerge from the pandemic. Right now, we cannot plan for great milestones, because we have to get out of our crisis first. To be honest with you, the great achievement that we are going to have in our government is to show that there can be a government that respects the dignity of the people, that does not take advantage of the crisis to give more power to the rich, and that does not take advantage of the crisis to be able to kick the people. On the contrary – we are going to show that there can be a government of the people.
When we get out of the pandemic, the first years, maybe the first two years, will be centred on recovering the future and putting education at the forefront of society’s transformation. My dream is that we can have the best educational system in Latin America. We will use science, technology, innovation, knowledge, universal connectivity, and the internet to show that young Ecuadorians are the protagonists of their society, and can bring about the change that our country requires.
DR: Do you feel part of the original peoples of Ecuador? How do you feel about the Sumak Kawsay ideology and how do you hope to apply its principles in your future government?
AA: I feel part of the Plurinational and Intercultural State that is constitutionally established in Ecuador. All of our Latin America is Plurinational and Intercultural, and it’s important that we learn to recognise what the constitution says. It’s important that we recognise the diverse actors that are part of our culture. We have to get out of the colonial or neocolonial logic and begin to recognise our diversity as our main source of wealth.
I have been close to the Indigenous peoples, but also with the Afro communities—the Montubio people of Ecuador—because we need to make a call for unity now. This country can no longer bear fights between politicians, and it can no longer bear to live with the repressive policies that caused so much pain and damage to our society, as in October 2019.
We need to reconcile as a country on the basis of a future project such as the Constitution of Good Living. That utopia that should mark the field for all of Ecuador, regardless of the ethnicity or nationality to which we belong. We need to build that unity.
DR: How do you see the future of the relationship with the Confederation of the Indigenous Nations of Ecuador (CONAIE) and other indigenous movements?
AA: I see excellent opportunities to build and implement the Plurinational and Intercultural State, with the CONAIE, but also with each of the Indigenous peoples and nationalities of our country, with the bases of Indigenous organizations, and with the communities that are in each of Ecuador’s territories. We have to advance in terms of irrigation, productive projects, credit, support in savings and credit for the Indigenous cooperatives of our country, in terms of being able to have an educational system of the highest quality that preserves our ancestral languages.
We are going to declare the ancestral languages in a state of emergency on the first day of our government, which helps to preserve an Indigenous justice system – not only for political acts, but also to help administrative procedure in our communities, so that individuals don’t have to travel to the capital to solve their problems.
The implementation of the Plurinational and Intercultural State will be administered by a Plurinational and Intercultural team.
DR: Do you think that the electoral sabotage against your candidacy has weakened your campaign? If so, in what way?
AA: They have tried to weaken the strength of our campaign among the Ecuadorian people, but it has not worked. The Ecuadorian people have immense solidarity and sympathy with our proposals, which represent them in the majority. Our identity is first patriotic, then democratic, and then progressive – so those who tried to set the traps did nothing but project us further into the hearts of Ecuadorians.
DR: But the Ecuadorian people have a rebellious heart, too.
AA: Of course, and it’s a justified rebellion after centuries of oppression, and years of a nefarious government that has mistreated us. I do want to thank the Moreno government for one thing, though – he reawakened that energy, that youthful outrage that was hidden for several years and that re-emerged in October of last year. Now there’s much more critical awareness of the role of politics in our society, and that will allow us, together with the youth, together with the people, together with the women of our country, and together with the workers, to recover the future with dignity.
DR: The current Minister of Health got the vaccine even before the medics on the frontlines of the pandemic. What do you think about that?
AA: It’s outrageous – not only that they have bought only eight thousand doses, which are four thousand vaccines, but that they did not dedicate it to frontline personnel. Instead, the government passed it to their friends and their relatives, scamming the Ecuadorian people. That’s unforgivable. I believe that they will face harsh consequences for cheating the Ecuadorian people, and for the Minister of Health, for having violated his own oath as a doctor.
But I think we need to advance considerably in the matter of vaccinations. Our priority is that the Ecuadorian people have the vaccine first—our health personnel, our soldiers, our policemen, and our teachers—so that the youth, the children, can return to school. In societies like ours, we also need to rebalance the roles of men and women. Women, and mothers particularly, have been hit the hardest by the effects of the pandemic, because they have had to become teachers, nurses, caregivers, rectors, janitors, and administrators, in addition to their professional and household work.
So the vaccine is essential. We need to diversify the supply of the vaccine, and we have made initial efforts with the Oxford vaccine, produced in Argentina, so that it can reach the entire Ecuadorian territory.
DR: How do you see the future of Ecuador in Latin America and the multipolar world? What kind of a relationship do you hope to build with China and the new administration in the United States?
AA: We want to continue building diversified relationships with all countries of the world. We want to build exchanges in terms of educational experiences, in terms of science and technology, in terms of inventions and innovation, in order to contribute to Ecuadorian development. Our principles will be peace, democracy, and development. These are the same principles on which the United Nations were built.
We believe in multilateralism. We are against the multipolar world. We need to move away from the hegemony of the single country, especially in the Western Hemisphere. We will continue to build relationships with our friends in China, and in Asia in general. We want to have good relations with all countries of the world – with US, Europe, Canada, Eurasian countries, and Russia as well.
Our priority, though, is Latin American integration. We need our own bloc [of countries] – the Latin American bloc. I will personally be in charge of reconstituting regional integration in our country.
DR: During Rafael Correa’s administration, Ecuador was considered the capital of South America, because you have the main office of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
AA: Lenin Moreno decided to resign Ecuador’s status as the capital of South America – something unforgivable. We hope to return to UNASUR. We hope to improve it, too, so it is not only a project of integration among governments or politicians, but also of integration among people. That means making an effort to include a programme of educational exchange, like the European Erasmus program, where students across Latin American countries can study one semester abroad in any other country of the region. That will help to build relationships among Latin Americans that will last for decades.
DR: One of the main criticisms we have heard from the opposition is that you are a clone of Rafael Correa. What do you think about these comparisons?
AA: Rafael is a friend, a colleague, a co-leader. He and I agree politically on the needs of our country, but we are the improved version. I am of a new generation. We have that principle of generational renewal: we are going to inject energy, youth, innovation, creativity, and contemporaneity into the political proposal of the Citizen Revolution.
DR: If elected, who will govern – you or Correa?
AA: On 24 May, when I swear to respect and enforce the Constitution of Ecuador, I will adhere to what the Constitution says, which is that the one who makes the decisions is the President of the Republic. The President of the Republic will be me; Rafael will be one of my main advisers.
Ecuador to vote amid economic crisis and widespread discontent <https://click.everyaction.com/k/24742684/271640559/-590594055?nvep=ew0KICAiVGVuYW50VXJpIjogIm5ncHZhbjovL3Zhbi9FQS9FQTAwMy8xLzc1Mzc2IiwNCiAgIkRpc3RyaWJ1dGlvblVuaXF1ZUlkIjogIjkzMjg2NjY0LTRhNjktZWIxMS05ODg5LTAwMTU1ZDQzYzk5MiIsDQogICJFbWFpbEFkZHJlc3MiOiAicGJvbmRAbWFpbC5uZ28uemEiDQp9&hmac=p3V5rWo5SgvnEssZYgFKOmr2bFjXBEqCKg4MqCkXifc=&emci=2317b8d1-4569-eb11-9889-00155d43c992&emdi=93286664-4a69-eb11-9889-00155d43c992&ceid=4606052>
Kimberley Brown. Al Jazeera. February 5, 2021
Quito, Ecuador – Ecuadorians will head to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president amid widespread discontent over the country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, an economic crisis worsened by COVID-19, and several corruption scandals.
Sixteen presidential candidates will be on the ballot, though most have polled under two percent support and are not expected to be major contenders on voting day.
The race is shaping up to be a fight between ex-banker and longtime presidential hopeful Guillermo Lasso, and Andres Arauz, an economist and former head of the central bank, who are leading in most recent polls with around 25 to 30 percent support.
Lasso, with the right-wing Creating Opportunities (CREO) party, has pledged to create jobs through more international investments and oil extraction projects, while Arauz of the Democratic Center party has promised to return to the socialist policies of former President Rafael Correa.
Third in recent polls, at about 10 to 15 percentage points behind the pair, is Yaku Perez of Pachakutik, the party of the country’s Indigenous movement, who is known for his opposition to mining and support for greater environmental protections.
Experts say it is unlikely that anyone will get the 40 percent support and at least a 10-point lead over their opponents that is needed to win the presidency, which means a runoff will be held on April 11 between the top two candidates.
The elections will be monitored by more than 2,500 local and 225 international observers, including the Organization of American States, the European Union, and the Inter-American Union of Electoral Organizations.
Voters will also elect lawmakers to fill 137 seats in the National Assembly.
Whoever wins will need to address several pressing challenges, including widespread public discontent; more than 89 percent of Ecuadorians say the country is on the wrong track, according to a December poll by the Cedatos firm.
“Corruption has been permanent, and scandals have consistently appeared in the media,” said Decio Machado, a political analyst based in Quito, the capital. “People have a lot of distrust in politics today.”
Current President Lenin Moreno, who is not up for re-election, will end his single term in office drastically unpopular. His approval rating has long been hovering around seven percent, down from 77 percent in his first months in office.
Moreno was elected in 2017 as the successor to Correa, who increased public spending, cut ties with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, and endorsed regional integration with other socialist countries in Latin America.
But shortly after he was elected, Moreno changed course and pursued more business-friendly policies, such as cutting taxes for international mining investors and securing loans from the IMF and World Bank to fund the country’s foreign debt and fiscal deficit.
His popularity plummeted in October of 2019 after he tried to pass IMF austerity measures that included cutting public funding and eliminating fuel subsidies that many families depend on. His effort sparked 11 days of violent protests across the country.
Dayana Leon, a political communications consultant based in Quito, said those protests polarised Ecuador, as a large part of the population did not support those demonstrating.
Leon told Al Jazeera the protests, coupled with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, recent corruption scandals and high unemployment, mean many Ecuadorians will “have mixed feelings when voting” – unsure of whether to vote for their preferred candidate or to vote strategically to prevent an undesired outcome.
COVID-19, economic woes
The country has been badly hit by the coronavirus, with hospitals at maximum capacity in Quito and the coastal city of Guayaquil, where healthcare and mortuary services collapsed in April.
Ecuador has reported more than 10,000 coronavirus-related deaths, according to government figures, but experts warn the actual number is likely much higher due to Ecuador’s low rates of testing for COVID-19. It has also recorded more than 251,000 infections.
Corruption scandals have also erupted during the pandemic, as at least nine public hospitals are being investigated for embezzlement.
A network of public officials was recently found selling disability cards – which provide benefits to people with physical disabilities – for inflated prices or using them to import goods with tax exemptions, while Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos is also under scrutiny for giving one of Ecuador’s few COVID-19 vaccine doses to his mother.
Meanwhile, unemployment hit 6.6 percent in September, almost double what it was in December 2019, while poverty levels have increased from 43 to 48.5 percent, according to UNICEF Ecuador. The group also estimates that six out of every 10 households with children are now in extreme poverty without access to education, healthcare, food, jobs or social security.
“With the impact of the pandemic, the situation has worsened notably,” said the analyst, Machado. “The political debate is centred around the economy.”
‘Correismo vs anti-Correismo’
The top presidential candidates have vowed to tackle the economic crisis facing many families.
Arauz, 35, who was director of Ecuador’s central bank under Correa, has promised to bring back economic stability by reimplementing the former president’s socialist policies.
But Correa is a polarising figure in Ecuador.
His supporters remember him for decreasing poverty and increasing spending in public infrastructure during a commodities boom, but his administration was accused of corruption – and Correa himself was charged with violating campaign finance laws, which he continues to fight from his home in Belgium.
“The main electoral debate is between Correismo and anti-Correismo,” said Machado.
Both have strong support across the country, but the current government has been “the best validator of Correa’s politics”, he said. “Many people have this feeling that the past was better; there were more jobs, better purchasing power, the economic crisis was managed in a better way.”
Arauz’s proposals include increasing taxes on transnational companies, reinstating public spending, strengthening the Central Bank, and refusing to comply with IMF austerity measures. He also promised to give $1,000 to one million Ecuadorian families who have suffered during the pandemic to stimulate the local economy.
For his part, Lasso, 65, has promised to crack down on corruption – a nod to Correa and the current Moreno government – and proposed an international anti-corruption commission. This is his third time running for president, including in 2017 when he lost by a narrow margin to Moreno.
Lasso has tried to position himself as distinct from the last two governments, blaming the country’s current economic crisis on the last 14 years of bad governance, said Machado.
In his current campaign, Lasso has promised to cut taxes and create one million jobs by attracting international investment, particularly in oil and mining. He also said he supports flexible work contracts, where wages and hours can be negotiated, to allow employers to hire more workers.
Perez, 51, of Pachakutik, positions himself as part of the “Ecological Left” and is a firm critic of both established right-wing politicians and Correismo. He is also a strong advocate of transitioning into a post-extractive economy and renegotiating the country’s external debt with China and the IMF.
Critics say it is unclear how he will create jobs or a stable national economy without the extractive sector, which accounts for almost nine percent of Ecuador’s GDP.
Carlos Mazabanda, Ecuador field coordinator for environmental group Amazon Watch, said Perez’s anti-mining activism has “played an important role” in defending the environment, but there is concern about whether he could maintain that stance in office in the face of a powerful mining lobby.
But Perez is supported by the many in the Indigenous community, which numbers some 1.1 million people, and environmentalists as he is the only candidate to speak at length about environmental issues and the need to address climate change.
Beyond that, Leon said climate change and human rights were “completely absent” from debates leading up to the vote, with some candidates even showing “total ignorance of international human rights agreements”.
Most candidates said women’s rights were important, but a discussion on reproductive rights – which have come under increasing attention after Argentina legalised abortion in December – was also noticeably missing from the campaign.
A plan to address regional migration, as hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have sought refuge in Ecuador, also remains unclear, as most presidential candidates only spoke about the issue through a public security lens.
People must vote in person, following public health guidelines such as wearing a mask, to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus.
During the 2017 elections, the abstention rate reached 17 percent and Machado said if voting was not mandatory, the abstention rate this year would be “extremely high” this time around, as well. “There is a lot of disbelief felt towards the proposals of politicians in general,” he said.
Ecuador’s Presidential Election Is a Referendum on the Past <https://click.everyaction.com/k/24742685/271640560/1732885157?nvep=ew0KICAiVGVuYW50VXJpIjogIm5ncHZhbjovL3Zhbi9FQS9FQTAwMy8xLzc1Mzc2IiwNCiAgIkRpc3RyaWJ1dGlvblVuaXF1ZUlkIjogIjkzMjg2NjY0LTRhNjktZWIxMS05ODg5LTAwMTU1ZDQzYzk5MiIsDQogICJFbWFpbEFkZHJlc3MiOiAicGJvbmRAbWFpbC5uZ28uemEiDQp9&hmac=p3V5rWo5SgvnEssZYgFKOmr2bFjXBEqCKg4MqCkXifc=&emci=2317b8d1-4569-eb11-9889-00155d43c992&emdi=93286664-4a69-eb11-9889-00155d43c992&ceid=4606052>
José María León Cabrera, Anatoly Kurmanaev and Natalie Kitroeff. New York Times. February 7, 2021
QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador is holding a presidential election on Sunday, but the name on many voters’ lips is not on the ballot.
Here in Ciudad Bicentenario, a neat housing project on the Andean slopes of the capital, Quito, it is on Rafael Correa that most hang their hopes of overcoming the overlapping crises brought on by a pandemic and a recession.
A charismatic former president, Mr. Correa governed during an economic boom in the 2000s that helped many left-wing leaders in Latin America lift millions out of poverty and build a lasting popular following.
The leftist wave has since subsided; most of its leaders were accused of corruption and authoritarian overreach. Mr. Correa himself was convicted of graft, faces another 35 criminal investigations and is barred from running again.
But he, like other powerful leaders of the so-called Pink Wave, continues to loom large over the political landscape, polarizing the country and focusing debate on his legacy rather than on the reality facing Ecuador today.
From exile, Mr. Correa championed the candidacy of Andrés Arauz, 35, a little-known economist, as the standard-bearer of his political movement, known as the Correismo. The backing catapulted Mr. Arauz to the front of the presidential race, although some of his supporters barely know his name.
“I’m voting for my Rafaelito,” said María Obando, a 65-year-old pensioner from Ciudad Bicentenario, using an affectionate diminutive of Mr. Correa’s first name. When reminded that Mr. Correa is not running, she said: “It doesn’t matter, I’ll vote for his guy.”
Mr. Arauz is running against Guillermo Lasso, a former banker; Yaku Pérez, an Indigenous environmental activist; and 13 other candidates.
More than a third of voters say they plan to cast their ballots for Mr. Arauz, putting him about eight percentage points ahead of Mr. Lasso and within striking distance of an outright victory in the first round of voting on Sunday, according to a Jan. 28 polling average compiled by Electoral Calculus, an Ecuadorean research group. (Mr. Arauz could win outright with 40 percent of the vote if he is 10 points ahead of his closest rival.)
Mr. Correa’s enduring appeal could continue a regional trend that has seen recession-fatigued voters in Argentina and Bolivia return to power the parties of leftist populists associated with better days and social spending.
“We, as a political project, want the return of the policies that produced so much well-being,” Mr. Correa said in an interview. He said that he personally told Mr. Arauz he had been chosen as the movement’s candidate and that he stays in “permanent contact” with him — displaying a WhatsApp group that he said includes his protégé as evidence of that connection.
Mr. Correa, the country’s longest-serving president since it emerged from military dictatorship in 1979, earned the allegiance of many by bringing stability to a nation once rife with political and economic turmoil.
He handed some of the country’s oil revenue out in cash grants to the poor, and he built schools, roads and heavily subsidized housing, like the rows of three-story apartment blocks in Ciudad Bicentenario.
But the economy largely ground to a halt after oil prices fell in 2014, and the pandemic tipped stagnation into a crippling crisis. Economic activity shrank by an estimated 9 percent last year, when the coronavirus left hundreds of dead bodies on the streets of Ecuador’s second-largest city, Guayaquil.
The long political shadow cast by Mr. Correa on Ecuador underlines how popular South American leaders continue exerting power long after their time is officially up, often propped up by an enduring following.
Former President Evo Morales of Bolivia, who stepped down under military pressure after seeking a fourth term, has continued picking candidates for his party since returning from exile in November. In Argentina, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner continues to exert influence over her party since returning to office as vice president in 2019.
In neighboring Peru, where presidential elections will be held in April, the daughter of the jailed authoritarian former president Alberto Fujimori is running second in some campaign polls, although the race remains volatile.
And in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, once popular leaders or their protégés have sidestepped free and fair elections altogether to perpetuate their rule.
Mr. Correa’s successor and his former vice president, Lenín Moreno, wants to see Ecuador break that mold, arguing that leaders with too tight a grip on power are unhealthy for democracies.
“The eternalizing of power, unfortunately, leads those who wield it to acquire malice, which in more than one occasion has ended in corruption and even crimes against humanity,” Mr. Moreno said in an interview during his visit to Washington last month. “When your period ends a leader has to say, ‘Right, enough.’”
After winning election in 2017, Mr. Moreno broke with his former ally and radically reversed the nation’s course, abandoning Mr. Correa’s leftist populism and anti-imperialist rhetoric for a conservative economic policy and closer ties to Washington.
Mr. Moreno said he also sought to rebuild the democratic institutions damaged by what he called his predecessor’s disdain for the rules. He oversaw the restructuring of the top court to make it more independent, renegotiated the national debt and stopped official attacks on the news media.
“What they built, unfortunately had lost direction,” Mr. Moreno said, referring to the previous administration.
Mr. Moreno chose not to seek re-election, and reinstated presidential term limits abolished by Mr. Correa. His administration also undertook the corruption investigations that resulted in the former president’s conviction and the jailing of eight of his ministers. But Mr. Moreno’s austerity measures made him highly unpopular, leaving many Ecuadorians clamoring for Mr. Correa’s return.
Mr. Correa said the corruption charges against him were political and called Mr. Moreno “the worst traitor in Ecuador’s history.” He said the economic austerity measures should be scrapped and the top judges installed by Mr. Moreno replaced. The president and the attorney general investigating him, Mr. Correa said, would ultimately end up in jail.
Such all-or-nothing politics reflect the costs of lingering Latin American leaders such as Mr. Correa, said Risa Grais-Targow, an analyst at Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy.
“Everything becomes a referendum on Correa,” she said. “The results are these constant swings back and forth, with leaders changing the system as they see fit before their successors try to undo it.”
These swings undermine economic stability and investor confidence, making it harder for the nation to advance, Ms. Grais-Targow said.
Mr. Correa said he would continue living in Belgium, where he moved with his Belgian wife after leaving office, but defended his enduring political ambitions. He said he would advise Mr. Arauz if he wins office, claiming to be “in perfect synchrony” with the candidate.
“What would be the problem?” Mr. Correa said when asked if he would run for office in the future. “Leaderships are desirable, no country has developed without leadership.”
Political analysts say whoever wins the election will struggle to meet promises of a speedy recovery. The national coffers are empty, and the bulk of the country oil exports go to China as repayment on Chinese loans.
“The situation is not the same, the economy is not the same,” said José Fernández, a pensioner in Ciudad Bicentenario, referring to Mr. Correa’s boom years. “It’s going to be tough.”
Still, he plans to vote for Mr. Arauz, because he offers the biggest hope of repeating Mr. Correa’s economic success.
“Look, if this guy does exactly what Mr. Correa tells him to, he’ll do fine.”
Independent researcher, editor; Senior Fellow at the School of International Development and Globalisation Studies at the University of Ottawa
jai.sen at cacim.net <mailto:jai.sen at cacim.net> & <mailto:jsen at uottawa.ca>jsen at uottawa.ca <mailto:jsen at uottawa.ca>
Now based in Ottawa, Canada, on unsurrendered Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900) and in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325)
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Jai Sen, ed, 2017 – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?. New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press. Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>; hard copy only also at The Movements of Movements <https://movementsofmovements.net/>
Jai Sen, ed, 2018a – The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance. Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>; hard copy only also at The Movements of Movements <https://movementsofmovements.net/>
Jai Sen, ed, 2018b – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ? (Indian edition). New Delhi : AuthorsUpfront, in collaboration with OpenWord and PM Press. Hard copy available at MOM1AmazonIN <https://www.amazon.in/dp/9387280101/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1522884070&sr=8-2&keywords=movements+of+movements+jai+sen>, MOM1Flipkart <https://www.flipkart.com/the-movements-of-movements/p/itmf3zg7h79ecpgj?pid=9789387280106&lid=LSTBOK9789387280106NBA1CH&marketplace=FLIPKART&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&fm=SEARCH&iid=ff35b702-e6a8-4423-b014-16c84f6f0092.9789387280106.SEARCH&ppt=Search%20Page>, and MOM1AUpFront <http://www.authorsupfront.com/movements.htm>
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