In Ecuador, En Español

Andrés Arauz with supporters. Photo: @ecuarauz

After negotiating innumerable tricky legal obstacles imposed by the National Electoral Council (following Lenin Moreno’s orders to get those who follow the beliefs of Rafael Correa out of the running by means of law-fare – the legal equivalent of warfare), the team of Andres Arauz and Carlos Rabascall were able to participate in the elections and win the first round.

Después de sortear innumerables obstáculos leguleyos interpuestos por el Consejo Nacional Electoral (acatando órdenes expresas de Lenín Moreno para sacar del juego, lawfare mediante, al correísmo) el binomio de Andrés Arauz y Carlos Rabascall pudo participar en las elecciones e imponerse en la primera vuelta.

By Atilio Boron

Published in English on Resumen, Feb 8, 2021

Publicado en Español en Pagina 12, Feb 9, 2021

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After negotiating innumerable tricky legal obstacles imposed by the National Electoral Council (following Lenin Moreno’s orders to get those who follow the beliefs of Rafael Correa out of the running by means of law-fare – the legal equivalent of warfare), the team of Andres Arauz and Carlos Rabascall were able to participate in the elections and win the first round.  Although the polls had predicted a percentage of the votes greater than 36% (only one of them got Arauz and Rabascall’s figures almost precisely right),  we are sure that, finally, in the midst of a messy recount, Arauz won with 32% of the votes. Almost exactly head to head, and separated by only 0.27%, are Yaku Perez (19.87%) of Pachakutik, and the banker Guillermo Lasso, who, in his third try for the presidency, got 19.60% of the vote.  However, there are still a few votes to be counted that, due to their regional location, which may switch this situation around and put Lasso in second place.  At the time of writing this, the National Electoral Council still had not concluded the counting.

There were two surprises in the ballots of yesterday.  One was the advance of Perez, who, in all the previous polls, had never seemed to be in a position to advance to the second round, competing for a spot that Lasso’s team felt was a sure thing.  The other was the sudden surge of Xavier Hervas, a “dark horse,” as political slang has it, who went from nothing – around 2% – to 16% of the vote in less than three weeks, making his appeal through an intense, and extremely effective, campaign on social media, especially TikTok.  Facebook, young people tell me, is for old people; Hervas also knew this and attracted a significant volume of youth votes with his strategy.  There was something else new, not so much surprising in and of itself, but notable for how completely it occurred: the downfall of the historical right-wing of Ecuador.  On this occasion Lasso, and his CREO party, joined forces with the Social-Christians of Jaime Nebot, who was the mayor of Guayaquil for almost 19 years, (which never stopped him from displaying his inconsistency and launching flamboyant criticisms of the “anti-democratic re-electionism” of Rafael Correa, Evo Morales, and Hugo Chavez), and also with his successor as mayor, Chyntia Viteri.  In the first round of the presidential elections of 2017, running as separate parties, they obtained a combined 45% of the vote, but now, unified, they barely scraped together 20%.  Lenin Moreno delivered a devastating blow to neoliberalism when the official candidate, his Minister of Culture Juan Fernando Velasco Torres, came up with an embarrassing 0.82% of the votes.

What we will see in the weeks ahead is an exhausting electoral campaign lasting

more than two months, because the second round will take place on April 11.  Meanwhile, a tough battle in the National Electoral Council and in the legal system is in the making, to determine who will compete against those candidates in the tradition of Rafael Correa.  There is plenty of speculation about who will be most vulnerable to a campaign offensive by Arauz. There are those who prefer the banker, because in that case the contrast between the two candidacies would be absolutely clear, and also because Lasso was co-ruler with Moreno in the past four years, and has to share the responsibility for the debacle in which both have sunk the country.  This is certain, but it is also certain that, if there is one politician in Ecuador who has enormous power in the financial, media, political, and legal realms, that figure is none other than Lasso.

He can purchase, or bribe, lots of good will, mobilize the hired-gun press and legal authorities, and invest huge amounts in his campaign without any problems; the whole establishment will line up unconditionally behind his candidacy. Others who surround Arauz say that he would prefer a second round with Perez. It may be that his apparently progressive and leftist rhetoric might fool many unwary people, with his defense of water and the environment. I say fool because, as the great Brazilian environmentalist Chico Mendes, who was assassinated by landowners said, “Ecology without a critique of capitalism is just gardening.”  Perez does not criticize capitalism nor does he suggest the historical necessity for replacing it with something better. Furthermore, he has never stopped attacking the “dictatorial and fraudulent governments “- his words – of Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua; in this area his alignment with Washington’s directives is complete, and doesn’t appear to be coincidental.  That’s not all: he favors the elimination of taxes on the exit of hard currency, just as Lasso does; this is a super-sensitive topic for bankers and the business elite of Ecuador.

In addition, we should remember that in the 2017 balloting, Perez asked indigenous communities to vote for Lasso. He said, and we quote, “it is better to have a banker than a dictatorship.” A well brought up man, and full of Christian gratitude due to decades of militant membership in Opus Dei, Lasso stated some days ago that, in case he does not make it to the second round, he will support Perez in order to defeat the “populist totalitarianism”, represented in the flesh by the diabolic figure of Rafael Correa.

There is no doubt that the next two months will be full of new things and of many surprises for Ecuador. We hope that, at the end of this twisting path, we will have good news for the greater Latin American community.

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El derrotero que se viene en Ecuador

Después de sortear innumerables obstáculos leguleyos interpuestos por el Consejo Nacional Electoral (acatando órdenes expresas de Lenín Moreno para sacar del juego, lawfare mediante, al correísmo) el binomio de Andrés Arauz y Carlos Rabascall pudo participar en las elecciones e imponerse en la primera vuelta. Si bien las encuestas pronosticaban una votación por encima del 36 % (sólo una acertó casi matemáticamente los guarismos de Arauz y Lasso) lo cierto es que al final del día y en medio de un recuento desprolijo de los votos Arauz se alzó con el 32.15 % de los sufragios. Le siguen, compitiendo cabeza a cabeza y separados por veintisiete centésimos Yaku Pérez (19.87 %) del Pachakutik y del banquero Guillermo Lasso, que en su tercera apuesta presidencial obtuvo 19.60 % de las preferencias electorales. No obstante, falta todavía computar una pequeña cantidad de votos que, dada su localización regional, podrían revertir esta situación y posicionar a Lasso en el segundo lugar. Pero al momento de escribir estas líneas el CNE aún no había concluido el escrutinio.

Hubo dos sorpresas en los comicios de ayer: una fue el avance de Pérez, que en todas las encuestas previas nunca aparecía en condiciones de poder ingresar a la segunda vuelta disputando un lugar que el equipo de Lasso daba por seguro; la otra fue la fulminante irrupción de Xavier Hervas, un “caballo negro” como se dice en la jerga política mexicana, que de la nada (en torno al 2 por ciento) saltó al 16 % de los votos en menos de tres semanas apelando a un intenso –y harto efectivo- trabajo en las redes sociales, sobre todo el Tik Tok. Es que el Facebook, me dicen los jóvenes, “es cosa de viejos”; Hervas también lo sabía y atrajo una importante caudal de votos juveniles con su estrategia. Hubo también otra novedad, no tanto sorpresiva en sí misma pero sí por lo categórica de su manifestación: el derrumbe de la derecha histórica ecuatoriana. En esta ocasión Lasso y su partido, CREO, aunó fuerzas con los Socialcristianos de Jaime Nebot (durante casi 19 años alcalde de Guayaquil, lo que en un alarde de incoherencia jamás le impidió lanzar flamígeras críticas al “antidemocrático re-eleccionismo” de Rafael Correa, Evo Morales y Hugo Chávez) y su sucesora en la alcaldía, Chyntia Viteri. Ambos partidos habían obtenido, yendo por separado, el 45 % de los votos en la primera vuelta de las presidenciales de 2017; ahora, unificados, apenas arañan el 20 %. Lenín Moreno propinó un golpe devastador al neoliberalismo: el candidato del oficialismo, su ministro de Cultura Juan Fernando Velasco Torres, cosechó un bochornoso 0.82 % de los votos

Lo que se viene en las próximas semanas es una agotadora campaña electoral de más de dos meses porque recién el 11 de abril tendrá lugar la segunda vuelta. Mientras, está en ciernes una dura batalla en el Consejo Nacional Electoral y en la Justicia para determinar quién disputará la presidencia con el candidato del correísmo. Sobran las especulaciones acerca de quién sería más vulnerable ante una estrategia ofensiva de Arauz. Hay quienes prefieren al banquero, porque en ese caso el contraste entre ambas propuestas sería de una claridad absoluta y además porque Lasso “co-gobernó” con Moreno estos últimos cuatro años, y tendrá que hacerse cargo de la debacle en que ambos han sumido al país. Esto es cierto, pero también lo es que si hay un político en Ecuador que dispone de un enorme poder financiero, mediático, político y en el ámbito judicial ese personaje no es otro que Lasso.

Puede comprar muchas voluntades, movilizar al sicariato mediático y judicial e invertir cuantiosamente en su campaña sin dificultad alguna; todo el establishment se alineará incondicionalmente detrás de su candidatura. Otros en el entorno de Arauz dicen que preferirían una segunda vuelta con Pérez, si bien su retórica aparentemente progresista y de izquierda puede engañar a muchos incautos con su defensa del agua y el medio ambiente. Engañar, decía, porque como bien lo recordaba Chico Méndes, el gran ambientalista brasileño asesinado por los terratenientes, “ecología sin una crítica al capitalismo es mera jardinería”, y Pérez no critica al capitalismo ni plantea la necesidad de su superación histórica. Además no ha cesado de atacar a los gobiernos “dictatoriales y fraudulentos” -según sus palabras, de Bolivia, Venezuela y Nicaragua– y en este terreno su alineamiento con las directivas de Washington es total y no parece tener nada de casual. No sólo eso: al igual que Lasso favorece la eliminación de los impuestos a la salida de divisas, tema hipersensible para los banqueros y la elite empresarial ecuatoriana.

Por otra parte, hay que recordar que en el ballottage del 2017 Pérez pidió a las comunidades originarias que votaran por Lasso. Dijo, textualmente que “es preferible un banquero que una dictadura”. Hombre de buena crianza e impregnado de cristiana gratitud gracias a décadas de militancia en el Opus Dei, hace unos días Lasso aseguró que en caso de no llegar a la segunda vuelta apoyaría a Pérez con tal de derrotar al “totalitarismo populista” satánicamente encarnado en la figura de Rafael Correa.

No hay dudas que los próximos dos meses serán pletóricos de novedades, y de no pocas sorpresas en el Ecuador. Esperemos que, al final de este tortuoso derrotero, tengamos buenas noticias para la Patria Grande.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: We remind our readers that publication of articles on our site does not mean that we agree with what is written. Our policy is to publish anything which we consider of interest, so as to assist our readers in forming their opinions. Sometimes we even publish articles with which we totally disagree, since we believe it is important for our readers to be informed on as wide a spectrum of views as possible.

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