First, some recent history.
From Roger Harris at CP on Feb. 21: ‘Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now’
Having ducked into Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012 to seek political asylum, Assange has been unable to leave for fear of being extradited to the US. The right-wing candidates in Ecuador’s presidential race promise to send Assange packing.
Pink Tide Ebbs
On a broader geopolitical scale, the so-called Pink Tide in Latin America has been receding after a decade of success by left-leaning governments in raising living standards for the poor and creating regional alliances independent of the US (e.g., ALBA, UNASUR, CELAC).
A commodities boom had buoyed the Pink Tide, allowing Latin American left-leaning governments to increase social spending. Then oil and other commodity prices crashed, eroding the ability of these governments to serve their constituents.”
Harris then narrates some of the pink tide ‘ebbs’: soft coups in Brazil, Paraguay, right-wing takeovers in Argentina, Peru,a right-wing MUD win in Venezuela with a little help from the US and bogus human rights organizations. The US-backed candidate won in Haiti, in a fraudulent election in January. Hardest hit in the western hemisphere, still Ecuador had emerged as a success story, albeit against the wishes of the US and allies who’d actively sought regime change. But oh, my; Maduro is under the gun big time once again by not only the opposition, but the OAS and other puppets of the US wanting regime change. The calumny and soft coup afoot in VZ deserves a diary of its own.
“Correa’s Alianza PAIS government achieved a 38% reduction in poverty and a 47% reduction in extreme poverty over the past decade. Social spending as a percentage of GDP more than doubled.
All hangs in balance with the elections in Ecuador.”
After the run-off elections, Correa’s VP, Lenin Moreno, if elected today, would be the first paraplegic head of state in Latin America. Lasso is campaigning on promises of tax cuts, austerity, and throwing Julian Assange out of the Ecuadoran Embassy.
Let’s hear from WikiLeaks on Twitter:
The Hill link goes to CEPRs Mark Weisbrot, who opens with:
“As Ecuador heads toward the second round of its presidential election on April 2, a scandal has broken out over the opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso’s financial dealings.
The accusations are serious and largely based on public records, with most of it verifiable on websites such as the Panamanian Public Registry and Superintendency of Banks and the Ecuadorean Superintendency of Companies. The newspaper that broke the story was Página/12 of Argentina, with two articles there in the last week by journalist Cynthia Garcia, as well as on her website.
Yet, as of this writing, the major international media covering the election, as well as the big privately owned Ecuadorian media, have pretended for a week that the story does not exist.
Lasso has been routinely described as a “former banker” who allegedly retired from banking activities five years ago. However, he remains a major shareholder in Ecuador’s largest bank, Banco Guayaquil (through a trust named with his initials, GLM). And evidence from minutes of board meetings of Banco Guayaquil’s parent company indicate that he is still a key decision-maker at the bank, where he has been executive president for more than 20 years.”
Weisbrot writes that that’s bad enough, but in 2007, Lasso’s bank created a bank in Panama with another sort of covert history, hidden money, that directly aided capital fight from Ecuador for his family and cronies and 50 discrete companies. All of this is illegal in Ecuador as per the Feb. 15 citizens’ referendum.
Telesur will offer live updates on the election; polls open at 7, close at 5 local time. Voting appears to be mandatory.
Polls closed a couple hours ago, and this from Telesur on the exit polls, whatever they’re worth:
“Polls closed in Ecuador’s presidential elections Sunday in the race between leftist candidate Lenin Moreno and right-wing banker-turned-candidate Guillermo Lasso, with Perfiles de Opinion releasing an exit poll showing Lenin ahead by 52.2 percent to 47.8 percent, with others putting Lasso ahead. The National Election Council will make its first official bulletin at 8 pm local time.”
Ecuadoran indigenous art
Update: ‘Ecuador‘s Lenin Moreno Defeats Banker in Presidential Election’, via Telesur:
“Progressive candidate and renowned disability activist from the ruling Alianza Pais, Lenin Moreno has won the Ecuadorian presidential election Sunday. With 94.18 percent of the official vote counted, Lenin defeated former banker Guillermo Lasso, candidate for the right-wing CREO-SUMO alliance with 51.07 percent to 48.93 percent, according to results issued by the country’s National Electoral Council on Sunday night.
In what many had already predicted, right-wing vice presidential candidate Andres Paez has called for a recount, even though the CNE said it was a transparent and successful election process, calling for everyone to respect the results.
Moreno is set to continue and expand social programs introduced under outgoing President Rafael Correa, for whom Lenin served as vice president from 2007 to 2013, before working as the UN special envoy for Disability and Accessibility.
Moreno who has been wheelchair bound after being shot and paralyzed in 1998, has been well known for his advocacy work for people with disabilities and supporting public education. Jorge Glass, who also served in the Correa administration will now serve as vice president. The new administration will be officially inaugurated on May 24.” and so on.