Guillermo Lasso in front of the podium (C) in Guayaquil, Ecuador, April 11, 2021.
Guillermo Lasso and supporters celebrate election victory in Guyaquil, Ecuador, April 11, 2021. [Source: telesurenglish.net]

Dirty Tricks in Race Pay Off

Millionaire conservative Guillermo Lasso, former banker and Coca Cola director, won the run-off election over socialist candidate Andrés Arauz, 52.5% to 47.5%.

Arauz had led the pack of 16 presidential candidates during the first round, on February 7th, with 32.7% of the vote over Lasso’s 19.74%. Arauz was Union of Hope (UNES) candidate, a new party that former President Rafael Correa (2007-17) and Arauz had started.

This was Lasso’s third time running on the Creating Opportunities (CREO) presidential ticket. He came in second place against Correa in 2013 and again against Lenin Moreno in 2017. During this election CREO combined with the traditional conservative Social Christian Party (PSC).

“This is a historic day, a day in which all Ecuadorians have decided their future and expressed with their vote the need for change…Democracy has triumphed,” Lasso told supporters as the results came in. “Ecuadoreans, all of you . . . have chosen a new path…a very different path from the one Ecuador has followed for the past 14 years.”

Lasso will take the presidential reins on May 24th. The National Electoral Council presented the results last night after 98 percent of the votes had been officially counted. A few minutes earlier, Arauz publicly congratulated the president-elect. He made no mention of any fraud in the voting process even though polls had indicated he would win the race with a small margin.

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Arauz addresses supporters after conceding the election. [Source: twitter.com]

Lasso gained a majority, in part, because of promises he made to improve the failed economy under Moreno’s administration by increasing foreign investments, cutting taxes for businesses while raising the minimum wage, and a vow to vaccinate nine million citizens during his first 100 days in office.

He also attracted some young people by wearing colorful clothing, red shoes, and appealing to gays and lesbians by promising an enlightened policy towards them. Among his supporters are self-declared anarcho-ecologists, including supporters of an indigenous leader, Yaku Pérez, who is backed by the U.S. government financially and politically. When Pérez did not get into the run-off, coming in third place, he called upon his supporters to vote blank, which 1.6 million did.

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Yaku Perez [Source: covertactionmagazine.com]

Investigative reporter and a follower of Latin American politics Ben Norton tweeted: “I’m sure the anarcho-liberals who voted null in Ecuador’s election (including CONAIE) as a protest against the socialist Correista movement are proud now that their new president is going to be a far-right multimillionaire neoliberal banker, Opus Dei member and U.S. puppet.”

For this writer, Lasso’s victory came as a surprise, a most disappointing one for the peoples of Latin America, and for all who struggle for a world without the greed, war violence, and pollution that capitalism breeds.



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