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.
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.
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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About the Author
Ron Ridenour is a U.S.-born author and journalist, anti-war and civil rights activist since 1961. After joining the U.S. Air Force at 17, he saw the inner workings of U.S. imperialism first hand and resigned. In the 1980s and 1990’s he worked with the Nicaraguan government and on Cuban national media.
He now lives in Denmark and, in addition to writing a dozen books, has served as a special correspondent and freelance investigative journalist for many publications in the U.S. and several Latin American and European countries—among them: The Morning Star, New Statesman, The Guardian (U.S. and England), Playboy, Liberation News Service, Pacific News Service, Coast Magazine, Qui, Skeptic, Seven Days, and Pacifica Radio.
CAM co-founder Philip Agee wrote commentaries to two of his dozen books: Yankee Sandinistas: Interviews with North Americans Living and Working in the New Nicaragua, and Backfire: CIA’s Biggest Burn. See also: The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert and Winding Brook Stories at Amazon and Lulu. Other work can be found at ronridenour.com.
Ron can be reached at email@example.com.