Ecuador: The right won and the “lesser evil” failed

By Alberto Giovanelli

The run-off between correista economist Andrés Arauz and right-wing banker Guillermo Lasso culminated in the latter’s victory by a difference of between 4 and 5% of the votes. Arauz and Correa have already recognized Lasso’s victory and wished him success in office.

In the next few days, the Ecuadorian comrades will surely advance in the analysis of the electoral result, especially because until just 10 days ago an Arauz victory was expected, after obtaining a 13 point lead in the first round both from Lasso and Yaku Pérez, the candidate of the indigenous movement´s Pachakutik party.

Lasso will take office replacing Correa’s own ex protégé Lenín Moreno (remember that he was Correa´s vice president for 6 years), the president who will be remembered as one of the worst in Ecuadorian history, who leaves an economy in the red: in 2020 GDP fell by 7.8% and the total public debt reached 63% of Gross Domestic Product, but also in the midst of the crisis that unleashed the Covid 19 where Ecuador together with Peru have proven to be the most vulnerable countries in Latin America against the pandemic and the country that has vaccinated the least. The more than 20,000 deaths are the sad sign of government neglect and abandonment.

The new setting

The new president will have to seek alliances with the other parties to be able to approve his bills in the assembly, since the majority of assembly members belong to the correísta bloc, followed by the Pachakutik party and the Democratic Left, parties that did not side with Lasso in the run-off. This explains the high percentage of blank and null votes, which reached 18%.

However, in previous articles we expressed our opinion contrary to generating expectations in a hypothetical return of Correísmo. After the first round, Arauz´s own turn to the center was even more evident. The justification is the same that we have heard so many times, “we do not want to scare the electorate,” and that is why he publicly assumed the commitment to negotiate with international creditors the payment of over 52,000 million in foreign debt, and to maintain the dollarization of the economy that has been applied since the late 1990s, based on the advice of former Argentine economy minister Domingo Cavallo.

During the electoral campaign, Araúz could not break with the memory of the lack of policies combined with repression against the indigenous movement that were exercised during the Government of the Citizen Revolution, nor could he make credible his promises for other sectors that faced correísmo, such as the education and health sectors.

Once again it has been shown that there are no shortcuts, that there are no lesser evils, that each of these paths inevitably lead us off the abyss. Without a clearly anti-capitalist policy and program, all other alternatives will inevitably lead to further frustrations and disappointments.

But we also understand that the government that emerges will undoubtedly be a weak one because the reasons for the social uprising of late 2019 persist and have worsened, so we are convinced that there are no possibilities for Lasso to apply his neoliberal program without there being a national mobilization facing him in the streets. That is why we understand that the sign of the next stage will continue to be that of political instability.

Faced with this panorama, the urgent task of revolutionary socialists in Ecuador is to take a deep account of what happened, draw all the necessary conclusions about where the support for projects that have already been demonstrated leads only to repeat the failures of the past and to engage in the construction of a strong anti-capitalist current. In the International Socialist League, we are convinced that there are excellent conditions to advance in this direction.