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In Presidential Debate, Lasso calls Arauz a liar 12 times, Arauz attacks banks 15 times

Published on March 24, 2021

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The Presidential Debate organized by the National Electoral Council (CNE) was held this past Sunday, March 21, 2021. The candidates to occupy the seat in Carondelet, Andrés Arauz, of the Unión por la Esperanza (Unes); and Guillermo Lasso, from the alliance of the Creando Oportunidades movement – Christian Social Party (Creo-PSC), both spoke about their proposals for the second-round elections, which will be held on April 11.

For the Ecuador Debate 2021, the Debate Committee defined five themes: economy and employment; health, vaccination, social security and child malnutrition; democracy and state institutions, independence of powers, citizen participation and transparency; education, human development and technology; international relations, human mobility and sustainable development.

The structure of the debate included an opening message, five blocks with each theme, a round of questions formulated between the candidates, a space for final questions, and the closing.

The members of the National Debate Committee Andrés Checa, Valeria Coronel, Caterina Costa, María Paz Jervis and Paúl Palacios were appointed by the CNE to define the methodology, themes and the questions of the meeting.

Journalist Claudia Arteaga Serrano moderated the debate.

At the start of the Ecuador Debate 2021 meeting, both candidates greeted the audience.

Here is the complete transcription of the debate (it is extremely long):

Guillermo Lasso, presidential candidate of the Creo-PSC alliance

“Good evening to all Ecuadorians who are watching this debate. Good evening to the organizers of the debate, good evening also to Andrés Arauz here present. I am Guillermo Lasso. I was born into a middle-class family and from a young age I learned that with honest and hard work you can prosper. I have traveled Ecuador for the last 10 years learning the problems of Ecuadorians and I am here to lead a process of prosperity in freedom.”

Andrés Arauz, presidential candidate of the Unes alliance

“Beyond the differences, we have to work together, united, to transform Ecuador. My name is Andrés Arauz. I am a young economist, proud of my career in public service. Proud too to be a father of a family and to be able to contribute to the development of the country. Tonight, we are going to share our innovative proposals, focused on the future of Ecuador. We have no time to lose. Let’s get started. ”

Claudia Arteaga (CA): In your government, what would be three fundamental measures of your economic reactivation and recovery plan in order to provide stability and growth and at the same time, indicate three measures that you would implement to strengthen dollarization. Additionally, if you have time, indicate the actions that you will take during the first months of your government to promote jobs in general and with regard to young people and women in particular.

Andrés Arauz, presidential candidate of the Unes alliance

“As I said before, this election is not about Mr. Lasso, nor about me, I take this opportunity to greet him. I think that in the introduction there were some elements absent from his story. It is about citizens who are worried, anguished and hurt. Because of how this crisis has been handled. They do not need an economic indicator to know the situation they are going through.

I am referring to the Quito mother who is afraid of being fired and who has credit card debts up to here and that they call her to collect money every day, the usurers, and they also charge her for calling. The farmer from Los Ríos knows this, who only wants fair prices for his production. The retailer from Cristo del Consuelo knows it, who, although he works more, does not earn more.

Therefore, I propose and listening to the people and based on the best international practices around this pandemic, three measures: production, work and liquidity. We are going to put dollars in the pockets of Ecuadorian families so that the mother of the family reactivates the business and stimulates it so that we can facilitate entrepreneurship and eliminate that 2% tax on micro-businesses. We are going to restructure the debts so that there is more liquidity in the families, the Government has to give peace of mind to everyone, not just a few.”

Response of Guillermo Lasso

“I have read the government plan of candidate Arauz, and it is very clear on page 6, he proposes a quarantine of dollars in Ecuador, which would imply a freeze. And it also raises a series of issuance of some papers, with which he would pay doctors, teachers and providers. Therefore, candidate Arauz, would it be dollars, or would it be smoke in the pockets of Ecuadorians? ”

Rebuttal of Andrés Arauz

“Look what we have proposed is that the dollars stay in Ecuador permanently. Buying from Ecuadorians, promoting Ecuadorian production, generating work for Ecuadorians.

What you see here is a dollar bill, do you see it? This dollar bill, we will never allow the bankers to take it away from us again or to take away our deposits. We are going to maintain dollarization and, listen very clearly, we are going to maintain dollarization and we are going to strengthen it. How? Bringing those dollars that are outside, that a few bankers have wanted to keep abroad only to privilege their interests. Unlike the Ecuadorian family who will be able to spend it in the country, you, whenever you have a ‘chance,’ you use the dollars to get them to your bank in Panama and the rest of your ‘offshore’.”

Rejoinder of Guillermo Lasso

“I ask Andrés, here is a publication of yours in the Dollarization Observatory, where you discuss good de-dollarization and raise de-dollarization in Ecuador. The question is, which Andrés Arauz do we have tonight? The one from the Dollarization Observatory or the one that says in an electoral process that it wants to strengthen dollarization?

Counter of Andrés Arauz

“Did you read the article? Because clearly the article analyzes the statements of someone part of his coalition, César Rohón, who in the Assembly declared that dollarization had to be ended. It is an article of analysis that offers alternatives to that crazy idea of ​​César Rohón to end dollarization.

We are going to strengthen dollarization, but generating work in Ecuador, not in Panama, or in Miami where you have your dollars. We want to promote productive work in our country, and we know how to do it, protecting the artisan, the textile manufacturer, that shoe producer in Tungurahua who knows that if the economy is opened indiscriminately, foreign products will enter, even foreign food. That is why we are going to strengthen dollarization because we know how to do it.”

CA: In your government, what would be three fundamental measures of your economic reactivation and recovery plan in order to give it stability and growth? and at the same time, indicate three measures that you would implement to strengthen dollarization and that in the first months of government promote the creation of jobs in a special way for young people and women.

Guillermo Lasso, presidential candidate of Creo-PSC

“I am concerned about the economy of the Ecuadorian family, I am concerned that a father and a mother of a family walk all day, knocking on doors to get a job and do not get it. I am concerned that recently graduated young Ecuadorians ask for experience, in a clear sign that there is no job in Ecuador, but now they are not only demanding a job, what I have noticed today is that there is hunger, there is hunger, as a consequence of a bad economic model applied in the last 14 years and the pandemic. You promised the Ecuadorian miracle and you have given us a disaster for which you do not want to be held responsible, Andrés.

We are going to create confidence. The dollar is going to be the currency of free circulation in Ecuador. We are going to eliminate the 2% tax on small businesses to stimulate the income of Ecuadorian families. We are also going to eliminate excess taxes, eliminate excess procedures, promote both local and foreign investment to reactivate public works and also in the private sector. We are going to work with leadership with capacity and experience because that is what we have done all our lives, creating jobs and opportunities in Ecuador. ”

Response of Andrés Arauz

“It is surprising that he wants to eliminate the tax that he himself supported creating the approval of it, but Mr. Lasso my question: If you had the benefit of Ecuador in one hand and the benefit of your bank in another, what decision would you adopt? Would it benefit the country? Or your financial institution? ”

Rebuttal of Guillermo Lasso

“The pandemic has given us a very clear lesson, Madam moderator, and it is that agriculture is the what sustained the food on the table of the Ecuadorian household, and we propose to give 30-year credit, at 1% interest, to small farmers and ranchers of Ecuador. We are going to build neighborhood roads, irrigation projects and rehabilitate 1,000 rural schools that were closed in the government of Andrés Arauz, and we are going to work to reactivate the rural economy, investing about 5 billion dollars in the next four years of Government, [we will] bring health to the fields, security to the fields and also sustainability of the prices of agricultural products to ensure a prosperous economy for farmers. ”

Rejoinder of Andrés Arauz

“I think it is clear that he has not responded to the concern about whether he will act for the benefit of his bank or for the benefit of the country, but we already have a clear demonstration when, a few days ago, that communication from the Banco de Guayaquil was revealed requesting that it be change the definition of the microcredit segments in order to simply earn more profits. There is another example with the 2% and the glosses that were forgiven in this, your government, that of Mr. Moreno. ”

Counter of Guillermo Lasso

“Andrés, do not lie again. You know that what you have said is not correct, but I am going to dedicate myself to the fundamentals… artisans, exporters, young innovators need the support of a government that understands their needs. More bananas in the world, more employment in Ecuador. More flowers in the world, more employment in Ecuador. So, we are going to strengthen dollarization, with real dollars, not with electronic dollars and with real jobs Andrés, which is probably very foreign to you. Ecuador must join the Pacific Alliance; we will seek the signing of free trade agreements. There are 7.4 billion inhabitants in the world, they have the purchasing power to buy Ecuadorian products and they have more savings than Ecuadorians to come to invest in Ecuador, let’s not close the border. You are a young man with old ideas.”

CA: How do you consider that the national government could consolidate the vaccination process against Covid-19 and at the same time articulate initiatives with the GADs and enhance the contribution of civil society? In addition, within this area, there are doubts about how your government would provide the support of the IESS within the framework of social rights and what options would you take in the first hundred days of mandate to mitigate and prevent chronic child malnutrition?

Guillermo Lasso, presidential candidate of Creo-PSC

“In the pandemic, I had the opportunity to serve Ecuadorians with Saving Lives. We reached more than 340 hospitals in all the cantons of Ecuador and I learned the reality of health in the country: buildings with hospital signs, but there are no beds, there are no doctors, there are no medical supplies, there are no medicines. That is unfortunate. We did a lot with little money.

I am sure that in the first hundred days of government we are going to vaccinate at least 9 million Ecuadorians. There are 2,100 public health centers of the Ministry and the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute, with an average of 50 vaccinated per center, we will reach 9 million Ecuadorians in the first hundred days.

We are going to negotiate the vaccines, we will do it well, with several laboratories, several suppliers, real vaccines, not with the false offer that Argentina would already donate 4 million vaccines to us, Andrés. We are going to do it with real resources, to reach 9 million Ecuadorians. Today, that is the main economic agenda of my government, so that Ecuadorians lose their fear of returning to their jobs, their businesses, to buy, sell, revive the economy.”

Response of Andres Arauz

“It must be recognized that the Saving Lives trust did indeed put up a few dollars to help many families in Ecuador. But I would like to ask you by way of reply if you do not think a special contribution to bank profits would have been better, that in 2019 or 2020 totaled about $1 billion, what do you think about that? ”

Rebuttal of Guillermo Lasso

“In your government, Andrés, special taxes were created for the earthquake in Manta and Esmeraldas, and that money did not arrive in either Manta or Esmeraldas, so I think the work and action of civil society complementary to the Government is essential; corruption and inefficiency drain many health resources.

We have examples, Andrés. In your government the Pedernales hospital. There is no hospital in Pedernales, and special taxes were created, which went into the pockets of the corrupt, who today, luckily, are in jail. But they still have no returned the money.

The hunger of Ecuadorians hurts my soul, the hunger of a child hurts me much more. You had 14 years to solve the problem of chronic child malnutrition. You have not done anything. The indicators are still at 25% compared to 9% in the region, Andrés. ”

Rejoinder of Andrés Arauz

“Here we can see how candidate Lasso in his government plan expressly says that he intends to delegate the administration of the health sector to the private sector. We Ecuadorians do not want a walled-in privatization, which wants to turn patients back into their clients, but please explain to us what the role of the president of the Association of Private Clinics in your government is going to be. ”

Counter of Guillermo Lasso

“No, Andrés, don’t lie again, that’s not correct. What we want to avoid is what your candidate did, hand over the hospitals to negotiate votes in the National Assembly. You have to take charge of that. The disaster of the public health administration is yours; you have to take responsibility for that.

As for Social Security, a responsible administration, which does not give it, as in the case of the Correa government, all the money of the affiliates as petty cash, Andrés. That is not possible. We must respect the money of retirees, of Ecuadorian workers. You cannot use that money as if it were government property. We are going to put order, with a serious administration and with a government that respects the autonomy of the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute. ”

CA: How do you consider that the national government could consolidate the vaccination process against covid-19 and at the same time articulate initiatives with the GADs and enhance the contribution with civil society? In addition, within this axis, there are doubts about how the government would provide the support of the IESS within the framework of social rights and what options would you take in the first hundred days of mandate to mitigate and prevent chronic child malnutrition?

Andrés Arauz, presidential candidate of the Unes Alliance

“Ecuadorians, this week we have talked about vaccination, here is the list of some of those recently vaccinated. Do you see your mother there, your aunt, your grandmother? Do you see the community doctor, the neighboring nurse there? No, no, then. Do you know what they all have in common? That they are friends of Mr. Lasso. They want to continue this model of vaccination and exclusionary health and sealed off privatization.

We therefore propose a universal and free vaccination. But the vaccine is not available. We have to reinstate 6,000 health professionals fired in the Moreno and Lasso government. We have to give stability to those who saved our lives. We are going to anticipate the problems arising from the pandemic, invest in mental health, hire 1,600 psychologists and dozens of psychiatrists in the health system of our country.

Preventive health will be our priority. Caring for people with problematic drug and alcohol use. We are going to implement the digital medical record and we will guarantee the presence of medications throughout the country. My government will serve victims of gender violence with a rights approach. Health is a right, not a privilege of the few. We do not want that bogged down privatization model, Ecuador is quite clear about it.

Response of Guillermo Lasso

“Andrés, don’t lie again. Here is Correa with your candidate in 2017 (shows photo) and here you are with Correa in 2021. Lenín is Correa’s political son in 2017 and you are Correa’s political son in the 2021. You and Lenín Moreno share the same political birth certificate as Correa; they are political brothers responsible for the last 14 years of government of Ecuador.”

Rebuttal of Andrés Arauz

“The Ecuadorian people are absolutely clear who has co-governed with Moreno. Yes, we proposed Moreno. The Ecuadorian people voted for him, but you bought him. You bought him and that betrayal did not go to a person, to a movement, it went to all the Ecuadorian people, a betrayal that you applauded and now assume the consequences, such as what you mention, the distribution of hospitals, belongs to your great friend María Paula Romo, whom you openly congratulated. And, please, stop attacking Manabí and Esmeraldas, they are very beloved provinces, whom we love like the rest of Ecuador. Enough of continuing to attack them forever.

We are going to combat chronic child malnutrition, with detailed, individualized monitoring based on technology and administrative records. We know how to do it and we call for the great crusade for drinking water, healthy eating and obesity prevention. ”

Rejoinder of Guillermo Lasso

“Andrés let’s talk about privileges. You studied at the most expensive school in Ecuador, good for you. Your father was able to pay you USD 2,200 monthly pension and you also chose a university in the United States to study. I congratulate you; I think it’s very good. But those are privileges that the majority of Ecuadorians do not have. I didn’t have it, I had to work in the afternoons to pay the college expenses where I studied in the morning. We are talking about privileges, I congratulate you, you have had many privileges.”

Counter of Andres Arauz

“Yes, we are talking about health and social security, will strengthen Social Security, important to the axis of Health and Social Security, so that never again re-distribute hospitals, by allies of Mr. Lasso.

We will strengthen the mortgage loans again, so that they can buy the house again. They wanted to privatize even that. We are going to strengthen the poor Social Security dispensaries throughout the country, so that they can provide adequate coverage to the poor and your families.

We are going to continue working, so that in this country, self-employed workers can also count on Social Security. That is the type of work we need, not like the workers of Banco del Barrio, sadly, they do not even have a Social Security affiliation. Yes, we will defend their rights, from 24 May.”

CA: What is your position vis-à-vis the current judicial function and judicial decisions, that is, vis-à-vis the sentences that have already been handed down. What citizen participation mechanism would you implement and strengthen to improve social control and accountability of the Executive’s institutions? Ecuador has been exceeding year after year the number of deaths due to violence, as well as events suffered against the safety, property and integrity of people. Every year, there are more problems with femicides. What do you think are the main causes of this and how will your government protect citizens within the framework of human rights?

Andrés Arauz, presidential candidate of the Unes alliance

At this point I would like to criticize the agenda. A new error by the CNE calls it independence of powers, when the Constitution defines it as independence of Functions. Of course, we can speak of independence of Functions. I will respect it 100%, especially to the Judicial Branch, without blackmail, threats or pressure.

But the essential thing is to make reality what Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador says, that of building a participatory State, guarantor of rights, fair, multinational and intercultural. I am going to dedicate myself, together with my brothers from the indigenous peoples and nationalities of Ecuador, to build in practice that plurinational State, with the bilingual intercultural education system, with the recognition of collective rights, ancestral knowledge and so many other themes. I embrace the minga for life and I promise to fulfill it.

In the digital and technology age, information must be absolutely transparent. Completely transparent, and applying open data, open data, to be able to eradicate corruption. And not only the public corruption that outrages us, but also the private corruption, present in this room. I am going to govern with citizen participation, we are going to work with associations, universities, unions, of all kinds. And we are going to work together with all the political forces. ”

Response of Guillermo Lasso

“You have managed democratic institutions so badly that in this debate we have to talk about essential things. Look at what your boss said, your political father:” The President of the Republic is not only the head of the Executive branch, he is also the head of the entire Ecuadorian State,” clearly showing that this is a dictatorial phrase. What do you think of that Rafael, I say Andrés, sorry?”

Rebuttal of Andrés Arauz

Hey, you even dream of Correa, right? Well, I’m going to give you the information. Look, we are going to work to eradicate gender violence against women, we are going to build a reception system that can serve women and their families with different levels of risk, so that they are not victims of those who seek to harass them. We are going to work on a policy that allows us to provide them with economic independence, providing them with credits and resources so that they can get ahead, changing power relations, inside and outside the home. We are going to work on equal pay, so that the work that belongs to women is properly recognized with equality with respect to men, we are going to go to a joint government that also respects the dignity of women and is present in the highest levels of political representation.

With that we are also going to fight femicides. ”

Rejoinder of Guillermo Lasso

“In your government, Andrés, the woman was treated as a horrible chubby woman, assembly members of your own movement were censored for a matter of conscience, women were dragged through the streets, is that citizen participation? Is that democracy? That is your background on your political birth certificate. Your political father made all those mistakes, Andrés, and you are in doubt as to how you will act. ”

Counter of Andrés Arauz

“You just talk about the past. Mr. Lasso here we come to talk about the future of the country. Where you have to correct mistakes, amend them, you have to proceed to do so. Here we come with a generational renewal, betting on being able to build that plurinational State, the State and a parity government, which gives gender equality to its entire population. We are going to advance on issues that remain pending, such as having a more friendly economy with nature. Also recognizing the rights of those who accompany us in this. We also have to recognize the advancement of the different species, because many of them are sentient beings.

We are going to advance in this great democratic transformation, where we have to solve the problems of the people. Let it not only focus on the problems of the elites. We have to make the justice system work for the people, and for that, technology will be our great ally.”

CA: We remind candidate Lasso of the question: What is the position vis-à-vis the current judicial function and judicial decisions, that is, vis-à-vis the sentences that have already been passed. What citizen participation mechanism will it implement and strengthen to improve social control and accountability of the Executive’s institutions? Ecuador has been exceeding year after year the number of deaths due to violence, as well as events suffered against the safety, property and integrity of people. Every year, there are more problems with femicides. What do you think are the main causes of this and how will your government protect citizens within the framework of human rights?

Guillermo Lasso, Creo-PSC presidential candidate

“Well, we are democrats. We are going to respect the institutional framework, the rule of law and the independence of functions. We want a powerful and strong Judicial Function, which without putting our hands on we will support with resources and international technical assistance. We will strengthen the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation, we are going to strengthen its autonomy and capacity for action, with a budget, training and even with an autonomous Police of the Attorney General’s Office. We do not have lists of people to persecute. We do not want to persecute absolutely anyone, nor destroy anything in Ecuador. On the contrary, what we want is to create that Ecuador of encounter, where we can all live happily, recognizing our differences and knowing that we respect each other among Ecuadorians. We are going to put aside those terms of the sheep, of the horrible chubby, of the corrupt journalist, insulting everyone who thinks differently from the President of the Republic.

We are going to respect the functions of the State. We are going to collaborate and work for a great meeting of the participation of women, young people, LGBTI groups, all Ecuadorians embraced, twinned, all united.”

Response of Andrés Arauz

This past Wednesday, the report of the Truth Commission on the events that occurred in October 2019 was presented. The different candidates were invited, but Mr. Lasso did not attend. Here is a copy of the Truth Commission report. This one I brought for you, I have mine at home. Tell us, what is your opinion of this report? ”

Rebuttal of Guillermo Lasso

“I have always committed myself to the most expansive interests of Ecuador, and I entered politics to defend the institutional framework of Ecuador, and I will always be on the side of civility, of the rule of law, not of those who with money from foreign governments tried to destabilize the Ecuadorian democracy, by burning public buildings, just from the Comptroller’s Office, to try to eliminate evidence about their acts of corruption. Therefore, in our Government we will work to strengthen the control institutions, respecting their autonomy, respecting the functions of the Comptroller’s Office, from the Attorney General’s Office. We are going to be democrats who will respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Ecuador. ”

Rejoinder of Andrés Arauz

“You forget, no, when he was governor of Mahuad and ordered to destroy the protests of the doctors who wanted, precisely, dignity in their labor rights. You also forget that within the independence of functions you want to nominate María Paula Romo as Controller. Is that what you want? Is that what you want to hand over to Moreno’s friends again? This implication is clear. Please take responsibility.”

Counter of Guillermo Lasso

“Candidate Arauz take responsibility of this meeting, where they called you to Mexico (shows photo of Arauz meeting with Rafael Correa and the Alvardo brothers, among others) to give you instructions, because you surely have a dilemma: either you leave Correa, or you agree to continue being the secretary of your political father. You say that we should not talk about the past and you are remembering my good management as governor of the Guayas province. I thank you very much for remembering that good time of mine. And of course, we are going to promote a digital government, an open government, a transparent government, so that citizens not only vote on election day, but also participate and learn about all the decisions of the Government and thus avoid the corruption that has consumed much of that great oil bonanza that they did not know how to manage in the last 14 years, leaving us supremely indebted”.

CA: After a cycle of extensive dropouts at all educational levels, how do you propose that coverage could be recovered or expanded, including the most vulnerable sectors, and guarantee the quality of post-pandemic primary, secondary and higher education? And how would you mitigate the connectivity gap between your strategies? What measures will you promote to generate national research, technological and technical capacities? And in front of the higher education regime there is a debate that raises, on the one hand, a strategy of overregulation, and, on the other hand, the possibility of eliminating the Senescyt, what is your position and what policy does it propose?

Guillermo Lasso, Creo-PSC presidential candidate

“In the first place, speaking of school and college education, we believe that there must be an educational reform, to go from an outdated model of memorizing data and information to a model of critical reasoning, to prepare children and young people for this modern world, of this new technological revolution. Regarding higher education, we propose the reform of higher education law, reform of the Senescyt, and to eliminate the requirement that high school students have to submit an application to the Senescyt.

Free access to university and then a free university. That the universities are administered autonomously, without so much government interference, establish university extensions in different cities of Ecuador and can expand university careers, which they decide according to the requirements of civil need and also expand ‘online’ education to allow the access of older young Ecuadorians to university education. We also want to promote higher technical education so that many young Ecuadorians who want to quickly learn a trade and join productive activity can do so, especially in rural and poor areas of Ecuador. ”

Response by Andrés Arauz

“We have heard from the candidate Lasso that he wants to eliminate the Senescyt and yet he says that he wants to strengthen technical education. There is a contradiction, the Senescyt is the entity that manages and administers the higher technological institutes of the country. He does not mention anything at all about the system of certification of professional qualifications competences that will give us an outlet for millions of Ecuadorians who have been excluded until today.”

Rebuttal by Guillermo Lasso

“In our government we are going to increase the amount of money to finance scholarships to the best universities in Ecuador and abroad. We are also going to increase the budget of the universities for research and development in the Ecuadorian university. We have to work on the issue of the chronic child malnutrition, so that our children and young people are competitive at school and college age. We will also fight against drug use so that the Ecuadorian youth go to sports, go to education, find a job to be able to live with hope and not what happens today, that they do not study, they do not work and there are no opportunities or sport that is fundamental in the field of education and in the human development of human beings.”

Rejoinder by Andrés Arauz

Guillermo Lasso’s wish list sounds nice, but when the budget for universities was specifically addressed, your political party in the Assembly refused to finance them and you were also a clear accomplice of that humanitarian law that allowed the reduction of the salaries of the universities. teachers. Why don’t you comment on that? ”

Counter by Guillermo Lasso

“No Andrés, don’t lie again. You say that you don’t have to talk about the past and you only mean the past. You have to talk about the future. We are going to install 40,000 free internet points to reach the poorest cities in Ecuador and we are going to donate close to a million computers so that in every poor home in Ecuador they have a computer for tele-education, telemedicine, entertainment and also to promote entrepreneurship. We are going to grant more scholarships to Ecuadorian students, so that they have the same opportunity that you had to study abroad in a good university, financed by the Ecuadorian State, so that when they return, they can join the productive activity and they can pay that educational loan.”

CA: After a cycle of extensive dropouts at all educational levels, how do you propose that coverage could be recovered or expanded, including the most vulnerable sectors, and guarantee the quality of post-pandemic primary, secondary and higher education? And how would you mitigate the connectivity gap between your strategies? What measures will you promote to generate national research, technological and technical capacities? And in front of the higher education regime there is a debate that raises, on the one hand, a strategy of overregulation, and, on the other hand, the possibility of eliminating the Senescyt, what is your position and what policy does it propose?

Andrés Arauz, presidential candidate of the Unes alliance

“Undoubtedly this is the most important topic of the debate because we are risking the future of the country, the future of childhood, of our youth. What the country gives to children today, children will give to society tomorrow and it fits to ask ourselves: are we preparing Ecuadorian children for the future?

I think the best way to do it is through the three universal languages ​​of the future: music and art, English and computer programming. Imagine that we taught Python to children from the age of 6. Some call it fantasy, I call it future, because we are preparing ourselves for the jobs that don’t even exist now, the jobs of the future.

That is why we are going to bet on guaranteeing the Internet as a human right, so that students are not differentiated based on their level of connection. We are going to expand the quotas of the academic offer in the higher education system. We are going to grab the bull by the horns, establishing quotas and modifying the entrance exam in order to expand access to the University.

We are going to educate our children from two years of age, through 20,000 new kindergartens and new children’s centers in all cities and parishes of the country. As a parent, I want our children to learn to undertake.”

Response of Guillermo Lasso

“The reality of Ecuador is that 300,000 high school graduates graduate every year and [there are] only 90,000 places in Ecuadorian universities… 210,000 young people do not study every year, cumulatively. That has been going on for 14 years, Andrés. The question is, what do you propose for the future: to continue with a system of slavery of the Senescyt towards young Ecuadorians?”

Rebuttal of Andrés Arauz

“Mr. Lasso does not understand higher education. He does not understand that there are different branches: university higher education, higher technology education, the system of certification of professional competencies and qualifications, the productive technical baccalaureate, the different options that are going to have the young Ecuadorians. Obviously not everyone is going to have to choose all of them.

We are going to expand the options for Ecuadorians, and we are also going to work with the artisan schools to be able to have technical training applied with the dual system as it is done in Germany in all the industries of the country. We are going to work actively so that people in rural areas who have traditionally been excluded from the higher education system can access, based on a quota system in the public universities of our country. The scholarships will return. ”

Rejoinder of Guillermo Lasso

“Andrés, you have governed Ecuador for 10 years. Your speech sounds nice. What happened? Why didn’t your government apply it when you were an official of that government? You speak to us beautifully, but the reality is that for young Ecuadorians to have opportunities to study, there must be freedom and less State intervention in higher education, to leave the hands of the rectors, teachers and academics free.”

Counter of Andrés Arauz

Ecuador made a lot of progress in scientific research thanks to the modernization processes of our higher education. Too bad he wants to defend that model, where his parents owned universities, but let’s go back to the educational emergency that our country is now facing.

We have six out of ten children who do not continue their studies due to lack of internet access. We have to move decisively to solve this problem and we are going to return to classes quickly as posed by the question of the moderator so that the children get out of these mental health problems that they are beginning to incur. For that, let the teachers of my country know that you are included in phase one of vaccination, so that they can safely return to teaching and our children can return to that area of ​​the community, that area of ​​social life. ”

CA: On international relations, what will be your fundamental priorities, with which regional groups, international and multilateral organizations will you have the closest collaboration and on what terms will these exchanges and negotiations take place? What is your main immigration policy proposal, specifically how do you intend to integrate and regulate the migration of Venezuelan brothers, which is the largest group in the country? The pressure of debt service may require greater oil production; in such a context, would you expand the oil frontier in Yasuní? And if that is the case, how would you avoid affecting indigenous communities, peoples and nationalities?

Andrés Arauz, presidential candidate of the Unes alliance

A few weeks ago, I returned to the United States. Remember that I lived there, studied there, worked there. I met with our migrant brothers, I also met with investment banks, with the IMF. We agreed on the development priorities for our country: defend the rights of migrants, market to access our exports and also access that scientific knowledge.

Mr. Lasso’s campaign is still installed in fear. They repeat a message that has not worked, that they have been 12 years with the cuckoo of Venezuela, the cuckoo of Maduro. Here I am going to be very clear with the country. Ecuador has to carve its own path, without being subject to anyone, neither to one nor the other. You must go your own way observing what other countries do well, like Uruguay, like Norway, like Costa Rica in environmental matters. Ecuador, which I imagine as a friend of all the countries of the world without being submissive to anyone. That is why we must establish international agreements, but with equity so as not to have to depend on imported food, for example. There are two models here: one that seeks to generate work in Ecuador and one that seeks to export capital to Panama and Miami.

Response of Guillermo Lasso

It seems Andrés that you have an obsession with the banking issue. I will remind you and many of you: in May 2012, I resigned from the administration of Banco de Guayaquil. I have not been around for a decade now. I am not a bank administrator. The day I made this decision, I opted for Ecuador, because Ecuador matters more to me than the bank. Let it be clear to you. In terms of international relations, we must be in the Pacific Alliance.

Rebuttal of Andrés Arauz

Good thing your advisors told you not to forget to answer that question, which was key. But hey, now we have to work on the regularization of Venezuelan migrants. We have to do it very carefully, respecting first the right to work of Ecuadorian families. But second, human rights, the rights of children, of the little ones who do not have to take responsibility for their parents or for geopolitical problems. We are going, yes, to advance in an oil policy that is much more responsible with the environment, responsible with the intangible zone of the Yasuní, but also being responsible with the economy of Ecuador. We have to obtain those dollars, we have to refine that oil, we have to industrialize it in our country in order to continue generating more jobs in Ecuador.

Rejoinder of Guillermo Lasso

“Andrés do not lie again. You were an official in the Correa government, who first wanted to get money for a trust and protect the Yasuní. You have already intervened by the Yasuní. And furthermore, you did not allow a popular consultation of the Yasunidos. Therefore, there is a big question mark about you, because when you were an official of the Correa government, in 10 years, you always remained silent on these issues.”

Counter of Andrés Arauz

We are going to work for the good of Ecuadorians. We will sign trade agreements only when they are convenient for Ecuador. We are going to protect national production considering food sovereignty, so that the poor in provinces like Los Ríos do not have to be subjected to the free importation of food that they want to come from elsewhere. That is the policy that Mr. Lasso wants to promote, a policy of silly openness that destroys our country. We are going to sustain the economy and the work of Ecuadorian farmers, that is for sure. That is our guarantee. At the international level, there is no reason to consider a dilemma of one or the other. Ecuador has to be a friend of all the countries of the world and here, like the rest of humanity. We have to get along with scientific exchange.

CA: On international relations, what will be your fundamental priorities, with which regional groups, international and multilateral organizations will you have the closest collaboration and on what terms will these exchanges and negotiations take place? What is your main immigration policy proposal, specifically how do you intend to integrate and regulate the migration of Venezuelan brothers, which is the largest group in the country? The pressure of debt service may require greater oil production; in such a context, would you expand the oil frontier in Yasuní? And if that is the case, how would you avoid affecting indigenous communities, peoples and nationalities?

Guillermo Lasso, Creo-PSC presidential candidate

In terms of international relations, the cornerstone is the interest of Ecuadorians, in my opinion we must sign free trade agreements with the United States, with China, with Japan, with all regions of the world, especially countries and economies as large as India, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates and we have to be clear about this objective: more bananas in the world is more employment in Ecuador, more flowers in the world is more employment in Ecuador and we also have to be clear that the great opportunity for Ecuadorians is there; 7.4 billion inhabitants in the world, Andrés do not try to lock us up among 17 million Ecuadorians…you are going to do serious harm to future generations of Ecuador. Our bilateral relations agenda will always aim to take care of the interest of Ecuadorians living abroad. We are going to carry out an orderly process of this humanitarian problem with the Venezuelans, but we will be clear, we will condemn these dictatorships, these drug dictatorships that are the ones that have caused the great migration of Venezuelans, not only to Ecuador but to the entire world. We are going to have to act with the heart but with a lot of head to condemn dictatorships.

Response of Andrés Arauz

Here it seems that they are speaking in the context of the Cold War, when what we need is to move towards the future, we cannot move towards the future with outdated ideas of the last century. I ask Mr. Lasso, in terms of reply, what do you think about the Nagoya protocol?

Rebuttal of Guillermo Lasso

Andrés, in our Government we will respect the democracy of the region, but we cannot remain silent, as you are silent in the face of the Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela. We cannot remain silent with the Nicaraguan dictatorship. International relations must be clear, respect for human rights, respect for the guarantees of each citizen in their country. We have to condemn those dictatorships because we cannot allow the contagion of that malpractice in the region by those who do not respect the functions of the state, who commit permanent fraud to stay in power. Andrés, you smile because you would like that to happen in Ecuador, but we are here to prevent you and your political father from returning to power in Ecuador.

Rejoinder of Andrés Arauz

I see sir you do not know what the Nagoya Protocol is. It is one of the instruments of the 21st century to be able to go to a rational exploitation of Ecuadorian biodiversity. That is the kind of international relations our country needs. Also explain to us Mr. Lasso, why not even your house is in your name? The Samborondón house and the beach house, not even your cars are in your name, but in the name of ghost companies in tax havens, what are you going to say about that?

Counter of Guillermo Lasso

Andrés do not lie again, those houses are in the name of my wife María de Lourdes, in her name, so update Andrés, they sent you to say that, but you are wrong, you have lied again.

We need to eliminate the pollution of rivers, of the air, of our seas, of our snowy mountains, of our moors. That is why we need international support, technical cooperation to maintain the environment and to not make the mistakes you made when exploiting the Yasuní. We are going to work to increase oil production, the productivity of those wells and in that case Andrés’s father will have an opportunity for his company, but we will respect oil borders to respect the environment, indigenous communities and not spoil a coexistence with nature.

Candidate question segment

Question from Guillermo Lasso to Andrés Arauz:

There will be a few seconds left for this question Andrés. I look into your eyes, look at the Ecuadorians, tell them the truth clearly. Andrés, who did you vote for in the 2017 presidential elections?

Response of Andrés Arauz

We have been absolutely clear. We proposed Lenín Moreno, Ecuador voted for Lenín Moreno, but you bought him, you bought him and carried out this betrayal of the entire Ecuadorian people. I will never be able to forget how in that June meeting, he met with you, with the bankers, and said that he is starting… he is starting to hate those who voted for him. That is what our country has experienced. As a result of that betrayal, we have experienced a deinstitutionalization process where the Ecuadorian people were harmed … with a canc … with a crafty query. That consultation inspired by his government program, which ended up destroying our entire country. We Ecuadorians are quite upset, hurt, outraged and we do not want this to happen again. We do not want the Moreno and Lasso government to continue. I cannot imagine four more years of a government handed over to the bankers. Look at what they did in 2020, in the year of the pandemic, when we had our brothers here from Guayaquil dying, being buried in cardboard coffins, they were prepaying $2 billion to banks in Switzerland and the United States. Why? To leave the bankers calm and satisfied. That is the country we must overcome.

Rebuttal of Guillermo Lasso

Andrés, here is the list of all the officials of the Correa government who continued in the Moreno government, more than 70%. Don’t lie, Andrés, that’s your government. Take responsibility. Correa appointed Moreno, imposed him as president, and today he puts you, therefore, you are a trilogy, with a personal problem, which you will know why, but which is of very little interest to the Ecuadorian people.

Counter of Andrés Arauz

Very well, Lasso has already lost twice and is going to lose another chance. Perhaps, in this case just a little bit, another person should have been sitting there. Let us remember that this has been a key character, critical in the government of Moreno’s betrayal. Besides, you are very salty, with Mahuad, they knocked you down, with Gutiérrez, they knocked you down, and with Moreno look at the failure our country has.

Question from Andrés Arauz to Guillermo Lasso

Mr. Lasso, private clinics, at some point in the worst part of the pandemic, closed their doors to patients from the public system, supposedly for a couple of bills they were owed. Now, the leader of these private clinics is part of his government team. Are you looking for the privatization of health care? What role will Mr. Borrero play in his government? Is it your mission to destroy the public health of the country to be able to turn, once again, into a business of you and your partners? And finally, tell me if you know if Mr. Borrero was vaccinated or not, if he is part of that privilege list.

Response of Guillermo Lasso

Andrés don’t lie again. You repeat things that are totally wrong. I have nothing to do with the private clinic sector in Ecuador. I have nothing to do, I have no business with them. You are part of that political project that has a great ability to build false narratives to assassinate the reputation of the people, but Andrés we already know that because you were silent for 10 years when human rights were violated in Ecuador, when the rights of exactly the indigenous peoples and nationalities with which you claim to build a new plurinational system in Ecuador, were violated.

No Andrés, make no mistake, you were silent when the event of Bosco Wizuma happened with the prefect Guadalupe Llori. Andrés, Ecuadorians cannot believe you. You have to take responsibility of the last 14 years of government. You voted for Moreno. You were part of the fraud on April 2, 2017 and of course, now, you want to come back for more. Take charge of your responsibilities. Do not lie so much Andrés, it is very easy to verify all the lies that you have told tonight, in this debate.

Reply of Andrés Arauz

There is no lie when we say that you bought the traitor; there are the statements that he says he hates those who voted for him, precisely in the meeting with the bankers. I would like to work with you in the future, but I as President of the Republic and you represent the bank. We have to meet soon to see how they are going to lower those interest rates and stop charging those crazy commissions to the citizens.

Rejoinder of Guillermo Lasso

Andrés don’t lie again. You have an obsession with banking. This is a debate about the country’s problems. If you want, invite the president of the Association of Banks or the president of the Banco del Guayaquil to debate, but here you have to be serious. Interest rates will go down when there is a responsible president who builds trust, manages the economy, commits to keeping the dollar, and doesn’t play around with articles like the ones you’ve written.

Question from Guillermo Lasso to Andrés Arauz

Now, I’ll take a minute. Andrés, I don’t want you to answer me. In this case, Andrés, answer the wife of General Gabela, that General who was assassinated in very suspicious circumstances. Andrés, answer Lourdes Tibán who was vilely and cowardly dragged away by your supporters, Andrés, answer Manuela Picq, who was expelled from Ecuador under conditions of disrespect for human rights. Andrés here is something much more serious, answer my wife Andrés, answer María de Lourdes who suffered an attempted lynching with sticks, knives and machetes when leaving the Atahualpa Olympic Stadium, with me, my son, and my work team. Answer them Andrés, not me, what do you say to them?

Response of Andrés Arauz

Unfortunately, certain episodes that may have caused harm to your family are very regrettable, but here we are talking about the fact that in October 2019 there was a systematic violation of human rights. The Ombudsman has said that he is even going to accuse the Head of State and his ally María Paula Romo, for crimes against humanity. That is what we are talking about. They cannot be compared to a deportation, we are talking about extrajudicial killings, we are talking about abuse of people who protested, we are talking about motorcycles that rolled over the citizens who protested; and he knows why, all for wanting to satisfy the hurry conditions of the banking and international monetary fund. We want a sovereign policy, respectful of human rights, where we are going to work together with the peoples and nationalities to make the plurinational State a reality. You say that it is a new system, it is not a new system, it is in force in the 2008 Constitution. It is really regrettable that you, wanting to aspire to be the first public servant in the country, speak ill of the workers in the public sector and not even know the Constitution of Ecuador.

Rebuttal of Guillermo Lasso

You have not answered, Andrés. You haven’t said a single word to Lourdes Tibán or Manuela Picq or General Gabela’s wife. Nor have you said a word about the cowardly attack against my wife Andrés, and when you take out that little book of the Constitution you look very similar to Maduro, Andrés, just like Chavéz and Maduro. That is what we want to avoid in Ecuador, your symbols and your presence clearly remind us of a totalitarian system, Andrés.

Rejoinder of Andrés Arauz

Guillermo Lasso lives in the past and is also salty, salty, salty. When he worked in the Monetary Board, the bank bailout began, when he was in the Mahuad government he ended up generating the banking holiday, which harmed so many millions of Ecuadorians, when he was with Lucio Gutiérrez, he was there when they knocked him down and now with Lenín Moreno he took us to this failure. Guillermo Lasso, salty.

Question from Andrés Arauz to Guillermo Lasso

Well, since he did not answer anything about Mr. Borrero’s vaccination. I want to make a historical reflection so that Ecuador knows it. In 2008, Mr. Guillermo Lasso opened the Association of Private Banks of Ecuador and decided to face the political maneuver alone, it was there in a session in the National Assembly when I, a young official of the Ministry of Economic Policy, faced for the first see Guillermo Lasso; maybe you don’t even remember anymore. But on that occasion, I was also defending the public interest, the interest of all and facing someone who wanted to defend the interest of a few, simply from his pocket against the Financial Security Law. They put together a catastrophic scenario, but that Law was key to guarantee the stability of Ecuadorians.

Response of Guillermo Lasso

Andrés you go back to the past and that is clear to all Ecuadorians in this debate, that you are lying again, Andrés. Take care of that, because at your age it is very bad to create the image of someone who lies permanently. Here is the information that I presented to the Financial Crimes Investigation Commission, in April 2007, that commission created by your political father, chaired by, may he rest in peace, Eduardo Valencia, who clearly said that I had nothing to do with the bank holiday. For you to read later, I ask my team to post this voluminous information on Twitter. You insist on lying Andrés, that is part of the correista practice, seeking to assassinate the reputation of those who think differently from you, lying, building a story that never existed. Moreno, he is part, he is a political brother of yours. If you have a problem with Moreno, it is a personal matter. The urban legend says that there is a bad distribution there, your problem, there among whites, as the popular saying goes. But this, we must warn Ecuador, that you have to assume responsibility for the last 14 years of government in Ecuador.

Rebuttal of Andrés Arauz

So far, he has not told us anything about the vaccination of his vice-presidential candidate Borrero, why is it? Explain to us, then, what is a CDR, explain to us why in 2008 you opened the Association of Private Banks, if you are defending the interests of your pocket over those of the country. Explain to us why you have your money in tax havens, in the Cayman Islands, in Panama, why you have all that money outside the country, weakening dollarization.

Rejoinder of Guillermo Lasso

Don’t lie again Andrés. No, Andrés, don’t lie again. You are saying things that they told you to say, absolutely false, unreal. Here is the report, read it, take time to see what your government did, those responsible for the bank holiday were Correa officials, friends of yours who were there, colleagues in the Andrés Cabinet. Don’t lie again.

CA: Here is a [final] question from the debate committee. What is the virtue or quality that you value the most and why, and what is the anti-value that most revolts you and why?

Guillermo Lasso, Creo-PSC presidential candidate

Thank you very much. The virtue of work, honest and honorable work. I had to work since I was 15 years old, in the afternoons, to pay the expenses at the San José La Salle school, because I was born into a middle-class family. My father taught me the virtue of work, my mother taught me the virtue of work, she sewed, she cooked, she sold dresses that she made in our own home on her sewing machine. What makes me angry? The lie. When trying to change reality, say things different from reality, of course this causes an immediate reaction in me, the lie. For this reason, I believe that Ecuadorians have to be clear… honest work leads to success, the lie is only hatred, the destruction of the other. I promote the Ecuador of the reunion, that Ecuador where we all recognize ourselves with our differences and propose the meeting, that hug, that hand stretched out above hatred, discredit, lies, abuse. That is what I tell Ecuadorians: work as a virtue and lies as a vice.

 

Andrés Arauz, presidential candidate of the Unes alliance

Definitely dignity, all Ecuadorians have rights, natural rights, constitutional rights. We have rights to a decent life, to a decent job, to opportunities to prosper in life. It is not fair that in this immense pain, with a year of the pandemic, we have had to experience this lack of dignity, when the interests of a few were privileged over those of the great majority. We need that, recovering dignity, starting with good security, starting with a health system for all, not for a few or with sealed privatization. We need to regain dignity for Ecuadorian women and here if it saddens me, that a great example of my adversary’s lack of understanding of gender equality is simply analyzing the Banco de Guayaquil board of directors: not a woman depicted. This has repercussions because credit policies will not take into account the needs of women. We are going to have a parity government that focuses on the rights of Ecuadorian women and it is time as a society to recognize those rights and resume them soon, in the field of dignity. The anti-value, the lack of ethics, wanting to do business with everything they touch, I don’t like that.

Final message from the presidential candidate Andrés Arauz

“I would like to thank Ecuadorians by reminding them that it is a year since the pandemic. We have all made great sacrifices. We have had losses at an economic level, at the level of human lives, material losses, emotional losses. We have not been able to spend time with our loved ones We have lived with indignation, the return of the society of privilege, where a few took advantage of the suffering and pain of the great majority. I am part of a new generation. This generation of young people who want to renew politics. Leave these expired figures of the past, who have been in politics for 40 years. We want to propose innovative initiatives, with fresh ideas, with youth, with creativity, to serve Ecuadorian families. We are going to work, because Ecuador is a diverse country. And from the smallest territories of Ecuador, we are going to achieve it.”

Final message from presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso 

“Ecuadorians next April 11 is not just any day; we are risking the future of Ecuador. We choose who takes the past as a reference to guide us back to the future. We propose a democracy, living in freedom, an Ecuador of opportunities for all, an Ecuador of encounter, an Ecuador of prosperity, where each Ecuadorian feels sheltered by the national tricolor, where we can all sing the national anthem with civic pride, but having clear in our mind, the face of our children, the face of our grandchildren and the ethical obligation to fight for the future of Ecuador and leave behind this past of economic failure and violation of freedoms. We are going to change Ecuadorians, without fear and without complexes towards the future.”

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