Well, Ecuador elects a new president this Sunday. But the odds are that no candidate will get enough votes in the first round for outright victory (there are 16 candidates!).
So, there will be a run-off in April. Oddsmakers say it will likely be between Rafael Correa’s buddy Andrés Arauz and Lenin Moreno’s nemesis, Guillermo Lasso. So, either a tilt to the right or a jump back into the far, far left of Ecuadorian politics.
For me, Lasso is the obvious better choice. I think Andrés Arauz is naive and would let Correa destroy any chance he had of being a good president.
Lasso came close in 2017, so maybe he will have the votes he needs this time to get across the finish line.
Either way, what really struck me during this election campaign, in addition to the fact that it was so short, is that every one of the candidates said they won’t support the IMF loans as they stand now. It’s almost as if they missed the memo, “Hey, we had a lot of high interest loans from the former government and now we are paying them off with new low-interest loans.”
I know it’s all politics, but it would have been nice for one of them to say, “Well, this government did an amazing job of restructuring the debt. Now we need to cautiously study how we move forward as we take the next tranche of cash.”
Because for all the things people want to complain about with Moreno, his government set up the next government for success. He finally got part of the fuel subsidy removed. He restructured billions of dollars in debt. He ran 32 corruption trials. He even put a former Vice President in jail for corruption, based on real evidence.
Had it not been for the pandemic, the country would have been in great shape for the next man (or woman).
From an international standpoint, lenders (other than China) actually wanted to loan money to Ecuador again. If you recall, it had been locked out of those resources during the Correa years.
So, all in all, Moreno left things in better shape than he got them (Correa left a lot of corruption and debt in his wake).
Regardless, the next person will take over in May and see how things really are. There won’t of course be any apologies to Moreno for the things that have been said about him during the campaign. Maybe there will be a nod to some of the things his government accomplished.
But probably not.
So, this one ex-pat, who means very little to this country, will say it here.
Good job Moreno. You did okay.
Now, I’m going to go start printing those “Do you miss me yet?” bumper stickers with a shaded silhouette of Moreno, taken from behind, in his chair, as he heads off into the sunset. They are gonna sell like hotcakes next year.
I’m just sayin.’