Neither Lenin, nor Moreno

The clear rejection by the Ecuadoran electorate of Moreno and everything he stands for is bound to perturb those who imagine that thеse countries and their ancient peoples are squatters in their “back yard.”

Few would dispute that Ecuador’s misnamed outgoing president’s mandate has been an unmitigated disaster. Curiously, it has turned out literally that both his names are in diametrical opposition to the political role he took it upon himself to play. The parents who idealistically named him after Lenin must be rolling over in their graves. While once opportunistically pretending to belong to the political Left, once entrenched in power their son turned into a fanatical avenger for the most odious version of neo-liberal capitalist dogma, which under his immediate predecessor Rafael Correa had been in full retreat. Moreno apparently has no ideological scruples or even political strategy whatsoever. He was far from just making tactical accommodations with opponents, the sort of manoeuvre for which his parents’ role model was famous. On the contrary, this “Lenin” was happy to serve as errand boy for his imperial masters, to whom he submitted unabashedly and with evident alacrity.

His surname is equally misleading and also was fully vitiated by his ghastly policies. Dr. Gabriel Garcia Moreno was one of Ecuador’s most distinguished statesmen and presidents in mid-nineteenth century. Far from being a subservient instrument of the powers that be of his day, Garcia Moreno was a dedicated servant of his nation and relentless adversary of its oppressors. For his audacity, he paid with his life in a cowardly assassination.

In the presidential elections just concluded on February 7, the Ecuadorian people at last had the opportunity to pass judgment on their current President (who with a popularity rating of 8% wisely decided not to run) and his government’s policies. The electoral landscape was quite interesting. Calling the Moreno regime to task for the country’s disastrous condition (rising poverty and inequality, extremely unfavorable monetary arrangements with the MMF, and repression of political dissidents, to name a few) is Citizens’ Revolution candidate Andres Arauz, a young economist whose philosophy is aligned with that of popular former President Rafael Correa. Moreno, incidentally, served as Correa’s Vice-President and was tapped to succeed him precisely as a close associate committed to continue his mentor’s legacy. The neo-liberal camp, appropriately, ran banker Guillermo Lasso whose program was more of Moreno’s economic and political poison. The third candidate, also third in the polls, is lawyer and indigenous activist Yaku Perez, and he is of particular interest. He is running on an “anti-mining platform,” promising to protect watersheds from pollution, an issue of great importance to the native Quechua population. Suspiciously, however, Perez also champions incompatible foreign policies (including indebtedness with international bankers and hostility to Venezuela) which broadly align him with Moreno and his North American puppet masters. (His features notwithstanding, Perez is as much an Ecuadorian “native” as Dmitry Trenin in Moscow is a genuine Russian.) That should give pause because it reinforces doubts that Perez was purposely commissioned to be a spoiler candidate, demagogically appealing to fellow members of the indigenous community to drain away votes that naturally would flow to the Correista Citizens’ Revolution movement, thus improving the electoral prospects of banker Lasso.

It appears at the time of this writing that the vote-splitting ruse may have been successful. While Andres Arauz, running on a platform of “21st century Socialism” and fidelity to ex-President Correa’s legacy, has won a resounding victory, it was nevertheless short of the 50% necessary to avoid a run-off. There may therefore be a run-off on April 11.

The clear rejection by the Ecuadoran electorate of Moreno and everything he stands for, in the wake of a similar development recently in Bolivia, though entirely predictable, is bound to perturb those who imagine that thеse countries and their ancient peoples are squatters in their “back yard.” Moreno’s hasty trip up north just two weeks before the election and his meetings there with high level operatives indicates the significance attributed to the polls both by the local minion and his imperial masters. After a partially successful rollback of populist governments in Latin America (Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela being conspicuously left over as “unfinished business”) now a reverse process is taking place. The rollback is itself being rolled back, with two important and mineral rich countries, Bolivia and Ecuador, in the forefront. This is a development that will not be viewed kindly, or passively, by the relevant agencies and departments.

As political treachery goes, Lenin Moreno must receive due honors as its poster boy. He betrayed the trust of his mentor Rafael Correa, feigning loyalty while plotting to undo his achievements. He betrayed also the simple and trusting people of Ecuador, who in 2017 naively voted for him only to get the exact opposite of what they had been promised. He also flagrantly betrayed the cause of humanity (as well as his own country’s laws) by obsequiously lifting the diplomatic immunity of the Ecuadorean embassy in London just long enough to enable the British police to kidnap journalist Julian Assange who, unbeknownst to many, is not just an Australian citizen, but Ecuadorean as well. Ecuadorean citizenship was conferred on him by the then President Correa at the time he took up refuge at the London embassy, as an extra measure of protection.

Lenin Moreno’s physical deformities are but a feint prefiguration of his moral turpitude.