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Nonsense about Ecuador published by Jacobin


Jacobin published an awkward translation of an interview Decio Machado gave in Spanish about Ecuador’s recent presidential election.

The right wing candidate, Guillermo Lasso, was rashly proclaimed the winner by a few of Ecuador’s private TV networks based on an exit poll by one private pollster. They ignored another exit poll that showed the opposite result.  When the official results came in showing Lasso had lost by two percentage points, his camp immediately cried fraud. Lasso’s claims were so ridiculous that he could not even get OAS bureaucrats who reliably serve Washington to back him up. Observers from Lasso’s party signed off on the results as they were tabulated – basically putting their signatures all over a process they later tried to discredit. Recounts underway have confirmed Lasso’s defeat to Lenin Moreno, a very close ally of the outgoing president, Rafael Correa, who has been in office since 2007.

Remarkably, when asked about the election, Machado deflected blame for Lasso’s cynical antics onto Ecuador’s electoral body (the CNE):

Do you thing [sic] that the protests by the right-wing party CREO after the elections, led by their presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso [against supposed electoral fraud] will have any concrete effect?

Personally, I think they lack the militant muscle necessary to sustain a prolonged mobilization against recognizing the legitimacy of the electoral results. However, it’s a fact that large sectors of the country are unhappy with the electoral results and the aptitude for bad will on the part of the National Electoral Council does not do anything to help the situation.

In the second round, as in the first round, when accusations of electoral fraud on the part of the opposition were sharpening, we saw that the website of the NEC itself was disabled. These are unpardonable errors for an institution that is under suspicion in wide sectors of Ecuadorian society.

So circumstances will have to change a lot in current Ecuadorian politics, or the scenario will possibly be that the next government has a weak profile, one that is questioned as illegitimate, in a discursive strategy that will surely be articulated by the most reactionary sectors of the country.

This in conjunction with the fact that Alianza País has become very unsexy for many Ecuadorians over the last several years, who are no longer enamored with the government’s platform.

Is it an “unpardonable error” for a supposed leftist to let a right wing politician and oligarch-owned media off the hook for trying to discredit a clean election?   

For sensible and competent evaluation of Correa’s ten years in office see this paper by CEPR. Correa’s team has been vastly more competent than many of its “left” critics who have been sniping at it in front of international audiences.

Having been hit with huge external shocks (an incomplete list of them includes the global recession for 2009; a huge and sustained collapse of its most important export, oil, since late 2014; the appreciation of its currency which it cannot control, the US dollar; and a massive earthquake in April of 2016)  the government still defeated Lasso (and his private media allies) because it protected the most vulnerable from those shocks.

Here is another whopper from Machado:

Is it possible to infer any pattern of electoral behavior by the middle classes?

I still have not been able, in a detailed way, to analyze the Ecuadorian vote by social strata and specific populations. Still, it is worth pointing out that there exists a certain discourse among a set of regional supporters of progressivism that is very critical with respect to the middle classes. They understand the vote in Argentina, in Brazil, and now here in Ecuador, as a betrayal, or an act of ingratitude, with respect to governments that have developed public policies that have allowed a part of the popular sectors to be incorporated into the so-called middle classes.

There was no “vote” in Brazil. There was a parliamentary coup follow by an unelected president pushing through a brutal right wing program voters constantly rejected at the polls. Does this count as more “unpardonable error” or sloppiness from Machado – or something worse?

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