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Note to Reuters (Alexandra Valencia) about Ecuador. No – not Venezuela this time


Hi Alexandra:

I find it remarkable how this article glosses over Lenin Moreno’s extreme hypocrisy and cynicism. 

He is literally doing the opposite of what he said he would do as a candidate when he ran as staunch Correa loyalist and defender of the government’s record – a government he was a part at the highest level for 10 years.

Some examples  here and here.

Moreno did not campaign on scaremongering over public debt, scrapping term limits, abolishing a land speculation tax despised by Ecuador’s elite, much less disparaging Correa’s legacy – all things Moreno did after his electoral victory [in April].

As I explained in detail in this piece, Moreno’s apologists (who now dominate both public and private media) have used outrageous arguments to justify forcing through a referendum without a ruling by the Constitutional Court.

Guillaume Long, in  resigning from Moreno’s government, mentioned that “recordings that have emerged over the last few days, featuring discussions that took place during meetings amongst members of the Constitutional Court, reveal that there was a plot to prevent the Court from ruling on the unconstitutionality of at least two questions you presented.”

Long also wrote “the proposal to eliminate the Council for Citizen Participation and Social Control (CPCCS) means the establishment of a transitional council appointed by you. This council will in turn name Ecuador’s judicial authorities and those responsible for state audit mechanisms and controls. Is this intended to enhance your power to persecute your political enemies?”

In fact, control authorities have exchanged text messages joking that they are “hunting” for Correa

Moreno’s defenders have frequently resorted to a “Correa did it too” line of defence [which is false and a lousy argument even if it were true]. Your article seems to echo this tactic in saying “Correa himself in 2008 commissioned a team of experts to study the country’s prior debt operations.” 

The 2008 commission looked into years of bank bailouts and other polices that led to the implosion of Ecuador’s banks and, as a result, its entire economy in 1999. Moreno, in contrast, is looking to discredit economic policies that were very successful in reducing poverty and dealing with external shocks but despised by the rich.

Joe

PS: The article states “The former president is leading a campaign for the “No” vote in a Feb. 4 referendum on constitutional reforms include a measure to prohibit indefinite re-election, a measure Correa created that allowed him to run for a second term.”

The abolishment of term limits for all elected officials happened in 2015 when Correa was already into his last term in office. His party’s supermajority at the time was used to make the constitutional amendment.  A “transitory” provision was included saying that current officials (including Correa) could not use the amendment to seek another term in 2017. Correa insisted on that to rebut critics who claimed he was seeking another term.

No reply so far from anyone at Reuters to my note.

It is also worth mentioning that Ecuador is a poorer country than Venezuela and, like many countries in Latin America, has a higher child mortality rate than Venezuela according to data very recently published by UNICEF which is updated to 2016. That would shock many people who rely on outlets like Reuters to be “informed” about the region, especially by scanning headlines. According to UNCEF, Venezuela’s is still above the regional average for Latin America and the Caribbean despite the economic depression Venezuela has been going through for the past few years.

UNICET+update2017_u5MR_la_ranks

Like Bolivia, which is even poorer than Ecuador, but has also made significant progress under a left wing government over the last 10 years, Ecuador has been spared the tsunami of negative headlines directed at Venezuela because it is not as important a target to Washington. Another reason is that so many left wing governments came into office in Latin America in the 21rst century. It would have been very stupid to try to attack them all at once with the same level of intensity. In fact, for many years Lula in Brazil was hailed by western pundits and politicians as part of the “good left”. The insincerity of that stance was exposed when Lula’s successor Dilma Rousseff was deposed in a parliamentary coup (winked at by Obama’s administration) and the unelected right wing government then deployed legal pretexts to attack Lula.  

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