Ecuador Swears in Moreno as President to Succeed Correa

24/05/2017 Lenin Moreno was sworn in as Ecuador’s president on Wednesday and promised to maintain Rafael Correa’s leftist policies while ending his predecessor’s sharp attacks on critics, including the press. In a ceremony that paid homage to the charismatic but divisive Mr. Correa, Mr. Moreno said his government would maintain expansive social programs. But he also said he would seek political consensus and defended freedom of expression while calling on lawmakers to be less ideologically rigid. “I don’t see a major reversal of policy with Moreno,” said Sebastian Hurtado, president of Profitas, a Quito-based political-risk consulting firm. The Wall Street Journal  […]

South America’s indigenous groups used to line up with the left. Not anymore.

12/05/2017 Venezuela’s political crisis spilled over into the spirit realm this week, when the governor of the state of Amazonas threatened to put a shamanic curse on President Nicolás Maduro and his administration. Broadcast live on the Periscope app, the threat was mostly political theater. But it pointed to a broader problem for South America’s long-ruling leftist governments. The indigenous minority groups fighting mining, deforestation and oil drilling in the region used to see left-wing leaders as their natural allies in a mortal struggle against global capitalism. Now, many see those leaders and their parties as just as rapacious as any foreign corporation, if not more so. […]

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa Sees Latin America’s Left on the Mend

06/04/2017 QUITO, Ecuador—President Rafael Correa has watched one after another of his leftist Latin American allies get impeached, beaten at the polls or excoriated as antidemocratic, as his own government faced growing disenchantment amid an economic downturn. This week, he hailed a reversal in that trend as Ecuadoreans elected his preferred successor, former Vice President Lenin Moreno, in a tight race against a conservative rival. The outcome, he said, highlighted the left’s resilience at a moment when analysts see the region’s politics moving to the right. “I think it marks an end to that change,” Mr. Correa said in an interview Wednesday at the presidential palace. “We’ve won in very adverse conditions.” The Wall Street Journal   […]

A kinder, gentler leftist aims to bridge angry divisions after Ecuador win

03/04/2017 QUITO, Ecuador — As a candidate, Lenín Moreno ran as a sunny, conciliatory figure, a leader who would preserve President Rafael Correa’s left-wing policies without his pugilistic, domineering style. Moreno’s nice-guy skills will now be put to the test. Moreno squeaked to a win in the presidential election Sunday, an outcome that triggered street protests amid cries of fraud from his opponent, Guillermo Lasso. Although election authorities have not officially declared Moreno the winner, his 51 percent to 49 percent advantage — with more than 99 percent of the ballots counted — looked insuperable. “Moreno is less rigid and ideological than Correa, but whether or not he can be conciliatory will also depend on the stance of the opposition,” said Sebastian Hurtado, a Quito-based political analyst. Wahington Post    […]

Ecuador Heads to Polls in Tightly Contested Presidential Race

02/04/2017 QUITO, Ecuador—Ecuadoreans headed to the polls Sunday to vote for a new president in a tightly contested election that could determine the future of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Almost 13 million Ecuadoreans are expected to vote for a successor to President Rafael Correa, choosing between the leftist leader’s former vice president, Lenin Moreno, and conservative ex-banker Guillermo Lasso. The vote is the latest test for Latin America’s left, which has seen its power wane following a decline in economic growth. If elected, Mr. Lasso says he will evict Mr. Assange from Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he has lived since Mr. Correa, a vocal critic of U.S. foreign policy, granted him political asylum in 2012. The Wall Street Journal  […]

Ecuador’s ruling party candidate takes lead ahead of presidential vote

24/03/2017 BOGOTA, COLOMBIA The presidential candidate from Ecuador’s ruling party has pulled ahead in key polls ahead of the April 2 runoff that will determine the fate of the country’s decade-long “Citizens’ Revolution” and President Rafael Correa’s socialist legacy. A series of polls released this week give Lenín Moreno, Correa’s one-time vice president, a lead over former banker Guillermo Lasso. In particular, polling firm Cedatos, whose closely-watched polls accurately predicted the Feb. 19 first-round vote, puts Moreno ahead for the first time since its runoff polling began. In a survey released Wednesday, Cedatos said Moreno has 52.4 percent of the valid votes versus Lasso’s 47.6 percent. A month ago, Lasso had a four-point lead in the race. Miami Herald  […]

Ecuador Faces New Choices in Presidential Election

17/02/2017 Voters in Ecuador go to the polls Sunday for the first time in a decade to elect a president other than Rafael Correa, opening a new chapter for a tiny country that had grown accustomed to the leader’s free-spending, often combative ways. The front-runner is Mr. Correa’s former vice president and favored candidate, Lenin Moreno, 63, who represents a continuation of the left-leaning views that have been losing popularity in the region in recent years. Mr. Moreno is expected to get the most votes on Sunday, but fall short of securing enough support to avoid an April 2 runoff against one of his seven opponents. ‘There is an important desire for change. A second-round victory for the government is much more difficult.’ —Sebastian Hurtado, president of Profitas, a Quito political-risk consulting firm The Wall Street Journal  […]

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