Social Justice Advocate Triumphs in Ecuador
by Stephen Lendman
With around 97% of votes counted, ruling social justice Alianza PAIS candidate Lenin Moreno leads right-wing Western favorite Guillermo Lasso by a 51.11 - 48.89 per cent margin, according to Ecuador's National Electoral Council (CNE) - calling the process fair and transparent.
Moreno claimed victory as Ecuador's next president. As expected, Lasso alleged fraud, saying:
"They've toyed with popular will. We are going to defend the will of the Ecuadoran people in the face of an attempted fraud that aims to install what would be an illegitimate government."
No evidence suggests fraud. Plenty indicates Sunday's election was open, free and fair. Lasso and his right-wing allies straightaway orchestrated street protests in Quito (Ecuador's capital) and Guayaquil, at times clashing with Moreno supporters, celebrating their candidate's triumph.
Addressing them, he said "(f)rom now on, let's work for the country, all of us…We will continue this process that has changed Ecuadoreans' lives, especially for the poorest citizens."
Ending his 10-year tenure as president, Rafeal Correa said "I'm leaving the country in good hands…The revolution has triumphed again in Ecuador."
"It's a decisive moment for the region because of the extreme right-wing's reaction in the last years" - referring to right-wing Mauricio Macri's election in Argentina, Brazil's coup d'etat regime, and anti-Bolivarian disruption in Venezuela.
Moreno was Correa's vice president from 2007 - 2013, before serving as UN Disability and Accessibility special envoy.
In 1998, he was seriously wounded in a Quito robbery attempt, paralyzed, unable to walk. Years of therapy restored his ability to move around in a wheelchair, able to continue public sector work.
As vice president, he greatly increased the federal budget for disabled Ecuadoreans. Hundreds of thousands are helped.
As president, he promised to expand social justice programs. Lasso opposes them, beholden to monied interests.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro congratulated Moreno on his triumph, saying "the Citizens' Revolution triumphed."
Bolivian President Evo Morales tweeted "the united people of Ecuador triumphed before the empire and its submissives."
Former Argentine President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner said she spoke to outgoing President Correa, "convey(ing) greetings to his government and (her) affection for the Ecuadorean people."
Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, ousted by a Hillary Clinton-orchestrated coup, said Latin America's conservative shift was broken.
Moreno's triumph was important for WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, given asylum in Ecuador's London embassy since 2012 - to avoid unjustifiable extradition to America where a sealed indictment awaits him for truth-telling.
Lasso promised to expel him within 30 days of taking office, if elected. Moreno will allow him to stay.
On Sunday, responding to Lasso's threat, Assange tweeted "I cordially invite (him) to leave Ecuador within 30 days (with or without his tax haven millions."
Last week, Ecuadorean media accused him of facilitating capital flight to weaken the economy and rally support for his candidacy.
Other reports indicated he conspired with US officials to undermine Correa's presidency, according to WikiLeaks.
On May 24, Moreno will succeed Correa as Ecuador's new president. He's advised to watch his back. He'll have no allies in Washington.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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