Carlos Sánchez Berzaín
(Interamerican Institute for Democracy) The upcoming elections in Ecuador this coming 19th of February (19F) will be conducted under the framework of 21st Century Socialism (SSXXI) that has instituted fraud and an illegal advantage to favor the ruling party, deprive the people of basic conditions of democracy and prevent these elections from being honest, free and fair. Rafael Correa burdened by his responsibility for Ecuador`s crisis and tainted by corruption directs the campaign of his candidates Lenin Moreno and Jorge Glas making it amply evident that he is going all out to ensure he gets away unscathed. Ecuador will regain democracy this coming 19th and will rid itself of dictatorship and thus ultimately defeat fraud and corruption.
The 21st Century Socialism (SSXXI) electoral model applied in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua is designed so that there are elections, there is voting, but the ruling party always wins. To be able to offset the ruling party`s fraud the opposition`s margin of victory in the polls must be overwhelming just as it happened in the 2015 congressional elections in Venezuela or in the Referendum Elections of the 21st of February in Bolivia. We are now faced with the alibi that dictatorships in the region, born out of the Castro-Chavez affair, present themselves as democracies arguing that people voted them in when in reality they took away fundamental democratic features from the electoral process, features such as “honest, free and fair elections based on universal and secret voting rights as an expression of the people`s sovereignty” as drafted in Article 3 of the Interamerican Democratic Charter.
In the 19F elections Ecuadorean voters will get five ballots to elect; the President and Vice-President of Ecuador, national legislators, provincial or state legislators, members of the Andean Parliament, and the fifth ballot a referendum dealing with fiscal safe havens. The battle is focused in the election of the President and Vice-President this is why the “institutionalized fraud to simulate democracy” includes as a minimum; the control of electoral and judicial agencies whose members respond to the regime`s whims, changes in the percentages needed to be elected stating that in order to win the first round all that is needed is 40% of “valid votes” with a lead of at least 10% over the second, the manipulation of voters` registration to the point that from a total population of 16 million Ecuadoreans there are 12.4 million voters registered which means that in Ecuador over 78% of the population supposedly vote, the disqualification of candidates such as Villavicencio and others, the use of the whole of the State`s resources to favor the ruling party`s candidates with Correa as Campaign Manager, the use of the State`s means of communications and the Government`s resources to campaign for the ruling party to the detriment of other opposing parties, the complicity and electoral favors by the government.
There are complaints that over 1 million deceased are registered to vote and could help the regime, because the weakest link in the chain is the system of tallying the valid, null, and blank votes. The news journal El Universo has published the opinion of electoral mathematics` expert German Rojas who claims that if 20% of voters` ballots are annulled or left blank, the President and Vice-President may be elected on the first round if they have 32% of the total votes (including null and blank ballots) and if the runner up has less than 24%. This way “not even a third of the electorate would elect a president because instead of using the absolute majority as a benchmark for the total of votes, this would be calculated from the total of what is known to be valid votes”. The electoral system with such a vast the number of voters registered, would be preordained so that the ruling party with only 32% of the votes “win fraudulently the elections” and elect Lenin Moreno and Jorge Glas in the first round of voting.
Having summarized fraud we can now address the issue of corruption which has reached scandalous proportions. The so-called “Lava Jato” case, among others, reveals the corruption birthed out of the Sao Paolo forum, in other words the corruption created by this forum using the
Workers` Party governments of Lula and Rousseff in Brazil and spread over the entire region incriminating Rafael Correa and his government as revealed by the U.S. Department of Justice indicating that Odebrecht paid 35.5 million dollars in bribes in Ecuador. Correa has reacted asking for the “benefit of an inventory” (!?) and has implemented policy –through a ruling party Attorney General`s decision- that would preclude revealing the names of the persons that received the bribe moneys, or that were involved in the commission of those bribes. He has been successful, thus far, to hide the names of anyone from his inner circle who may be involved, or deny his own involvement or as it is pointed out by the social media the names of his candidates to the presidency and vice-presidency? In this case Correa is accused to be at the least an accomplice to cover-up and as the saying goes “it appears that the one that covers may be the one covered”.
There are other corruption scandals such as the Petroecuador case corroborated by claims from its former chairman Capaya against his own government and more precisely against the candidate Jorge Glas, as reported by the Miami Herald and other news media which make it urgent the need for the ruling party`s candidates to win the 19F elections on the first round, a goal that can only be accomplished through fraud. Rafael Correa`s need to impose Lenin Moreno and Jorge Glas` victory in the upcoming elections grows perhaps out of his fear that he may follow in the footsteps of Alejandro Toledo, the former president of Peru who is now accused in the Odebrecht corruption scandal and who now has an arrest warrant, and there is a handsome bounty for his capture.
In a second round of voting the ruling party`s candidates have no options. If results from the 19F elections call for a second electoral round, whoever is the runner-up candidate; in all likelihood will be the winner and, therefore, the next President of Ecuador. In real terms, and based on all polling conducted –including the polling sponsored by the government- Ecuadoreans want change and SSXXI`s dictator Correa has more than two thirds of all Ecuadoreans against him and for justified reasons.
Published in Spanish by Diario las Américas on Sunday February 12th, 2017