april 18, 2017
Carlos Sánchez Berzaín
(Interamerican Institute for Democracy) Results from the second round of voting in Ecuador were quickly backed by the Organization of American States (OAS). Before 24 hours had elapsed from the closing of the ballot boxes, the chief of the Observers’ Mission, former Dominican Republic’s president Leonel Fernandez, stated “to have accepted the results” and was followed by Secretary General Luis Almagro’s ratifying such “acceptance in favor of the ruling party’s candidate Lenin Moreno”. Two weeks have passed and the OAS’ backing of the official results turns out to be at the least somewhat premature as shown by the proof of electoral fraud that has motivated massive protests and dissatisfaction of the Ecuadorean people who now demand the need for the OAS to amend their support for the sake of transparency and legitimacy.
Days before April the 2nd the day of the second round of voting, on the 26th of March, the opposition’s candidate Guillermo Lasso declared to the media to have sent to the OAS’ Secretary General, Luis Almagro, “reports on the country’s electoral situation” explaining that he had sent Almagro “a whole narrative of what was taking place in Ecuador that was the prelude of an intent of fraud” adding that “I cannot appeal to any of the Correa backed institutions, because they control it all”. Lasso indicated that “Ecuador is living under the dictatorship of one political party” that controls everything, that “controls justice, the prosecutors, the comptrollers and the electoral functions, among others”. This is an initial complaint against institutionalized fraud.
Ana Mercedes Diaz, the Venezuelan expert on electoral matters was persecuted in order to prevent her from acting as an electoral observer and was forced to seek refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador and leave the country afterwards, publicly and at first, denounced the existence of “electoral fraud due to the lack of the ISO 15504 audit system”. Diaz further explained that ISO 15504 is an audit system of the software that handles the register tallying voting results that must be run before and after an election with the objective of “detecting algorithms” that can automatically change the data on the electoral records.
Ecuadorean and international public opinion and obviously the OAS were informed on the fraud before the balloting took place. They were informed of a violation of Article 127 of the Democracy’s Code by the “breakage of the control procedures of electoral results” (chain of custody) with a change to Police involvement and the introduction of a “contractor” responsible for scanning the results and aggravated by the fact that the third copy of the scrutiny record aimed for the people and political parties “does not have the numbers the original and second copy have”. In the preelectoral atmosphere Ecuadorean’s feelings of suspicion were not lacking regarding the leanings of the chief of the OAS’ Electoral Observer Mission, former president of the Dominican Republic (a Petrocaribe’s country) who regarded Fidel Castro as “a solidary friend…” and affirmed that “Hugo Chavez forms part of our dream of a free and in peace Latin America …”
Ecuador with Rafael Correa is part of the 21st Century Socialism (SSXXI) led by Cuba and comprised by Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua. Secretary Almagro has issued two extraordinary reports on the situation in Venezuela and the inexistence of democracy in that country. His reports showed the control the executive power has over all other powers which has resulted in the disappearance of the “separation and independence of the branches of government” which further resulted in “the inexistence of the rule of law”, they also showed there are political prisoners and exiles, and the violation of human rights. A great part of the Almagro reports on Venezuela are applicable to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua, countries where the SSXXI has carried out as a “political manual” all procedures and processes that have taken Venezuela to the crisis it now endures.
In these (2017) elections in Ecuador all elements of the institutionalized electoral fraud that took Nicolas Maduro to power in Venezuela were replicated with extraordinary accuracy (they also apply, with variances, to the elections for Evo Morales in Bolivia in 2014 and for Ortega and his wife in Nicaragua in 2016). The beginning of fraud starts with voter’s registration, the total control of institutions, the manipulation of the National Electoral Council (CNE in Spanish) to depend from the government and therefore NOT BE IMPARTIAL, the disqualification of opposition’s candidates through legal means, threats, bribery, the use of resources and means of the State by the ruling party’s candidates, “the staging of an electoral system favorable to the ruling party”, the involvement of “international observer friends” and more. The post balloting fraud is the same that we now accuse Ecuador of.
All results at the ballot boxes in the second round of voting in Ecuador yielded Guillermo Lasso as the winner and when the “CNE’s system” began to operate things suddenly changed to favor the ruling party, despite all early warnings and proof of fraud presented by the opposition’s candidate. The Ecuadorean people with their massive expressions of protest have already delegitimized the official electoral results and if things remain the same with the demonstrated fraudulent victory of Lenin Moreno, he will be one more dictator of the SSXXI lacking any legitimacy and legality. This situation will aggravate the political and economic crisis in Ecuador that soon will be similar to the one in Venezuela, but now “with the backing and the legitimacy of the OAS”.
The OAS needs to correct its position and recommend the recounting of each and every vote to be reconciled with the original report at each of the ballot boxes. This is the only way to give back to the Ecuadorean people the assurance that the OAS’ commits its prestige as an observer of “free and fair elections” reflecting on the universal vote as an expression of “popular sovereignty” as mandated by the Interamerican Democratic Charter among the essential features of democracy of which Secretary Almagro is the most noteworthy champion.
Published in Spanish by Diario las Américas on Sunday April 16th, 2017