Progressive Canadian Groups Slam Right-Wing Attacks on Democracy in Ecuador

Just days ahead of the highly anticipated second round of Ecuador’s elections, trade unions and other progressive organizations in Canada have called out right-wing opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso for raising the false spectre of election tampering.

“The high level of rhetoric by Lasso’s campaign, calling the government a ‘dictatorship’ and unsubstantiated claims of fraud are extremely concerning as they add fuel to an already tense political environment,” reads the statement signed by labor and other Canadian organizations.

Lasso and his contingent have been responsible for making claims of fraud in the election process, despite the Ecuadorean National Electoral Council and over 200 international observers continuing to reiterate that the elections were conducted with complete transparency and no formal reports of fraud.

In addition, on March 22, Ecuadorean journalists uncovered that Cedatos, an official polling company in the country, had published misleading polls that favored Lasso. Lasso, the former banker and a pro-business advocate of neoliberal policies, it was found, has close ties to the company.

“There is also an online petition which refers to the incident as an attack on the democracy in Ecuador and calls for the suspension of Cedatos as official pollster for the elections,” noted the statement, titled “Undermining Democracy in Ecuador.”

For left organizations in Canada that often extend international solidarity toward Latin America, these attacks on democracy by the right-wing opposition are concerning.

“We’re concerned with the process of legitimacy … we realize what’s at stake,” Mike Palecek from the CUPW told teleSUR.

“From Bolivia to Venezuela, throughout Latin America, we support the mass mobilization of people and their challenging of power,” he added, saying that the region is often subject to U.S. imperial interests.

The organizations’ statement highlighted leftist presidential candidate Lenin Moreno’s history of international activism, from his role as the U.N. Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility in 2013, to his promise to continue his party’s Citizen’s Revolution. Alianza Pais’ Citizen’s Revolution under current President Rafael Correa refers to the program of progressive social and economic transformation launched under the banner of 21st Century Socialism when his government took office in 2007.

In addition, the statement chided Lasso’s proposed changes, writing, “His neoliberal policies include the privatization of the education system through a ‘voucher’ system and firing some of the 300,000 public service employees in order to reduce the size of the state.”

Thus, the organizations conclude, “The attacks against the democratic order in Ecuador are extremely dangerous and unwarranted.”

“We call on Lasso and his party to respect the democratic institutions, process and refrain from unsubstantiated allegations of fraud and calls for street protests that could lead to social unrest,” they declared.

With Ecuador’s second round of presidential elections slated to take place April 2, the country stands at a critical crossroads. South America’s leftist resurgence — commonly referred to as the Pink Tide — has seen recent blows, with neoliberal governments in Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil rolling back progressive gains of recent years. If Lasso is elected as president, Ecuador would be set to course through that same trajectory.

However, all of the latest polls predict a win for Moreno.

For leftists in the country, the hope is that Ecuador will stay on its left-wing path of the past decade.

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