It had all the markings of a stolen election: the long, mysterious delays in announcing the results, the reports of cheating quickly denied by regime mouthpieces, the alarming military rumblings, the passionate protests, the government-controlled National Elections Council, the shady-as-hell intrigues.
For 72 hours after Sunday’s vote, Ecuador teetered on the edge of authoritarian involution, as Rafael Correa’s former vice-president, Lenin Moreno, came just short of the 40% plurality he would’ve needed to avoid a run-off he’s likely to lose.
If Lasso does win the second round, Venezuela will be left with a grand total of one true ally in South America.
His conservative rival Guillermo Lasso is seen as very likely to rally the whole opposition and win a second round, so the Correa government’s best chance was to hang on to a first-round victory by hook or crook. They tried, they failed.
With each far-left leader that falls in Latin America, chavismo looks lonelier and more isolated. If Lasso does win the second round, Venezuela will be left with a grand total of one true ally in South America: the geopolitical powerhouse known as Bolivia.
The seachange in regional politics is profound. Just Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua are left behind: Caribbean autocracies seemingly consolidated into a failed model as the rest of the region picks up the pieces and moves on.
We should be clear: relative to the utter debasement of the Venezuelan state, economy and society, the damage Rafael Correa’s brand of autocratic blundering has exacted from Ecuador has been mild. He never played in our league, but then, when it comes to unnecessary self-immolation, we play in a league of our own.
Now Ecuador is on the cusp of turning the page. Good for them!