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.

Que envidia. 

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!

Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.


  1. Part of the Lasso’s campaign speeches have been to portrait Lenin Moreno as the Correa’s Maduro equivalent and rightfully so.
    I am very happy with Moreno loss but we have yet to find out in the second round how far the Marxists in Ecuador are willing to cheat to remain in power, but fortunately, the opposition as a whole seems to be the majority and willing to unite to defeat Marxist Authoritarianism.
    I wonder in the unlikely and unfortunate event that Moreno gets elected, how much influence Correa would be.
    Venezuela Chavismo has become the poster child for what not to do in the whole region.
    I hope Mexico doesn’t forget that and don’t cozy up to populists like Obrador in a emotional reaction against Trump.

  2. Good Lord Quico, what a load of cobblers!

    It’s particularly striking when most of the articles you quote in your first paragraph say the opposite of what you claim:

    “long, mysterious delays in announcing the results” – the count got to 80% the first night, even before then it was clear that the margin for declaring a second round was razor thin, less than 1%. The CNE could certainly have adjusted peoples expectations of a quick result to reflect that they would have to count more than 99% of the votes cast to give a final result. But meh. The explanations given by the CNE point to spoiled / blank votes, missing signatures by returning officers, etc. Nothing particularly mysterious about it.

    If you think about it, there are better ways of having your candidate win than having him fall just short of the bar for election, right?

    “reports of cheating quickly denied by regime mouthpieces” – ehhh, you’re referencing an article published 3 weeks before the election? Really? wtf, man? Though I will admit that’s a bloody fast denial 😉

    “alarming military rumblings” – “el Consejo de Generales del Ejército Ecuatoriano llamó a los organismo competentes del Estado a velar por el respeto estricto a la voluntad de los mandantes, expresada en las urnas”, that’s the rumbling? Really, nothing happened here, no unexpected manoeuvres, no troop movements, no mysterious flights, nothing. Really nothing. SFA. (And yes, I would have noticed, check my IP address Quico).

    “passionate protests” – ok, I’ll give you this one, a consolation prize. Protests around the CNE in Quito and Guayaquil. Nothing dramatic, people went there after they knocked off work, seems to have been faulty good-humoured, the police closed the roads around the CNE to traffic so protestors wouldn’t be in danger, lots of people with mobile phones networking, uploading photos, videos, whatever. No riot police, no tear gas, no baton charges, nothing.

    “government-controlled National Elections Council” – government-mandated certainly, but controlled? The CNE seems to have done an OK job. Not great, they were obviously unprepared for a close result. Their press conferences basically repeated whet they had already published on then internet. They have a twitter account but they could have used it better.

    As for the rest of the article, Lenin Moreno might lose the second round, but it’s not a slam-dunk for Guillermo Lasso. The divided, feuding conservative candidates well and truly screwed the pooch, almost dropping out of contention already in the first round. To say Lasso is “very likely to rally the whole opposition” in the second round sounds like wishful thinking.

    And I want to take issue with this: “autocratic blundering”, given what the World Bank says – “Between 2006 and 2014, GDP growth averaged 4.3%, driven by high oil prices and substantial external financing. This stimulus enabled increased social spending and important investments, especially in the energy and transportation sectors, as well as in education. According to official country information, poverty declined from 37.6% to 22.5% during that period. The Gini Index decreased from 0.54 to 0.47, given that growth benefitted the poorest population more than other segments” – maybe the world could do with some more blunderers?

    Change is probably coming to Ecuador, no matter who wins the second round. There is more daylight between Lenin Moreno and Rafael Correa than is apparent from outside. And comparisons with Venezuela are misleading, you guys are truly in a league of your own.

      • You don’t need my opinion, when with a little searching you can find the differences documented, starting with when Lenin Moreno turned down the offer to be the VP candidate for the presidential term starting in 2013, and when he went on to criticise Rafael Correa, for being confrontational, mean-spirited, and vindictive, and that his anti-business attitude discouraged investment and keeps Ecuador’s economy dependent on revenue from non-renewable resources, especially oil. For this, there was talk of Lenin Moreno being censured or expelled from the governing Allianza Pais.

        Apart from being a possibly inspirational president, this makes it clear enough that he’ll be his own man: “he respetado al señor Presidente de la República mientras ha ejercido su mandato, exigiré igual, que todos los ecuatorianos, respeten mi mandato”.

  3. My wife is from Ecuador. This is definitely great news (although they are not out of the woods just yet).

    I am told there are at least two key factors that have kept Ecuador from becoming another Venezuela:

    First, as popular as Correa certainly was for a long time, he never (at least I am told) enjoyed the quasi-religious, reality impervious devotion that El Eterno did in Venezuela.

    Second, although Correa has indeed done some damage to democratic institutions, he was never able to completely purge the military.

    I’m told Lasso is not necessarily a great choice either, but that Ecuadorians are tired of Correa’s autocratic approach, $8b in debt to China, and outrageous taxation to try and keep up with payments. I guess we’ll see just how tired they are in April.

  4. Correa must be aware about what’s happened with Lula and Kirchner, to name just a local few, when they lost their power. You just don’t leave your high-ranking post if you are a gangster, and we are witnessing the ‘why’ of that with the notorious figures I’ve just named. How one Tibi Lucena or Iris Varela can become a ‘civilian’ without being either arrested by the newly-freed institutions or ending like Gaddafi by the hands of the population?

    This lifestyle they’ve chosen can only be a one way road. Ask Cabello.

    With that said, I’m hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

  5. Quico, did you know that Cuban intel agent Eve Winifred a.k.a. Venezuelan wannabe Eva Golinger fucked Assange in London? Of course you want the proof. She slept with him the night of the interview. Eva is now working for the Russians against Donald Trump.

  6. Es que parece que el dinero jala. o, no Pancho? I say that because it seems like only those that are opposed to a proud South America would speak and write like you do. I am a naturalized US citizen born Guayaquil. I can recognize the meddling of an empire in the affairs of a smaller nation like Ecuador. Cuba is proud and has survived for so long in spite of being isolated. Ecuadorian have benefited greatly these last ten years with Correa. The poor, the disabled, the old, the queer have all seen their lives improved during this government. There’s no way to deny that. I applaud that. I only wish Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil and yes Venezuela have the testicular fortitude to decide their own people’s path as well. Just let them do it without cheerleaders rooting for a team paid for by a red white and blue clown. Dare to dream brother(s), even if it is to the left! Avispate, no chamo? Yeah? yeah.

    • “Dare to dream brother(s), even if is to the left! I am a naturalized US citizen”

      But who’s said that we don’t?

      There’s not a single morning which I don’t wake up desperate to fulfill my leftist “American Dream” of becoming a proletarian in the US to help America to be great again just like you have been doing! However, very unfortunately, president Trump won’t allow us all in to be revolutionary like you are, Guillermo.

      • Guillermo, the true revolutionary! Did you lack the ‘testicular fortitude’ to stay in Ecuador and fight the imperial meddling?

    • I am a naturalized US citizen born Guayaquil…Cuba is proud and has survived for so long in spite of being isolated…Dare to dream brother(s), even if it is to the left!

      If you truly “dare to dream,” then why don’t you move to Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, or back to Ecuador? Like they say, put your money where your mouth is. But the money is so much better in the oppressive USA. It’s so much easier being a far leftist in a country where you do not have to suffer the consequence of far leftist policies. Funny, that.

    • Cuba is proud and has survived for so long in spite of being isolated.
      2 million tourists visit Cuba each year, and Cuba is isolated. 🙂 As they say in Venezuela, “decime/dime otro de vaqueros.”

      While you are a fanboy of Chavismo and the Castro Bros, I doubt that you have either extensively researched or actually lived in Cuba or Venezuela. Your praise of Chavismo, at a blog that has extensively documented the failures of Chavismo, is evidence that you have done very little research on Venezuela.

      Clifton Ross has written a number of articles for Caracas Chronicles. Ross left his home in the leftist utopia of Berserkeley, a.k.a. Berkeley, to check out “real existing socialism” by living in both Cuba and Venezuela. I recommend his book: Home from the Dark Side of Utopia: A Journey through American Revolutions.

  7. Here is an idea…move back to Ecuador to help Correa to continue the job of bettering your country. Believe me, the US will not collapse with you gone…

  8. Ooh I think I touched a nerve. Lordy, lordie… But just to clear it up, it wasn’t my choice to come to USA. I came as a child. I love the USA. But I’m not blind. Growing up here, has allowed me to see the world with a bigger lens and not be so insular. I think we should all aspire to not be myopic. El gran Bolivar lo veria asi. Others like Castro, Chavez and Correa did and are trying to do that as well. Try it.

    • But you have a choice now. Your talents should be put to better use in your country of origin, or in Cuba, or for that matter, Venezuela.

    • At the very least, you should live in one of those countries, specially Venezuela, for a year or two, to really get a sense of the wonders accomplished by chavez and company.

    • I can’t say I agree with you Guillermo, I think it’s a mistake to put Chavez, Castro and Correa in the same pigeonhole. You do that for your reasons, and the wingnut groupies with laptops attacking you do so for their own reasons too.

      How about this: Correa was the right man at the right time, giving Ecuador 10 years of stability and growth after 3 years with 9 presidents. He invested in infrastructure, in education, in providing efficient and from what I can see and what people tell me here, corruption free government services. He used oil revenue to do this, and things turned sour at the end when the oil price crashed and when the earthquake hit last year, both events outside of his control. Other politicians in Ecuador performed well, Jaime Nebot in Guayaquil for example with his urban renewal projects, they deserve credit for their accomplishments, and these don’t take away from Correa’s achievements. It’s not possible to claim that Ecuador isn’t better off than when he took power.

      After 12 years, the project is a bit stale, the economy is tanking, there is a perception that the public service has been “captured” by the governing party, but it’s very very far from being Venezuela. Correa is neither Chavez nor is Moreno Maduro. I’m familiar with both countries, and it’s not by dropping pins on Google Earth like Kiko and the groupies.

      • “He used oil revenue to do this, and things turned sour at the end when the oil price crashed and when the earthquake hit last year, both events outside of his control.”

        Not diversifying the economy was his fault.

        “It’s not possible to claim that Ecuador isn’t better off than when he took power.”

        The democracy isn’t better, the institutions have been weakened and occupied by criminals.

        • Good link, thanks Marc. Did you see where the corruption index was in 2007? And the trend since then? Doesn’t square with any of your assertions, unfortunately:

          About diversifying, fine, great idea. Ecuador is a big agricultural producer, bananas, cocoa, pineapples, sugar cane, rice, etc. I expect it takes some time to diversify away from a base like that. Look at the tiger economies, did they manage it in 10 years?

          You’re forgetting that Ecuador started under Correa from a very low base.

    • Oh, you really, really, should come to Venezuela. I think that you need a really good dose of “patria” Chavista style. If you survive, you might have actually learned something.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here