Friday, February 5, 2021

Ecuador to vote on Sunday (Feb. 5, 2021)

 Ecuadoreans head to the polls Sunday -- just over 13 million eligible voters will have a record 16 presidential candidates to pick from. Polls put lefist Andrés Arauz and business-friendly Guillermo Lasso at the head of the pack, in an ideologically polarized battle to head the country. Both leading candidates are making increasingly grand promises to woo an electorate battered by high unemployment and growing poverty, reports the Financial Times. The new president will have to manage a country afflicted by economic malaise and the coronavirus pandemic. (Associated Press)

The third-placed candidate is environmental leader Yaku Pérez, who, if elected, would be the country’s first indigenous president. He could become the kingmaker in a runoff vote. The election is unlikely to be decided outright, a second-round will be held in April if neither candidate passes the 50 percent mark or 40 percent with a 10 point advantage.

Arauz, 35, is a protege of former president Rafael Correa, who was kept off the ballot due to a corruption conviction, reports AFP. Arauz has promised a socialist approach, and pledged to disburse $1,000 to a million families during his first month in office. He is opposed to austerity measures such as an end to fuel subsidies, which triggered massive social unrest in 2019.

Lasso, a third-time candidate, will likely stick to the austerity policies adopted by current President Lenin Moreno, in exchange for International Monetary Fund loans.

Pérez’s rise is surprising in a country where less than 10 percent of the population identifies as indigenous, and indigenous candidates have not traditionally had success in national elections, wrote Brendan O'Boyle in an Americas Quarterly profile earlier this week. Experts credit a broad political agenda that appeals to leftist voters who don’t want to see Correa make a comeback through Arauz.

More Ecuador
  • On Sunday residents of Cuenca, Ecuador's third-largest city, will also vote whether to ban major mining projects within municipal limits. While there are no big mines operating in the area yet, the referendum threatens to derail more than 40 concessions seeking to tap gold, silver and copper reserves, reports Bloomberg.
News Briefs

  • The U.S. Biden administration reaffirmed U.S. recognition of opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president and ruled out negotiations anytime soon with President Nicolás Maduro, branding him a "dictator" and calling for free and fair elections. (Reuters)
  • A new approach is needed, argues Francisco Toro in the Washington Post. Pursuit of redemocratization of Venezuela must be tempered with an appreciation that it likely cannot occur in the medium term. "For the next two years, the objective should be not to change the regime but to induce it to change its behavior."
  • This week Chile and the Dominican Republic joined the European Union's International Contact Group, which reiterated "that the only way out of the crisis is to resume political negotiations promptly and to urgently establish an inclusive Venezuelan-led dialogue and transition process leading to credible, inclusive and transparent elections in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the laws of Venezuela."
El Salvador
  • The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered precautionary measures for 34 members of independent newspaper El Faro, after finding evidence that staff rights are at risk and the situation is grave. The resolution obligates El Salvador's government to investigate threats, harassment and other actions that put reporting at risk.
  • Former FMLN councillor José Berrios was murdered in Tierra Blanca this week. Though authorities say the homicide was not politically motivated, the news adds to commotion following a shooting after an FMLN rally last weekend and ahead of elections later this month. (El Diario de Hoy)
  • The shooting, in which two FMLN supporters were killed, has escalated the political crisis in El Salvador, reports El Faro, with President Nayib Bukele accusing the Attorney General's office of covering up evidence and turning the investigation of the crime, perpetrated by Ministry of Health bodyguards, into a weapon against his government. Yesterday, the National Civil Police (PNC) published a Twitter thread claiming that the Attorney General’s office sought to lie to the public and hide evidence. In response to these developments, Attorney General Raúl Melara announced his intention to submit a formal request for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to intervene in reviewing the evidence collected in the investigation.
  • In the case of Sunday’s shooting, by openly disputing the attorney general’s assessments, the PNC may have overstepped its legal purview in an effort to sway public opinion in favor of the president’s interpretation of events, notes El Faro. The PNC even placed a paid advertisement, potentially with public funds, promoting the president’s interpretation on social media.
  • Tensions are high ahead of Feb. 28 elections, in which voters will select lawmakers and mayors. Bukele and his Nuevas Ideas party hope to obtain a supermajority in the Legislative Assembly and thereby consolidate power in two branches of government, reports El Faro.
  • The Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador's Supreme Judicial Court blocked one of Bukele's Nuevas Ideas party candidates, who has been accused of harassing a politician from an opposition party. Vice World News reports on Bukele's controversial Twitter responses to the ruling, which included a profile picture of Sacha Baron Cohen's character from the film "The Dictator," and a photograph of masked soldiers holding large weapons.
  • But the ruling could have a boomerang effect in the medium term, argues Tim Muth at El Salvador Perspectives: "the practice of disqualifying anyone for whom criminal charges are pending but there has not been a conviction can quickly become a tool for an unscrupulous prosecutor against political opponents. When the prosecutor is an ally of the president, the ability to prosecute rivals is a favorite tool of tyrants."
  • Check out “Unforgivable”, a new short documentary by Marlén Viñayo, portrays the extraordinary, taboo romance between two former gang members incarcerated in a prison where Evangelical inmates shun them for being gay. (El Faro, the Economist)
  • The root causes of Central American migration, that the new U.S. Biden administration hopes to target, have only worsened in recent years, "thanks largely to nefarious nonstate actors and corrupt and exclusionary states," writes Charles Call at the Brookings Institution Blog.
  • Nicaragua's ongoing political crisis requires a multilateral approach -- the U.S. and like-minded stakeholders should leverage President Daniel Ortega’s governance and economic fragility to push for a long-term resolution to the current political crisis, argues a Heritage Foundation report.
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s approach to the virus has put Mexicans in danger, writes Human Rights Watch's José Miguel Vivanco in Univisión.
  • This week's Americas Quarterly podcast features John Otis discussing ongoing violence in Colombian rural communities – and how the pandemic has emboldened organized crime.
  • Brazilian mining giant Vale signed an agreement to pay $7 billion in compensation to the state of Minas Gerais, two years after the collapse of one of its dams killed 270 people, also causing vast environmental damage -- Wall Street Journal.
  • Brazil's Bolsonaro administration ignored repeated sales offers from a state health institute working with Chinese pharmaceutical for millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines last year, according to an investigation by Piauí.
  • South America accounts for roughly 15 percent of the world's reported Covid-19 cases, but less than 3 percent of the global vaccine doses administered so far, according to data collected by Oxford University. Vaccine diplomacy, led by China and Russia, will play a key role for countries in the region. The CoronaVac, made by Chinese company Sinovac, is already part of large-scale distribution in Brazil. Russia's Sputnik V vaccines has been embraced by several countries including Argentina and Bolivia. But broadly, regional delivery of vaccines is messy and unequal with no coordinated approach, reports CNN. (See yesterday's briefs.)
  • Peruvian President Fernando Sagasti said his administration had locked in a deal with Pfizer to purchase 20 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine. (Reuters)
  • The Mexican government announced this week that more than three million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Russia and the World Health Organization’s COVAX platform will arrive in February to speed up the country’s immunization program. (EFE)
  • Desperation mounted in Mexico yesterday as the country runs out of coronavirus vaccines, a government registration website crashed for a third straight day and restaurant workers protested virus restrictions they say are driving them into poverty -- Associated Press.
  • Chile started a mass inoculation campaign Wednesday, after receiving a shipment of nearly 4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech. (EFE)
  • Bolivia's lower chamber of Congress passed a health emergency bill that reinforces the Government's authority to regulate the prices of medicines and services in private health centers to curb speculation. (Telesur)
  • The pandemic has exposed long-standing fragilities in Latin America -- "The region’s health-care and social-protection schemes are fragmented and unequal. Its economies have stagnated for the past six years, largely because of low productivity. Political systems are discredited. Citizens are angry. People sense that Latin American democracies cannot carry on like this. The question is how much and how quickly can they change," according to The Economist.
  • Ecuador's election kicks off a busy electoral year in the region, notes the Economist separately. Chile, Haiti, Honduras, Peru and Nicaragua are due to hold national elections . Chile will elect a constitutional assembly. Argentina, El Salvador and Mexico will hold legislative and regional votes.
Did I miss something, get something wrong, or do you have a different take? Let me know ... Latin America Daily Briefing

1 comment:

  1. There are some natural remedies that can be used in the prevention and elimination of diabetes totally. However, the single most important aspect of a diabetes control plan is adopting a wholesome lifestyle Inner Peace, Nutritious and Healthy Diet, and Regular Physical Exercise. A state of inner peace and self-contentment is essential to enjoying a good physical health and overall well-being. The inner peace and self contentment is a just a state of mind.People with diabetes diseases often use complementary and alternative medicine. I was diagnosed with diabetes .It was at work and  feeling unusually tired and sleepy. I borrowed a cyclometer from a co-worker and tested at 760. Went immediately to my doctor and he gave me prescriptions like: Insulin ,Sulfonamides,Thiazolidinediones but Could not get the cure rather to reduce the pain but bring back the pain again. i found a woman testimony name Comfort online how Dr Akhigbe cure her HIV  and I also contacted the doctor and after I took his medication as instructed, I am now completely free from diabetes by doctor Akhigbe herbal medicine.So diabetes patients reading this testimony to contact his email   or his Number   +234 802  501 2866   He also use his herbal herbs to diseases like:SPIDER BITE, SCHIZOPHRENIA, LUPUS,EXTERNAL INFECTION, COMMON COLD, JOINT PAIN, EPILEPSY,STROKE,TUBERCULOSIS ,STOMACH DISEASE. ECZEMA, GOUT, PROGENITOR, EATING DISORDER, LOWER RESPIRATORY INFECTION,  DIABETICS,HERPES,HIV/AIDS, ;ALS,  CANCER , TUMOR MENINGITIS,HEPATITIS A AND B,ASTHMA, HEART DISEASE, CHRONIC DISEASE. NAUSEA VOMITING OR DIARRHEA,KIDNEY DISEASE. HEARING  LOSSDr Akhigbe is a good man and he heal anybody that comes to him. here is email    and his Number +234 901 075 4824