Lenin wins in Ecuador

Observers from international organizations have reported that Ecuador’s elections Sunday were transparent and asked Ecuadoreans to calmly wait for the final results, as opposition candidates have launched accusations of fraud and threatened destabilization if the left-wing front-runner Lenin Moreno wins in the first round.

With 93 percent of votes counted, Alianza Pais’ Lenin Moreno leads the race with 39.11 percent of votes, close to the 40 percent that he needs to avoid a second round, and more than 10 percent ahead of conservative banker Guillermo Lasso of the right-wing CREO party, who has 28.38 percent.

If Moreno doesn’t reach the threshold he will have to face Lasso in a runoff vote on April 2. Lenin Moreno told supporters that the fight for Ecaudor’s Citizens’ Revolution will continue.

Moreno’s coalition, Alianza Pais, was founded by Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa in 2006 as a political movement promoting “Socialism of the 21st century”.

For the past 10 years Moreno, Correa, and other AP activists have led a remarkable transformation of the country, what the party calls a Citizens’ Revolution, which has seen poverty cut in half.

Moreno — who while in university was a member of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left and was active with the forajidos” movement which helped topple President Gutierrez in 2005 — changed the country’s old policies of exclusion for people with disabilities. He also created an innovative program of subsidies for those working as caregivers for relatives with disabilities.

Moreno has himself been in a wheelchair since being shot in 1998 and in 2013 he was chosen as the U.N. Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility. He currently leads the Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities at the Organization of American States. In 2012, Moreno was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his human rights activism.

During the campaign, Moreno vowed to continue the work of President Correa, who in May will finish his second term as president under Ecuador’s new constitution.

For the past 10 years, Moreno and Correa’s social and economic policies have lifted 1.5 million people out of poverty, tripled government tax revenue, expanded universal health care and education, and made advances in controlling unemployment.

Ecuador’s presidential election comes as South America has seen a right-wing government elected in Argentina, the ouster of President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, and ongoing attacks on the Pink Tide of leftist leaders that swept the continent beginning with the election of President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 1998.

Analysts have argued that the social gains ushered in by the rise of left-wing governments such as Ecuador’s have sparked a vicious right-wing destabilization campaign throughout the continent as old elites aim to reclaim power.

However, the right-wing has been predicting the end of the so-called Pink Tide for over a decade, grasping at every defeat as evidence of an inevitable, soon-to-come collapse.

What they seem unable to recognize is how Latin America — even those countries with more right-wing governments — has been permanently changed over the last 15 years. Its regional identity and cooperation have been strengthened and it is no longer at the beck and call of the U.S.

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