Ecuador: Lenin Moreno, the Troubling Successor to Rafael Correa

A possible consequence of this rupture between Correa and Moreno might be that the later digs deeper into exposing the Odebrecht case, putting the former in a compromised position.

By Rafael Rojas  (Confidencial)

Lenin Moreno (c)  File photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Two Latin American countries, whose governments signed up to “21st century socialism” – I’m dismissing Cuba because its socialism has never left the 20th century or, to be more specific, the Cold War – have passed on power: Venezuela and Ecuador. But, there has been a fundamental difference between the two: in Ecuador, the leader of the so-called “Citizens’ Revolution” is still alive and he is constantly intervening in the Andean country’s public arena, from his home in Belgium.

Over recent weeks, President Moreno has emphasized his standing apart from Correa, in two areas especially: economic politics and anti-corruption strategy. He is interested in connecting the Ecuadorian economy with international sources of credit and investment, by restructuring finances and leaving rent-seeking practises behind. And he is interested in bringing transparency to a government that was mixed up in the Bolivarian proselytism network for 10 ten years.

The dismissal of Jorge Glas, the vice-president in the last stretch of Correa’s presidency, who passed in the same role onto the new administration as a guarantee of continuity, seems to mark the point of no return in the rupture between the former president and his successor.

Using his traditional language, Correa has accused Moreno of being a “demagogue, incompetent leader, clown and a liar.” He isn’t only referring to Moreno’s transparency project, which includes investigating Odebrecht’s operations in Ecuador, but it’s clear that this is what most annoys the former leader.

In a video published on O Globo, Ecuador’s former comptroller Carlos Polit and Jose Conceicao dos Santos, Odebrecht’s CEO, appear, while the latter claims that Glas had asked for large sums of money for family contracts, managed by Ricardo Rivera, and for the last presidential campaign. Then, audio taken from another conversation was made public, this time between Glas himself and Conceicao, during the last election, when Odebrecht was offering several million USD to Ecuador’s vice-president.

File photo: Rafael Correa

Even though the videos are quite explicit, especially that of Rivera and Conceicao, Correa and Glas are denying all allegations. We are talking about contracts, loans or bribes that were transferred during Correa’s last presidential term, in favor of his vice-president, making the leader’s involvement even more likely. However, the former president’s reaction has been to defame his successor, opening up a gap that is becoming harder and harder to close.

A possible consequence of this rupture might be that Moreno is digging deeper into exposing the Odebrecht case and puts Correa in a compromised position. The break in relations could also cast a shadow on Ecuador’s foreign policy, at a very delicate moment like the one the region is currently experiencing because of the Venezuelan conflict. We’ll have to take a close look at what Quito says at the next ALBA summit, scheduled to take place in San Salvador.

One thought on “Ecuador: Lenin Moreno, the Troubling Successor to Rafael Correa

  • If Correa had not specifically identified Moreno, it would have been difficult to know which of the “socialist” South American leaders he was referring to when he said that Moreno is:
    “a demagogue, incompetent leader, clown and a liar”
    Who would you have guessed?

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