By Ramiro Carrillo (dpa)
HAVANA TIMES — On Wednesday, socialist Lenin Moreno, from the governing Alianza Pais movement, will become the constitutional president of Ecuador. He says he is open to creating a dialogue with all sectors, including opponents, who he is reaching out to, reported dpa news.
“In order for this victory to be overwhelming and to tell them that we have all won, here I reach out my hand so that we can work together, it doesn’t matter what party you belong to, we are going to work together with the Citizen Revolution, because there will be a lot for us to do,” Moreno said when he spoke about all sectors coming together after his victory at the polls.
The new leader has promised “a change of style”, both in domestic and international affairs, which will be in line with “a new concept of leadership that his government will follow.”
Sixty-four year old Moreno was born in the Amazon region of Ecuador and moved to Quito as a child. His parents baptized him Lenin Voltaire, a striking name in the capital but it was quite common in a rural context.
He graduated in Public Administration and is an expert in laughter therapy, a subject he has written a dozen books or so about, including “Trompabulario” and “Riase, no sea enfermo”.
Moreno studied medicine for four years, but he abandoned his studies once he reached the conclusion that this wasn’t his vocation, just as psychology wasn’t, a degree he left after studying it for three years.
In 1988, during an assault, he received a bullet to his spine which left him paraplegic and tied to a wheelchair.
He is one of the initial promoters of the Alianza Pais movement, which led by Rafael Correa and Moreno as Vice President won the presidential elections in 2006, and took office in 2007.
Moreno was VP until 2013, a position which he used to push projects for disabled people, which Ecuadorian society recognized him for and he came to have some impact internationally.
His main programs were the Manuela Espejo Foundation, which had a vast program for the disabled and the creation of the “Joaquin Gallegos” elderly subsidy. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012 because of these social endeavors.
When he left the vice-presidency, his performance in office had a 98% approval rate, according to a Confidential Report survey.
His work led to his assignment as a special UN ambassador for the disabled in Geneva; where he worked in this role until 2016, to then go on to accept the presidential candidate nomination.
When the press found out that his time in Switzerland had been financed by the government, he had to face a scandal which affected his public image, especially because his daughter also worked with him at the consular office.
An Alianza Pais movement assembly nominated him as their presidential candidate in October last year, when sitting vice-president Jorge Glas, was also chosen as his running mate.
His encouragement for dialogue and political reconciliation has won the recognition of the majority of Ecuadorians, although he has also had scrapes with opposing political sectors, as well as with Correa himself.
Moreno didn’t agree with Correa’s opinions about the national media and pointed out the fact that the leader’s confrontational attitude wasn’t “justifiable”.
With regard to Ecuador’s media law under Correa, he criticized some of the rulings and in this current campaign announced that he would promote some reforms in order to make it “better”.
“Reaching out my hand to all Ecuadorians who want to establish a dialogue” is Morena’s proclamation, in contrast to Correa, who polarized political forces and considered the wealthy classes and media to be his enemies.
Moreno is a fan of the Quito football team Aucas, a fan of popular poetic music and a follower of Joan Manuel Serrat, whose song “Caminante no hay camino”, based on a poem by Antonio Machado, is his personal anthem.
He has been married to Rocio Gonzalez for the past 20 years, with whom he has three daughters.