Although Ecuador did not join seven other Latin American countries in condemning Sunday’s national constituent assembly election in Venezuela, it also did not support the government of President Nicolás Maduro.
The public statement by Foreign Relations Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa, calling for a “process that seeks peace in Venezuela” represents a break from recent Ecuadorian support for the embattled Venezuelan president.
“The public statement was significant because there was no explicit support for Maduro,” said University of Guayaquil political science professor Oscar Revel. “During the government of Rafael Correa, almost all statements concerning events in Venezuela contained support for Maduro. This is a subtle but significant change and represents (President Lenin) Moreno’s discomfort with Maduro’s attitude and policies.”
In her statement following Sunday’s election, Espinosa said, “Ecuador respects the inalienable right of the people of every country to choose their political, economic, social and cultural system as an essential condition for ensuring peaceful coexistence between nations and consolidating peace.”
The statement went on promote “public dialog to overcome disagreements” and to reject “violence in any form.”
Ecuador did not join Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Paraguay in condemning the election and calling it “undemocratic.” The vote on the creation of the constituent assembly, which will rewrite the country’s constitution, was called by Maduro in the midst of two months of deadly protests. In Sunday’s election, voters were not given the option of rejecting the measure.
Two international election observer organizations said that between three and four million voters went to the polls on Sunday to vote for members of the constituent assembly chosen by Maduro. In an unofficial election organized by the opposition-controlled National Assembly two weeks ago, the observers said that eight million Venezuelans turned out, with 97% casting “no” votes for the constituent assembly.