In the most impassioned speech of his young presidency, President Lenin Moreno said Saturday that he will govern by listening to the people, not by following a “rigid, preordained philosophy” that relies on an authoritarian approach to meet its objectives.
“Our government has just begun but we face the enormous job in restoring true democracy, getting rid of corruption of the previous government, and reestablishing the trust of the people,” the president said at the 9th anniversary of the signing Ecuador’s constitution in Montecristi.
Moreno lashed out again at former president Rafael Correo for leaving an economy “deeply in debt” and a government that was “out of control.”
The anger in Moreno’s speech surprised many at the anniversary ceremony, especially members of Moreno’s and Correa Alianza Pais who remain loyal to Correa. It was clear, observers said, that Moreno was setting the table for the questions to be included on a national referendum.
Among the questions to be announced today is one on term limits that could block Correa’s return to the presidency.
“He (Correa) said he left the table served but, instead, we found it bare,” said Moreno. “Instead of a healthy balance sheet, we were served with a crippling debt,” the president said, adding that he intends to repay all of it. “Ecuador is a country that honors its obligations and even though I do not agree with the way the debt was engaged, I am committed to repaying it.”
Moreno pledged to eliminate the corruption left behind by the previous government. “We will pursue those who profited from corruption and they will be punished. We will follow the money and get back as much of it as possible for the people of Ecuador. But justice will be pursued through the courts and it will not be a vendetta,” he said.
A consequence of the corruption, the president said, was substandard quality and missed deadlines on major capital projects. He cited construction problems at the oil refinery in Esmeraldas and at Yachay University in Imbabura Province.
“Most of all, my job is to regain the people’s trust in their government,” Moreno said. “It is my pledge to listen to the people, and I will listen to all of the people, not just a small group of elites.”