The only face-to-face meeting between presidential candidates Guillermo Lasso and Lenin Moreno was cancelled Saturday by the event sponsor, the Ecuador Red de Maestros, or Network of Teachers. The event, officially called a “dialog,” had been scheduled for tonight.
The cancellation followed a demand by the network, which is sponsored by the government, that both candidates sign and notarize statements that that they or their families have not been involved in acts of corruption or keep asset in off-shore tax havens.
Moreno agreed to the demand but Lasso contended that it was not part of the agreement he signed Friday to participate in the dialog. “The terms were agreed to yesterday and I see no need to add new conditions after the fact,” Lasso said. “The new request is obviously politically motivated. All my financial affairs are public record and I have hidden nothing. I have no reason to proclaim my innocence when I’ve done nothing wrong.”
The teachers’ network conceded that the demand for the notarized statement came after the original agreement between the network and the candidates had been reached. “The request came from our youth division and we agreed that it was important enough to be a condition for the dialog.”
Lasso said he took a chance by agreeing to participate in an event hosted by the pro-government teachers’ group. “I was aware something like this could happen, knowing the nature of the sponsor, but I agreed because it was the only the opportunity for the people to see both candidates together,” he said.
“It should be clear by now that this government and its supporters do not operate in good faith.”
In its response to Lasso’s refusal to submit the notarized statement, the teachers’ network said: “We regret that the candidate Guillermo Lasso has not accepted the requirements that we have established for participation in the 2017 Ecuadorian Presidential Dialog and that with his language is inciting social violence and disrespect for the teachers of Ecuador.”