Ecuador News

Presidential runoff campaign gets down and dirty as Lasso and Moreno exchange charges; Correa says he might invoke the ‘death cross’

Only two days after the election commission officially announced the April 2 runoff, both of Ecuador’s presidential candidates were claiming that the opposition was playing dirty. Even president President Rafael Correa got into the act, suggesting he may invoke a little-known constitutional prerogative, “the death cross,” if things get out of hand.

President Rafael Correa admits campaign frustrations.

CREO candidate Guillermo Lasso charged Alianza País’ Lenin Moreno with employing the “dirtiest politician in Ecuador — President Correa.” Moreno shot back that he was sick and tired of Lasso campaign social media attacks on himself and his family and that he wasn’t going to take it anymore.

Correa’s reference to the “muerte cruzada,” or death cross, came in an interview in which he said a Lasso victory, which he conceded was “very possible,” could lead to a political crisis. Sounding like a reference from an early Star Wars movie, the measure can be used by a president in extreme situations to dissolve the National Assembly and order new elections, including one for president. “It is very unlikely that this would be necessary, but if the opposition misbehaves in an extraordinary way, it is a presidential option,” Correa said.

Lenin Moreno

If the death cross were to be employed, Correa said he might consider running again for president.

Speaking in Cuenca and Quito, Lasso repeated his promise to repeal many of the new taxes added during the Correa administration. “They have strangled the Ecuadorian people by restricting the ability of business to grow and prosper and to increase employment.” Among the taxes Lasso says he would eliminate are the exit fee on money wired out of the country or carried out by travelers, luxury taxes on imported goods, surcharges on imported goods, and the recently imposed “plusvalía” tax on real estate capital gains. He also claimed that the government, under Moreno, will not roll back the one-year VAT tax increase, from 12% to 14%.

Guillermo Lasso

In stops in Manabí Province, Moreno said he would concentrate his efforts to assist the under-represented in Ecuador, including the poor, the handicapped, and the elderly. He pledged more funds for housing for first-time buyers and charged that a Lasso administration would eliminate funds for health, education, and elder care. “He would return the country to the dark ages, where the wealthy have all the advantages and none of the responsibilities,” he said. Late in the afternoon, responding to Lasso, Moreno promised that the VAT tax would return to 12% in May and that all surcharges on imported goods would expire, as planned, in June. The VAT tax was increased last year following the April 16 earthquake.

In his interview, Correa said that the Petroecuador scandal was the reason the presidential election is going to a runoff. “We lost two points because of that, all lies, of course, otherwise Lenin wins in the first round,” the president said. “We can expect more of the same in the coming weeks.”

  • Andrew William Bridge

    Another poorly written article full of juvenile grammatical errors. Smh

    • KeithB

      H.L. Mencken once wrote that “pedantry is the domain of the constipated and those who lack the ability for deep thinking.” I just read the article and thought it was very well crafted. Yes, I spotted three typos but they didn’t detract from the presentation of information. So Andrew, go take a laxative and a chill pill while you’re at it.

      • Mike Smith

        Thank you KeithB. I read the article and thought it was well written as well. It is a shame some people feel the need to find fault in everything. Go away Andrew William Bridge. No one is impressed with your so called editorial prowess.

  • Tommy H.

    Nobody mentions gas prices. If gas was $1.48 when oil was $105 per barrel 2-3 years ago, then why has the price stayed the same now that oil is $55 per barrel? It stands to reason gas should now be roughly $1 per gallon here. No candidate talks about this, it seems, yet gas prices are very much a “bread and butter” issue.

    • john

      Gas has been 1.48 for 16 years. Oil prices have changed alot over that time period .

    • Ron Wilson

      Gee Tom, $1.48 sounds pretty damn cheap to me. I just came back from a visit to the UK where it costs about $4,75 (rough conversion from litres and pounds) — and that’s the lowest it’s been in many years. It makes sense to me for the Ecuador gov’t to save on its subsidy while it can.

    • Burt Johnson

      Huh??? Gas is subsidized and way below market prices now. How in the world do you think it should go down further??

      If anyone talks about it, they should be talking about removing the subsidy and letting the gas to to market prices, which would be a drastic _increase_ in price at the pump.

      • Ron Wilson

        I agree with Burt. With the economy in the dumps Ecuador can’t afford the subsidy. Just don’t expect Lasso or Moreno to make the suggestion before the election.

      • Jason Faulkner

        Right, because a farmer who grows corn shouldn’t consume his own corn for his family’s use. He should sell it to the commodities market and then buy it back at the “market” price.

    • William W. Taylor

      The gasoline is subsidized as is the propane… Correa has made noise, about removing the subsidies, but backed off due to public reactions.

      • Jason Faulkner

        He only made noise about removing the LP subsidy, which is scheduled to end in July. That’s because Ecuador invested billions in becoming energy independent and now that it’s done, there’s no reason for the government to continue to subsidize imported LP when induction kitchens run on home-grown electricity.

        • Bartalemo

          He also said the price of super was going to increase 2 cents per month, but it never happened.

    • Jason Faulkner

      Ecuador didn’t pay $105 per barrel, they sold it for that amount. The gas price is based on the actual cost of production (minus a subsidy) to Ecuador, not the value of oil on international commodity markets.

      Lasso talks about it. He wants to eliminate the subsidy. Expect the price to double if he’s elected. In fact, you can rest assured that water, electricity, fuel and IVA will all go up if the neoliberals are allowed back into power.

      • Bartalemo

        Ecuador has NEVER gotten $105 per barrel for their oil.

        • Jason Faulkner

          Nobody has. That’s the spot price. The whole point of a commodity market is to always pay below the spot price.

  • vamos por mas

    If you like getting IESS health insurance for $64 a month you better hope that Lasso IS NOT elected president.

    • ecexplorer

      True. All the Correa haters may get their just reward. Not that he is perfect but he is one of the reasons that the gringos that come here to live on the cheap can do so.

      • lorenzo

        Ecuador has always had a much lower cost of living than in the USA. What’s sad is that so many older gringos come here just for that reason. Sometimes it’s their own irresponsibility for not knowing how to save for retirement.
        Another remedy would be if the USA could fix it’s own health care system.