Threat of the ‘cross death’ divides the National Assembly; Some fear replacing Lasso with Correismo

Apr 21, 2023 | 10 comments

Major disagreements are emerging in the National Assembly coalition that seeks to impeach President Guillermo Lasso. The conflicts follow Lasso’s renewed threat, made earlier in the week, of using the so-called cross death to dissolve the Assembly and call new elections.

Ecuador’s National Assembly

Members of the Assembly’s Social Christian, Pachakutik and Democratic Left delegations objected Thursday to a Correista (Union of Hope) statement welcoming the cross death. “The cross death is a valid response to the serious political crisis and internal commotion we face in Ecuador,” the statement said, adding that “the sooner it is invoked, the better.”

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Correista Assemblyman Roberto Cuero said he did not fear the cross death. “Bring it on, do it now, since it will mean he [Lasso] will be out of office in a few short months.”

Among those disagreeing was Social Christian Jorge Abedrabbo. “This is not the democratic solution for the country and it could lead to disastrous effects,” he said. “The cross death is not in the political or social interest of any sector since it can lead to unintended consequences.”

A member of the Democratic Left delegation who asked not to be identified told an Ecuavision reporter that the Correistas see the cross death as their path to return to power. “Let’s be honest, they have the most effective political machine in the country and we saw this in the February elections,” he said. “Although we support them in the impeachment and some other issues, there are serious concerns about them taking over the government.”

Following up on Abedrabbo’s concern of “unintended consequences,” the assemblyman asked, “Did anyone notice the poll that 75% of voters would support a candidate like [El Salvador President Nayib] Bukele to fight the criminal gangs? There is no guarantee that Rafeal Correa’s people will take over the government.”

Leader of the Assembly’s Pachakutik bloc, Salvador Quishpe, didn’t mind making his feelings public. “Yes, there is a lot of concern about what follows the cross death or the impeachment of the president,” he said.  “The Correistas are licking their lips and rubbing their hands about the prospect of coming back to power. On the other hand, indigenous people remember what they did to us before. We remember that they were our enemy.”

Quishpe is advocating the formation of a new political movement made up of the indigenous, campesinos, students and workers. “Ecuador needs a new approach, a broad platform of national agreement and consensus. We don’t want another political machine with a selfish agenda running the country.”

It is unclear what the disagreements mean for the effort to oust Lasso. The unnamed Democratic Left assemblyman says support remains strong for impeachment. “Most of us have not changed our position that the president should go although it’s not certain we have 92 votes,” he said. “The question is what comes afterward that we worry about.”

He adds: “Of course, if we go to the cross death it’s a new ball game.”


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