ECUADOR’S TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT AND THE NEED FOR A NATIONAL COVENANT
By Carlos Sánchez Berzain*
When Lenin Moreno Garces was sworn in as Ecuador’s President on 24 May of 2017, he was to provide continuity to the ten plus years in which Rafael Correa had turned Ecuador into a “21st Century Socialism’s -or Castroist Chavist’s- dictatorship”. Correa had turned over to Moreno a country without the rule of law, without separation or independence in the branches of government, without freedom of the press, with judicialized persecution, with political prisoners and exiles, corruption, narcotics’ trafficking, terrorist relationships, and in crisis. In less than two years, President Moreno has dramatically changed the conditions and leads a “transitional government” in a State that now needs a “National Covenant” of governmental policies.
In 2012, Ecuador’s former President Osvaldo Hurtado published his book “21st Century Socialism’s Dictatorships – the Ecuadorean Case” in which he denounced Rafael Correa’s dictatorship. He demonstrated that “Hugo Chavez in Venezuela since 1999, Evo Morales in Bolivia since 2006, Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua since 2007” “assumed power through the free vote of the citizenry, but that once in place in the government, they fenagled through several successive small coups d ‘etat to reject the legal framework under which they were elected and established, instead, a political system contrary to democratic principles”.
Transition is “the act and effect of passing from one state to another different” and it implies change. A government transitioning to democracy faces “a process of transformation of the rules, of the mechanisms of participation, and of political competition” to get back the essential components and general conditions of democracy. This is the role assumed by Lenin Moreno in Ecuador who, without anyone expecting it, executed a governmental plan that he never offered but that the Ecuadoreans were demanding it. The toll tag that Moreno is paying for this is the brutal campaign to discredit him by those most impacted, Correa and his accomplices.
From Lenin Moreno, who was elected in elections suspected of being marred, people expected; either a term of continuity, deferential to Correa, or a brief mandate and the succession of his Vice President Jorge Glass, for the same objective. None of this happened because Moreno chose to defend and restore the principles and values of freedom and democracy and started and executed a process of tearing down the dictatorship in order to restore institutionalism, the rule of law, the separation and independence of the branches of government, to have an independent justice system, to regain freedom of the press, and more.
The dictator is no longer at the helm, but the dictatorship’s apparatus still exists and it is still very strong because it has lots of power and resources with which it seeks impunity and the retaking of the government. The transition towards democracy that Lenin Moreno leads, affects many interests and threatens the freedom and the ill- gotten estates of those who, along with Rafael Correa at the head, committed very serious crimes, practically incurring in all types of penal offenses, with treachery and the re-incidence of governmental involvement.
In this scenario, President Moreno’s power, undermined by the permanent conspiracy of Rafael Correa and his operators, is limited and permanently threatened, even more yet, when some of the opposition -not from the Correa faction- would appear to be bent on dealing with the Moreno administration as though it was a prolongation of the dictatorial regime, attacking the leader of the transition with things that he is liberating Ecuador from.
Ecuador’s problems are several, but in a transition the two essential themes -as was shown by the Moncloa Covenants- are the legal and political framework for the restoration of democracy and the economy. Correa has left behind in his country a dictatorial system’s guidelines and officials established to oppress, commit crimes, and cover these up through legal fallacies, but he has also left behind a country in a situation of economic crisis, with an extremely high foreign debt, corruption and a development policy. To solve these issues to return to normalcy should be “the State’s Policy” in other words “the main strategy of the country”.
A national covenant is a meaningful agreement of all democratic actors, the government, and the opposition, over the most important national problems that must be consensually acted upon and be dealt with as “State’s Policies” that does not change independently of the ideology or position of the political parties that assume power. The Moncloa Covenants allowed Spain’s transition from dictatorship to democracy and are an example to take into account to obtain a necessary -even urgent- consensus that does not involve ideologies, but the survival.
*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.
Published by infobae.com Sunday, April 14th 2019
“The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author”
Translated from Spanish by; Edgar L. Terrazas, member of the American Translators’ Association, ATA # 2346