Elections in Ecuador: Andrés Arauz, the young man who jumps to the rescue of the Citizen Revolution
The economist assured that if he wins the presidency, he will face the health emergency, the economic crisis, while democracy recovers and the path of development is resumed
This week the name of Andrés Arauz began to resound in the headlines of the media, a young man who — at 35 years old — enters the race for the Presidency of Ecuador and the recovery of a betrayed country that entrusted its vote to Lenin Moreno, the candidate who should have continued with the project started by former President Rafael Correa, founder of the Citizen Revolution.
Arauz, who becomes the main candidate of the ‘Correismo’, does not arrive alone. This young man from Quito is accompanied precisely by Correa (2007–2017), who is running as vice president. The pair is supported by the Union for Hope (UNES — Unión por la Esperanza) coalition in the elections scheduled for February 7, 2021.
Arauz’s candidacy occurs in the midst of all the obstacles placed by the Moreno regime against Correa, who has been the main objective of the current president, by turning the former president into a politically persecuted victim of judicial persecution also known as “lawfare” .
The media begins to portray the ‘correista’ candidate as an agent of change with capacity and youth. And even though he will turn 36 just one day before the elections, he already has a long academic and managerial career in different institutions of the State Public Administration.
Arauz has a degree in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Michigan, United States. He also has a Master’s degree in Development Economics from FLACSO-Ecuador, and a doctorate in Financial Economics from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
A profile published by the Latin American Strategic Geopolitical Center (Celag) stated that in 2009, Arauz, who, in addition to Spanish, speaks English, French and Russian, achieved to fill a vacancy in the Central Bank of Ecuador through a contest and on his own merits.
In that institution, Arauz, became general director of banking between 2011 and 2013. Within the State he also served as undersecretary of the National Secretariat for Planning and Development, from where the Ecuadorian Administration is planned and coordinated. He also served as general director of the National Public Procurement Service.
Arauz was appointed Minister of Knowledge and Human Talent in 2015, a position from which he directed the coordination and supervision of the execution of policies, programs and projects of the Ministries of Education, Culture, Higher Education, Science and Technology. In parallel, he held the Ministry of Culture for a short time, after the resignation of his predecessor, Raúl Vallejo.
With the inauguration of the Presidency of Lenín Moreno and the formation of his first Government, in May 2017, Arauz separated himself from institutional positions and turned to his academic career.
Arauz is a Latin Americanist
At the end of 2017, together with a group of economists, Arauz founded the Dollarization Observatory (observatorio.ec), an institution for the production of thought and reflection on economic issues, where he publishes articles and analyzes on a regular basis.
This young man also took advantage of his time away from government to start his PhD studies on Financial Economics at UNAM.
Arauz is defined by Celag as a “convinced Latin Americanist” who has forged links with progressive groups and leaders around the world.
“These ties have led him to be appointed a member of the Executive Council of the Progressive International, an organization founded in 2020 by activists, personalities and left-wing associations, including former Bolivian Vice President Álvaro García Linera, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil Celso Amorin, and Rafael Correa himself “, cites Celag.
Arauz is also close to Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, Guatemalan activist Renata Ávila, former Brazilian presidential candidate Fernando Haddad, US Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, former Argentine ambassador Alicia Castro, former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, the mayor from Barcelona, Ada Colau, and the Canadian journalist and researcher Naomi Klein.
Correa: “We are going to rescue Ecuador from the ruins”
After the candidacy of Arauz and Correa was made public, the former president stressed that Ecuador is experiencing one of the hardest moments in its history, taken by “a dictator -Lenín Moreno- who has eradicated the entire rule of law from the country, violated the Constitution, prohibited freedom of expression and thought, and eliminated democracy”.
“They did a lot of damage. They have destroyed schools, roads, health, transparency, dignity, sovereignty; but they have not managed to destroy our hope”, said Correa in the presentation of their candidatures, which was carried out virtually due to the restrictions of the pandemic.
“Here we are, despite all the immoral obstacles to prevent us from participating (…) We are going to rescue the country from the ruins in which the worst government in history has left it. Without hatred but with memory. They wanted to bury us without understanding that we are seed. Don’t waste your time, you won’t be able to defeat us”, added the former president.
During the presentation, Correa stressed that he decided to accept the candidacy for the Vice Presidency because of his commitment to Ecuadorians and “because of that collective dream that we call the Citizen Revolution”.
To carry out this new project, Correa stressed that the country “demands new faces” and a clear example of that youth is the presidential candidate Andrés Arauz, who “has stood up on his own two feet” and is “one of the brightest young people” that he knows with “an immense and successful experience”.
“We will be builders and labourers to rebuild our country”, replied Arauz, adding that his government’s priorities will be to face the health emergency, get out of the economic crisis, regain the democratic institutions and return to the path of development.
Arauz is a return to the origin of the Citizen Revolution
“We have a public health system that is being destroyed”, said Arauz during the presentation, where he denounced that the pandemic was used to steal medicines, distribute hospitals and loot public property which belongs to everyone.
“They took advantage of the pandemic to get the dollars that Ecuador needs to pay in advance the foreign debt that had to be canceled in 2022 and 2023. This outrages me!”, exclaimed Arauz, who promised that he “will never betray the Citizen Revolution. I do have a historical conscience”, he said, referring to Moreno.
The economist also questioned the regulations for the registration of candidacies that require candidates to go personally to the National Electoral Council. Arauz himself filed an appeal in July with the Electoral Contentious Court to suspend the new regulation and demand that it be done in a consulate, as was the case before.
“This is dedicated so as to prevent the candidacy of Rafael Correa. We have an electronic signature, videoconference, notaries, consulates. With these tools we are going to register Rafael Correa as vice president”, replied the presidential candidate.
For Franklin Ramírez, sociologist and professor at FLACSO Ecuador –consulted by Página 12– the election of Arauz is a return to the origins of the Citizen Revolution, since “it involves a heterodox vision focused on experimenting with different instruments of the public economy to stimulate development in a dollarized economy”.
Ramírez maintained that the decision to add the former director of the Central Bank constitutes “an opening towards issues that were closed for a long time in Correa’s head and in his understanding of the world, such as issues on the feminist agenda or the treatment of diversity. In any case, the Ecuadorian academic acknowledged that he would have preferred a “greater expansion of the ‘correista’ spectrum”.
For his part, Alfredo Serrano Mancilla, director of Celag, stressed that Arauz «is in tune, very well, with the youth, not a minor fact given that the vast majority of the Ecuadorian electorate is under 40 years of age. In addition, it represents the main values of the Correísmo”.
About the judicial persecution against Correa
Until last Monday it was not clear if Correa would run as part of the presidential formula of Ecuadorian progressivism. The former president was sentenced to 8 years in prison for bribery in the 2012–2016 Bribery case.
The former president, who after finishing his term in 2017 moved with his family to Belgium, the country where his wife is from, was convicted in the second instance for a case of corruption during his government for which insufficient evidence has been obtained to prove such guilt, a case very similar to that of former President Lula Da Silva in Brazil.
His defense presented on August 7, in Quito, a cassation appeal before the National Court of Justice against that conviction. It is the last legal recourse that Correa has left, before the sentence is final. If ratified in the third and final instance, the ex-president would be prevented from participating in politics again.
In this regard, Franklin Ramírez says that the election of the Arauz-Correa binomial “must be taken as a provisional choice, because there is a certain level of institutional harassment on the Citizen Revolution that makes it impossible to take for granted the institutional and political scenarios for strategic decision-making”.
“Until last week the movement was suspended from the electoral register and could still be directly eliminated”, he said. “I am convinced that Correa will not be able to run for anything, not even as an assemblyman”, said the sociologist, who maintains that the elites who are with Moreno are not going to allow it.
For his part, Serrano Mancilla emphasizes that “Correa’s case is a true test for Ecuadorian democracy, after having twice snatched the acronym from the ‘Correísmo’ and having found this option of running as a candidate for vice president through an agreement with another acronym”.
Arauz’s mission: Recovering the truth and the Nation
Arauz stressed that among his political objectives is to confront the political persecution that has been going on in the country and he will begin to prepare a Truth Commission to find out “who ordered the repression in October, the fire in the Comptroller’s Office, who made an agreement with Odebrecht to imprison the elected vice president Jorge Glas, and who distributed the hospitals”.
In addition, he indicated that he will face the health emergency, the economic crisis, while democracy recovers and the path of development of Ecuador is resumed. “Count on me to recover the Nation”, he stressed.
Arauz maintains that his Government will be environmentalist, innovative and feminist in the search for equal rights for women, for the eradication of all types of violence and for gender equality.
For his part, former President Correa regretted Moreno’s betrayal because “it has done a lot of damage to the country”, although “they have not succeeded in destroying hope”.
“My ambition has never been a position, my vital project is my Homeland. Seeing it with development and that’s why I fought”, Correa said.
The Arauz-Correa binomial will compete against the candidates already confirmed so far: Guillermo Lasso (CREO) and Gustavo Larrea (Democracia Sí). From the indigenous movement, Yaku Pérez would be the presidential candidate; Lucio Gutiérrez for the PSP, Guillermo Celi for SUMA, César Montufar for Concentración, Paúl Carrasco for Juntos Podemos, Fernando Balda for Libertad es Pueblo and Abdalá Bucaram also announced that he will run as a candidate for the FE Ecuador movement.
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