By Eddy Montilla.
For a decade, the former President Rafael Correa governed Ecuador not as a democratic country, but as a private property with political allies that look like puppets moved by pulling the strings of interest and political supporters who were partially blinded by ignorance and poverty. The remoras that took advantage of the situation saw the perfect setting to keep “milking the cow” when lawmakers of Ecuador’s National Assembly approved unlimited presidential terms in 2015. Their plan looked perfect: Correa takes vacations from his presidency while a “trustworthy person” keeps the seat warm for his return in 2021. And what happened? Correa didn’t predict that the current President, Lenín Moreno, would react to an extent contrary to any possible return of the former president. In few words, the cow no longer gave milk, got tired of being milked and Correa and his friends were gored.
I have never been a staunch critic of Correa and his administration, but of the way he destroyed Ecuador’s democracy. In fact, if the global economic crisis in 2008 did not sink Ecuador, an economic collapse that seemed imminent (considering that the global financial crisis of 2008 beat down the Ecuadorian economy, decreasing the price of oil, Ecuador’s main export) is largely attributable to Rafael Correa and the measures implemented for his administration. His social and economic reforms made a difference in the lives of people in Ecuador. However, this good things cannot draw a veil over the problems created by him on Ecuador’s democracy.
Rafael Correa in Ecuador, similar to Hugo Chávez in the past and Nicolás Maduro now in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and others share the same problem: They consider themselves messianic prophets and the only saviours of their respective countries’ woes. Drunk with power, they end up acting as other did in the past: like dictators disguised as good people who work for the benefit of the others.
For many Ecuadoreans (most of them Correa’s followers), the current President Lenín Moreno is just a traitor who foiled Correa’s plan to be reelected. For others, he is just another politician. At this moment, the truth is that it is impossible to assess the quality of his work as President. In any case, President Moreno and those who voted in the referendum to prevent unlimited presidential re-election were absolutely right. Eternal presidents are not necessary in any country. Ecuador has hundreds if not thousands of people who can do a similar or better job than Rafael Correa did in the past. Latin America has a long history of bad presidents and crimes committed by dictators. If former president Rafael Correa wants to continue helping his country, why is it necessary for him to do it from the presidential chair?
This article was originally published in the digital newspaper World And Opinion.
Photo: By courtesy of Eduardo Navas under the criteria of Creative Commons (Flickr, 2-18-2018).
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