Ecuador has been in the midst of a storm that has plagued the region since before the pandemic. But for the government, vaccination has become a wall that holds back the demands of the various social sectors, which show little patience with the resolution of their demands.
Almost two months after Guillermo Lasso took office, his campaign’s main promise – 9 million people vaccinated in 100 days – is being fulfilled. Vaccine diplomacy has worked because the government has managed to bring millions of doses of different brands into the country. And its alliance with the private company has proven to be effective in terms of logistics and support. The president has thus regained some oxygen in the face of a scenario which is starting to become difficult due to the complexity of the economic crisis.
In less than two months, Lasso has already faced the first attempt from the agricultural sector, especially rice farmers, who saw the price of a meter drop from 100 pounds to less than US $ 30, while rice contraband from Peru fetched a better price. on the market.
Another front that the government cannot lose sight of if it reflects on medium and long term governability is the new leadership of indigenous peoples and nationalities, which has fallen to Leonidas Iza, who represents the more radical wing. The closest precedent, which gives an idea of the capacity of mobilization of the indigenous movement, is its main role during the social explosion of October 2019. Lasso and Leonidas Iza are poles apart on questions of economy, management state and environment.
POLITICAL MANAGEMENT, FOREIGN RELATIONS AND PRAGMATISM
It remains to be seen how the government’s political team will function for several reasons. The main protagonist and former government minister, César Monge, was replaced by Alexandra Vela for health reasons that kept him away from the public sphere, which sparked a wave of speculation. The differences between the government and its allies – Pachakutik and Izquierda Democrática – in the election of Assembly officials are beginning to reveal the absence of a programmatic agenda. And the government is trying to find an internal balance between the more neoliberal wing and a more moderate, socially conscious staff.
Along with vaccination, the government has stepped up efforts to tackle chronic child malnutrition, which keeps Ecuador among the worst places in the region. The president’s slogan is a country without malnutrition. Various sectors of activity, civil society organizations, international cooperation agencies and field consultants have mobilized around this objective. However, at the moment, there is no defined institutional architecture to move it forward.
In view of the economic crisis and the events in neighboring Colombia, the government is being very cautious in its decision-making. He has stopped sending a tax reform bill and no controversial measures are known. However, although it is not yet facing a crisis and trying to reach different sectors, it does not have the means to meet the multiple demands. The government has therefore encountered no resistance to the approach of multilateral lending agencies to resolve immediate needs.
In foreign affairs, the government has clearly defined its position. He distanced himself completely from Venezuela and Nicaragua and chose to maintain a formal, but not close, relationship with leftist governments like Bolivia and Argentina. The President said he was concerned about what is happening in Colombia and did not leave room in his comments to the political situation in Peru. However, he plays multilateralism to obtain vaccines, since he said that vaccinators have no ideology. Pragmatic rather than ideological approaches.
In the same vein, in a line combining pragmatism and the identity of a statesman, the president took a singular step with the creation of the Undersecretariat for Diversities and declared to respect the criteria of the Constitutional Court on the decriminalization of abortion in cases of rape, despite its conservative positions and its affiliation with Opus Dei. Lasso has earned the respect of diversity activist groups, who have placed expectations on possible public policies that might favor them.
The less than two months in power have passed in relative calm, especially as the country suffers from a severe economic crisis and has gone through a serious political crisis, which began even before the pandemic. However, if the various social sectors do not obtain effective responses to their demands, despite the lack of resources at the time, the country could experience a new social explosion.
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