US, OAS, Colombia try to steal Ecuador’s election from popular socialist candidate, while spreading fake news
By Ben Norton
The US State Department is pushing a politicized vote recount, overseen by the coup-sponsoring OAS, after socialist Andrés Arauz won Ecuador’s election in a landslide. Meanwhile Colombia’s ex-president warns his country’s “radical right” is “interfering” with “slander” and a “dirty game.”
GUAYAQUIL, ECUADOR – A popular socialist candidate, Andrés Arauz, won the first round of Ecuador’s historic presidential election by a landslide on February 7. The leftist’s overwhelming victory prompted the US State Department, the right-wing government of neighboring Colombia, and the Organization of American States (OAS) to mobilize to prevent him from entering office.
Arauz won the first round of the election with 33 percent of the vote, a full 13 percent greater than the second-place candidate, conservative banker Guillermo Lasso. His opponents are now seeking to force a vote recount under the supervision of the OAS, while simultaneously launching a smear campaign relying on blatant disinformation to link Arauz to a Colombian guerrilla group in hopes of disqualifying him.
Arauz has accused Ecuador’s US-backed government, led by right-wing leader Lenín Moreno, of “pushing to persecute me with crude lies… blackmailing and cheating justice.” The former president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, who was targeted in an OAS-backed coup in 2019, has also warned that a new plot is afoot.
The Moreno administration has broken records of unpopularity, garnering just an 8 percent approval rating. Against popular discontent, Moreno’s government is desperately working to disqualify Arauz, a follower of socialist former President Rafael Correa and his leftist Correista movement.
Just two weeks before the election, Moreno traveled to Washington, DC to meet with top officials from the US government, as well as the coup-sponsoring general secretary of the OAS, Luis Almagro.
Now, the Moreno administration’s top electoral body is openly conspiring with the second- and third-place candidates, meeting privately with them, giving them a massive public platform to call to “defeat Correismo,” and even agreeing to conduct a recount of the vote in the specific precincts where they lost.
This highly politicized recount, which has no legal basis, is estimated to take two weeks – an extraordinary length of time. The unusual process has the full backing of the US State Department, and will be overseen by the OAS, which inspired a military coup targeting Bolivia’s democratically elected socialist government in November 2019.
The head of the OAS electoral mission in Ecuador, the staunchly conservative former vice-president of Panama, was intimately involved in the US-led coup attempt against Venezuela, working closely with Juan Guaidó and the pro-Washington Lima Group.
The OAS disseminated lies about Bolivia’s October 2019 election, falsely accusing the government of fraud. Now, the Colombian government is spreading a remarkably similar series of lies about Ecuador’s election and its first-place candidate, Arauz.
Colombia spreads fake news to try to prosecute Ecuador’s leading presidential candidate
Just five days after the February 7 election, amid the recount chaos, Colombia intervened directly in Ecuadorian politics. The right-wing government of President Iván Duque, who has been credibly linked to drug cartels and death squads, sent its chief prosecutor to Ecuador on an official state plane in a desperate attempt to disqualify socialist Andrés Arauz.
The head of Colombia’s justice department, Francisco Barbosa, a close ally and personal friend of Duque, has amplified fake news stories published by conservative media outlets in his country, maliciously claiming that a leader of the socialist guerrilla group the National Liberation Army (ELN) funded Arauz’s campaign to the tune of $80,000.
The ELN commander they accused of giving this money to Arauz, code-named Uriel, was in fact killed in October 2020, nearly two months before Arauz was officially registered a candidate in December. But this inconvenient fact did not stop the conspiracy theory from spreading.