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Guillermo Lasso asks for a vote so that Ecuador does not become Venezuela

Quito, Jan 22 (EFE) -. The center-right candidate Guillermo Lasso, one of the two main candidates in the February presidential elections, proposes a new horizon for Ecuador because, he says, the correista alternative represents a “past of corruption” that would lead to “Venezuela.” The 65-year-old and in his third attempt to become president, Lasso will compete on February 7 with fifteen other candidates to go to the second round, in elections that the current president, Lenín Moreno, does not attend. In an interview with Efe, he tries to project himself as “a person with capacity and experience”, who “has worked for 50 years, generated employment from the private sector”, and who, he says, “has proposed efficient and honest solutions.” Q- Third attempt. He tried it before against Rafael Correa (2013) and Lenín Moreno in 2017, when he denounced electoral fraud. What does it offer a country in such a difficult health, economic and social situation? A- In a crisis like the one Ecuador is experiencing today, we cannot experiment with that person who comes to propose a friendly de-dollarization. We cannot experiment with ridiculous ideas. That would be crazy! It would be to return to the cycles of hyperdevaluations, hyperinflations and lead us down the path of misery that the Venezuelan brothers live today. Faced with these absurd proposals is ours: sober, serene, credible, which has real proposals for real problems and not empty proposals. ECONOMY, EMPLOYMENT AND POVERTY Q- The pandemic and the gigantic national debt put any winner on the ropes. Holes have been plugged for years through new loans and debt deferrals. How to get out of the vicious circle? A- Our approach is that, in the medium term, we reach a zero deficit to prevent future governments from continuing to contract debt and kicking the dead for the next one. What we have is a very bad debt and it is a burden for the entire Ecuadorian people. That is why I propose that, in four years, we reach the goal of a zero deficit, to, from that moment, produce a virtuous circle of fiscal surplus and be able to pay the debt. Q- The pandemic has wreaked havoc on employment and poverty. A- I seek to solve the problem by promoting private, local and international investment in strategic sectors, and in the public sector, oil, electricity, telecommunications, trying to get companies with good corporate practices from the Western world to Ecuador. Let them come to help us produce, double oil production. Ecuador has 4.8 billion barrels of oil in proven reserves and produces 500,000 barrels a day. We have to duplicate. CORRUPTION Q- Your country continues to be weighed down by the attacks of corruption. Two years ago they calculated the loss for the State at up to 70,000 million. His fight proposal is daring but … Is it viable? Have you seen her executed elsewhere? A- What I propose is an international commission to fight corruption and advice from the UN and OAS, with foreigners who do not have any political ties or personal relationships in Ecuador. Guatemala had an international commission with advice from the UN, which has just been broken due to political problems. Q- The current government has focused its fight on the previous regime, but his main rival, Andrés Arauz, assures that there is political persecution and advances that, if he wins, he will urge an “independent judicial system” to review the processes. A- The alternative that competes with me is the one that represents the past of correista corruption, those who are in jail, fled, sentenced. That would be terrible for Ecuador because they are coming for more! And more, it implies impunity. They have had no compunction in saying publicly that they want to achieve amnesty to declare innocent all the cronies punished by the Ecuadorian justice. I don’t even want to think about it! That is why we fight, we are going to win and we represent the future, the change. It is painful to say but we cannot trust in a fight against corruption in the hands of politicians or people linked to the past, or who, due to their family or personal relationships, do not want to reveal the corruption of friends or relatives. Ecuador must take a historic step, an international commission with two objectives: to recover the stolen money and to imprison the corrupt. MORENO AND EL CORREÍSMO Q- Despite the strong rupture between Moreno and Correa, and the reforms initiated by the current president, it is powerfully striking that you continue to consider Moreno part of the correista past. A- The facts: Correa was president for ten years. Six of them had Moreno as vice president and then he was awarded a scholarship to a UN position in Switzerland. Then they named him their candidate and urban legend says that on election day there was a fraud. In other words, Correa imposed Moreno. Q- But you cannot deny that there is a very clear schism between the two. A- The one who put Moreno in power was Correa, who later Moreno has taken a turn in certain fields, such as international politics and nothing else, nothing more, nothing more, that is something else. Q- Do you recognize any attempt to reform Moreno? A- It is not about Moreno breaking with Correa, it is about Ecuador breaking with Correismo because that culture of the previous government is still intact in the country, including in terms of corruption. I confirm: Moreno is Correa. Now I am going to recover what was stolen from the Ecuadorian people and carry out the real change, which is not breaking with Correa but breaking with correista practices. FOREIGN POLICY Q- I recognized that Moreno’s main change has been with the US. What would be the general lines of your foreign policy? A- The foreign policy of my Government should be based on a cornerstone: The interest of the Ecuadorian people. Based on this, international relations cannot be as they were in the previous government, ideologized to such an extent that they deliberately mistreated the relationship with the US and deepened the relationship with China. In my government I will seek rapprochement with the United States. The United States has behaved very well with Ecuador in recent years. If you add the loan from the IMF and the one just approved by the DFC, the support comes to about 10 billion dollars. We have never received that help from any country. I will seek rapprochement with all sectors of the world that want to buy Ecuadorian products, that want to invest in Ecuador. Q- Where is China in your equation? A- One cannot think of the development of Ecuador excluding China, but China is not a democratic country, and I would like to work with democratic societies, not with totalitarian governments as (is also) the case of Venezuela, which has led to misery to its citizens. China has such a great global weight that Ecuador cannot exclude itself from a relationship with it, but when I speak of democracy I condemn what happens in Venezuela because Venezuela does not have the weight of China, it is in the region and Ecuador is suffering from the Venezuelan crisis. LA VIRGEN “GIRATORIA” Q- A few days ago he surprised with a proposal, I would say unusual, that flooded social networks: a Virgin of the rotating Panecillo. What was he trying to say, was it a metaphor? A- (Laughs) When a politician talks to society, he hears the inhabitants of the southern neighborhoods of Quito say: ‘We have so many problems that even the Virgin turns her back on us.’ With modern technology, a rotating platform would not be very expensive, although it will not be possible because the Archbishop of Quito has pointed out that it has a theological relationship with the Basilica of the National Vow. But a politician has to listen to that kind of thing too. In my two previous campaigns, the population told me they want a job. In this one, they say: ‘I haven’t eaten, I need to eat.’ According to official figures, nearly 300,000 Ecuadorian families, 1.2 million Ecuadorians, are hungry, and that is why our fundamental program will be to give them food. In other words, Carondelet (the presidential palace at the feet of the Virgin) must look to the poorest. (c) EFE Agency

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