A decade ago, Rafael Correa was sworn in as president of Ecuador in the Andean village of Zumbahua. In the presence of fellow “pink tide” socialist presidents Hugo Chávez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales, five indigenous priests sprinkled him with sacred herbs and evoked the spirits of the moon and sun to provide him with positive energy. But as Ecuadoreans prepare to go to the polls this Sunday, his successor candidate can no longer count on the support of the country’s indigenous population. The blessing of Pachamama – the Andean Mother Earth – has deserted him. “We will vote to reject correaismo,” Carlos Pérez Guartambel, a leader of indigenous party Pachakutik, told AQ. “(Correa) has plundered indigenous symbols and beliefs. He has prostituted his principles by supporting large-scale mining projects and violating the profound connection with Pachamama.”
A year ago, an opposition victory in the 2017 Ecuadorean elections seemed unlikely. The Alianza PAIS (AP) coalition that Correa created has dominated politics for the last ten years, and won a healthy majority of seats in the national assembly in first round voting on Feb. 19. However the AP’s presidential candidate, Lenín Moreno, fell just short of the 40 percent of votes required to avoid a run-off. In the weeks since, the country’s smaller parties have almost universally declared that they will vote against him in the second round on April 2, in a repudiation of Correa’s legacy.
In the final count before Sunday’s vote, local pollster Cedatos registered voter intention for Moreno at 52.4 percent, with first-round runner up Guillermo Lasso, a former banker from the coastal city of Guayaquil, at 47.6 percent.