The Leftist presidential candidate Andres Arauz called on citizens to ensure that the popular vote is respected in the upcoming February 7 elections.
On Sunday night, 16 presidential candidates attended the second part of the mandatory debate organized by the National Electoral Council (CNE).
On this occasion, their discussion focused on issues such as international relations, human rights, corruption, and democratic institutions.
The candidates were divided into two groups of eight. The first group included Guillermo Celi (SUMA), Giovanny Andrade (Ecuadorian Union), Carlos Sagnay (Ecuadorian Force), Isidro Romero (Avanza), Juan Fernando Velasco (Construye), Andres Arauz (Democratic Center and Social Commitment), Yaku Perez (Pachakutik), and Paul Carrasco (Juntos Podemos).
In the second group were Guillermo Lasso (CREO-PSC), Cesar Montufar (Socialist Party-Concertacion), Ximena Peña (PAIS Alliance), Gerson Almeida (Ecuador United), Pedro Freile (Amigo), Lucio Gutierrez (Patriotic Society), Gustavo Larrea (Democracy Yes), and Xavier Hervas (Democratic Left).
The following is a summary of the main aspects of their debate on international relations and human rights.
This candidate wants to open Ecuador to the world by signing free trade agreements, promoting free zones, and exempting foreign investors from taxes. Celi stated that he will protect strategic alliances with the United States and the European Union to protect Ecuador's territorial sea.
This would allow the country to protect itself from illegal fishing attributed to Chinese shipping companies and to control drug trafficking.
When asked about policies related to sexual and reproductive rights, the candidate said he is pro-life and will seek to reduce teen pregnancy. He called for a referendum to change the Constitution and toughen penalties against rapists. Andrade will "open the borders" to attract foreign investment.
This candidate will establish free trade agreements with all the countries that want to do so. He proposed the creation of the "National Development Agency" to group the institutions related to foreign trade and to hold international fairs of Ecuadorian products.
To give "legal security" to foreign companies, he proposed changing labor, tax, and fiscal laws. He also emphasized that foreign investment would not come to the country if Ecuador continues to maintain relations with "the commanders" of Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Argentina.
Romero will break diplomatic relations with Venezuela if President Nicolas Maduro remains in power. "When I come to power, Maduro will not be calm," Romero threatened, anticipating that unemployed Venezuelan migrants will be deported within 24 hours.
The candidate recalled that the export of natural resources is needed to ensure the provision of public services. However, he committed to consulting with indigenous communities located in areas where foreign investors wish to invest in mining projects.
Ecuador's leftist candidate ratified that regional integration and cooperation is an indispensable instrument to promote health, science, and technology networks.
To illustrate the importance of this, Arauz recalled that President Lenin Moreno was unable to respond satisfactorily to the COVID-19 pandemic precisely because his administration destroyed the links Ecuador had with the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
In order to quickly resolve the epidemiological situation in the country, Arauz met with Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez to request that he reserve 4.4 million Argentinean vaccines for distribution in Ecuador.
Arauz also recalled that Ecuadorian business groups took advantage of the pandemic to destroy the rights of workers protected by international agreements.
In the face of successive maneuvers to prevent the political participation of the Left, Arauz called on citizens to take care of the votes in the February 7 elections.
He said that Latin America needs to encourage all integration projects in order to face the big world economic blocks. He pledged to implement the Paris Agreement to contain global warming and to sign agreements with countries receiving Ecuadorian migrants.
Perez anticipated that he would maintain "very good relations" with U.S. President Joe Biden.
The candidate said that Venezuelan migrants affect employment and are related to crime. His government will conduct a census to locate those who have children born in Ecuador, those who are refugees, and those who have a legal record.
"Criminals will be deported," Carrasco said, adding that "Ecuadorians' safety and jobs come first."
For this Ecuadorian banker, international trade and foreign investment are the most important issues in international relations. "We must open the Ecuadorian economy to the world without fear," he said, promising to seek free trade agreements with the United States, China, and South Korea.
He recalled that the Moreno administration did not implement a plan to eradicate violence against women. The university professor promised to create appropriate policies to combat xenophobia and hate crimes.
"Ecuador must be a society of peace," he said and ratified that he does not support the establishment of the death penalty.
The candidate promised to defend freedom of expression and guarantee the rights of journalists. She will declare an emergency in the system of protection of women's rights and recalled that thousands of Ecuadorian girls are raped and pregnant every year.
This candidate explicitly stated that his binomial is pro-life and seeks to establish the family as the foundation of the State. Unlike politicians in other Latin American countries, Almeida will not support a legal, safe, and free abortion bill.
"God, country, and freedom" was the phrase he shouted at the end of his speech.
To reactivate the Ecuadorian economy through its international relations, he promised that tourism companies would not pay taxes for three years.
When asked what his strategy will be for the Asia Pacific region, the former President avoided concrete answers and devoted himself to recalling what his administration did from 2003 to 2005.
Gutierrez argued that if the establishment had not staged a coup against him, Ecuador would have many free trade agreements and high levels of growth.
This candidate will maintain good relations with all countries and avoid politicizing the Foreign Affairs Ministry. In this way, Ecuador will increase its exports, fight global warming, and reduce poverty. The union organization of workers and professionals will be respected.
He said that his government would not discriminate against vulnerable groups such as children, Indigenous people, women, and the LGBTI community. The candidate said that these women have the right to decide on the termination of the pregnancy.