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A turn to the right: This is Guillermo Lasso's plan for Ecuador

The recently inaugurated president of Ecuador oozes neoliberal pragmatism.

Guillermo Lasso

The former banker will face great internal and external challenges and for which he has already revealed some clues in his speeches. Photo: TW-LassoGuillermo

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: ¿Giro a la derecha? Este es el plan de Guillermo Lasso para Ecuador

Guillermo Lasso assumed the presidency of Ecuador on Monday, May 24. The former banker will face great internal and external challenges. He has already revealed some of his plans for Ecuador in his speeches. 

Neoliberal Pragmatism

If something is clear in the president's recent announcements, it is that his international relations will be based on "the interest of the Ecuadorian people" and his intention is to attract foreign investment.

This would be understood as the possibility of reaching trade agreements with strategic partners, be they the United States, China, or the European Union. Lasso hopes to boost the economy with greater export treaties for raw material products, as a quick way out of the monetary blow left by the pandemic.

Colombia, an important ally

It was no coincidence that the first international visit that the Ecuadorian politician made, even before taking office, was to Colombia. Bogotá is seen as the main ally that Lasso will seek in matters of regional policy, security, and economic cooperation.

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Both right-wing governments are among the few (along with Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile) that maintain a firm stance of no negotiation with Venezuela. However, recent electoral and polling trends demonstrate an instability of those whom Lasso would see as his allies. The worst possible scenario is that Ecuador will be diplomatically isolated in the region. This is why it is important that the new president seeks allies in other countries (just in case).

Returning to Colombia, an important problem that both governments hope to tackle is the issue of border security. Faced with the resurgence of violence in Colombia after the signing of the Peace Treaty with the FARC, the northern Ecuadorian border is the field of action for various terrorists and drug traffickers that move easily in the permeable dividing line that separates the two nations. Cooperation between the two governments will be essential in order to guarantee the security of the border inhabitants and avoid what is happening today on the border between Colombia and Venezuela.

Additionally, Lasso sent a message to the international community about the future of Ecuadorian international politics. During the campaign, Lenin Moreno's successor made it clear that among his priorities will be joining the Pacific Alliance, an economic and integration body that includes Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Chile. This can be a successful way to maintain diplomatic, commercial, and cooperative ties with 4 strategic partners. This entry would also give shine to an organization that has recently lost prominence both within its members and at the regional level.

A clear message to Venezuela

In one of the most important symbolic events, for the possession of Lasso, Nicolás Maduro was not invited. On the contrary, the Venezuelan politician who attended was the opposition leader Leopoldo López, who is one of the symbols of political persecution in Venezuela.

Additionally, among the guests, the Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, and King Felipe of Spain stood out. There is evidence of an intention to relate more closely with right-wing leaders than with socialist ideals.