Electoral Results in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia: What Lessons Do They Teach Us?

Ollantay Itzamná

On the recent Sunday, April 11, while the second wave of the COVID19 pandemic was showing its terrifying power in the region, the citizens of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia were summoned to the polls to elect their political authorities. These are some of the lessons for the region.

Peru elects a peasant, rondero and teachers’ leader for the second round.

Pedro Castillo. Presidential candidate elected for the second round in Peru. Internet

In the case of Peru, after a tumultuous constitutional period (of five years’ duration) in which four presidents and two legislative congresses abruptly departed, nearly 25 million voters were summoned to vote, in an obligatory manner, even during the “pandemic peak “, for a President, two vice-presidents, 130 congressmen and 5 supranational representatives.

The Peruvian electorate went to the polls, and taught the bicentennial official Peru settled in Lima and its major cities, that Peru is not Lima, nor is it only the cities, much less what the corporate media attempts to install in the Peruvian imaginary. Peru is also the rural area, the Andean and Amazonian worlds.

Out of 18 candidates, Peruvians elected Pedro Castillo, a peasant from Chota, Cajamarca, founder of the peasant patrols, teacher leader, rural primary school teacher. He was the most invisibilized by the corporate media during the campaign. He filled squares and streets with supporters during his campaign, even defeating COVID19 , but the corporate media never mentioned him.

The strategy of Castillo, and of the political party Peru Libre, was: to use the image and acceptance of Pedro Castillo in the network of teachers at the national level, to tour/advance in the Peruvian territory on foot and on horseback, and to ride, with all its limitations, on its own platforms in the social networks.

I got to know Pedro Castillo through his Facebook page. I had his number registered there, and he responded to my first WhatsApp message. Then he answered my call… That’s Castillo: a peasant actor from the streets who became a sociodigital network actor, without hiring or building funded influencers.

His proposal is all about strengthening the Peruvian economy by revising the privatization contracts of goods and services, creating new public companies, to make the State an economic actor. In addition, he promised to convene a new constituent assembly process for the drafting of a new Political Constitution because the one currently in force in Peru was approved by the dictatorship of Alberto Fujimori to implement the neoliberal system.

Thus, on June 6, in the second round, Peru will decide at the polls the dilemma of either continuing under the lethal neoliberal system or opting for Pedro Castillo’s proposal.

Ecuador opted for a banker who promises to perfect the neoliberal system.

In Ecuador, close to 12 million voters were called to vote in the second round to elect their new President of the Republic from two options: Guillermo Lasso, a neoliberal banker, and Andres Arauz, of progressive tendency, who promised to resume what Rafael Correa had undertaken when he was in government.

After an electoral campaign tainted with lies, slander campaigns among the candidates, and the call for a null vote by the presidential candidate of Pachakutik, who came third in the first round, Ecuadorians opted for the banker Lasso.

Guillermo Lasso promises to stabilize and boost the country’s shattered economy by removing the legal barriers that still prevented Lenin Moreno from fully privatizing the country. The dreaded and long-delayed “economic package” will become a reality in Ecuador. The majority of voters opted for this path.

The political attitude of the leaders of indigenous movements, who on several occasions dismissed the president, but were unable to form an indigenous government, was shameful and instructive for the region. The Pachakutik party, created by the indigenous movement CONAIE, after coming in third place, with its call for a null vote, confused its voters and ended up supporting the triumph of the banker Lasso.

We will see what the attitude of the indigenous organizations will be with their irresponsible leaders, faced with the imminent announcement of the economic package and the strengthening of the neoliberal system.

Bolivia confirms its plural democratic vocation

Santos Quispe, son of “El Mallku”, unofficially elected Governor of La Paz. Bolivia. Internet

After the coup d’état, and almost a year of the de facto government of Jeanine Áñez, Bolivia has already experienced three electoral processes, despite the pandemic.

Last March 7, more than 7 million voters were summoned to the polls to elect 9 governors and 336 mayors. Of those 9 governors, 4 failed to obtain an absolute majority or to win by 10 points over their contender. Therefore, for Sunday, April 11, in the departments of Tarija, Pando, Chuquisaca and La Paz, a second round of elections was called.

According to unofficial results, the ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) lost in the 4 departments, especially in La Paz, seat of government (with the largest number of voters). If these results are confirmed, MAS would only have 3 of the 9 regional governments.

With these results, Bolivia reaffirms its participatory democratic vocation, despite the coup d’état and the pandemic, but disagrees with the verticalist/unconsultative attitude of the leaders of the governing party, especially former President Evo Morales. “Evito has to rethink his decisions”, says one of the communicators of the social movements consulted in Bolivia.

Lessons from the electoral results of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia

The Abya Yala electorate, with its democratic behavior on April 11, shows us that even in times of pandemic it is possible to go to the polls, overcoming fear, with precautionary measures.

From Peru, the electorate shows us that the electoral political centralism digested/decided from Lima is not an insurmountable divine sentence. It is even possible to defeat at the ballot box, from the deep Abya Yala, the growing army of influencers financed by the oligarchies in social networks and traditional media.

Bolivia reminds us that defeating the coup d’état and returning to power was not only the result of the “political phenomenon” of Evo Morales. Even our beloved comrades can and should be punished from the ballot box when they do not listen or do not obey the people in their decisions. Evo Morales must understand this.

From Ecuador, the voters, despite the fact that they put the noose around their necks, tell us that the progressive tendencies in Abya Yala are and will be the fruit of constant work. Organize, communicate, train, mobilize, articulate, to create plurinational power. Neoliberalism cannot be defeated at the ballot box solely by broadcasting the achievements of past glories, however recent they may be.