Ecuadoran President Guillermo Lasso

Ecuadoran President Guillermo Lasso. (AP)

LatAm in Focus: Guillermo Lasso's Tricky Year

By Chase Harrison

One year after winning the election, Ecuador's president faces congressional gridlock and security problems, says political scientist Paolo Moncagatta.

"There's a great security crisis in Ecuador currently, and this has to do with state capacity."

Another factor complicating Lasso’s leadership is the spike in insecurity. Ecuador has seen a rise in violence related to drug trafficking, especially in its prisons. “I have to be pessimistic about this,” Moncagatta explains. “It seems that the drug cartels are getting stronger [all the time]. And the state cannot handle all the conflicts that this produces.” 

All this is leading to rumors that Lasso might use a Hail Mary legal instrument known as the muerte cruzada, which would trigger new presidential and legislative elections. Moncagatta expressed doubt that Lasso would go through with it though. “When he calls for new elections, he has to keep in mind that correísmo is still a very strong political force in Ecuador,” he said, referring to the movement of ex-President Rafael Correa (2007–2017). Moncagatta believes Lasso will continue to struggle to pass his agenda, which could generate frustration among Ecuadorans and lead them to make more radical choices next electoral cycle. 

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Luisa Leme produced this episode.

The music featured in this podcast is Santiago Del Curto "Three Smiles for Tracey" by A. Hailstork for Americas Society. Watch the video: