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Political tensions in Ecuador make president wave the cross of death – 10/19/2021 – world

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Political tensions in Ecuador make president wave the cross of death - 10/19/2021 - world

A Monday night (18) decree on a 60-day state of emergency in Ecuador cemented President Guillermo Lasso’s offensive against what he called a conspiracy to overthrow his rule.

The main reflection of this measure, taken, according to the president, in response to rising violence in the country and drug trafficking, will be an army on the streets with a public safety order.

But this is still Lasso’s attempt to demonstrate strength in a time of political turmoil for the chief executive, who still faces divisions with parliament. In recent days, the president has sharply criticized the Legislative Assembly’s Board of Directors, the commission that serves as the gateway to passing bills to the National Assembly (the country’s unicameral Congress).

This body refused to consider a package of documents submitted by the president on reforms affecting the labor and tax spheres, as well as on changes in the laws on inheritance and communications.

Pressured by the prison crisis and his recent appearance in the Pandora Papers case – an accusation that he misappropriated, possibly unlawfully, his fortune into tax haven accounts led to a Congressional request for an investigation – Lasso left for the assault in an interview last Friday (15) at the Karondele Palace.

“If they block the laws again, we must go for ‘cross death’. The decree is ready, ”he said, referring to the mechanism provided for in Article 148 of the Constitution, which allows the president of the republic to dissolve his powers. National Assembly.

According to the text, within seven days of the publication of the decree, the National Electoral Council must call elections for all positions in the legislature and for the presidency. Until then, Lasso will rule by decree – “cross death” can also be initiated by parliamentarians. Newly elected will take office only to complete the already started term, and anyone who already holds office today can run again for that post.

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The constitution allows the mechanism to be activated only once during the term of office, always during the first three years of rule. The Assembly can only avoid this if it succeeds in reaching an agreement with Lasso in advance or if it votes in favor of the President’s resignation (which requires more than two-thirds of the vote).

“Cross Death” was included in the Constitution in 2008 to facilitate the resolution of political differences between the executive and the legislature – and has never been used to this day. “This is a resource that serves as a life-saving valve when things are very serious. Today it is more difficult to remove only the president or only the Congress, ”says constitutionalist Andres Benevides.

Prior to the election of Rafael Correa in 2007, Ecuador experienced years of intense political instability due to constant clashes between parliament and representatives. In 1997, Abdala Bucaram was dismissed, and as a result, Congress also prevented them from continuing to work in the posts of Jamil Mahuad (1998) and Lucio Gutierrez (2003).

Lasso attributes the joints in the Assembly against him to a “triumvirate of gangsters.” Namely, former President Correa, his main rival; the influential Christian democracy politician Jaime Nebot, who even supported the current president; and indigenous leader Leonidas Isa, protagonist of the 2019 uprisings (in the government of Lenin Moreno).

“Coups d’états no longer happen through tanks and streets, but through Assemblies,” he said. The president also said he was willing to provide evidence that the recent prison riots – one last month in Guayaquil resulted in 118 deaths – and the legislative setbacks were part of a “concerted conspiracy” led by these three characters. …

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“Instead of opening the doors for negotiations, for the implementation of politics, Lasso chose to close them, insulting the leaders of important political forces. At some point, it may be too late to return to the conversation, ”says political analyst Simon Pacciano.

Correa responded on Twitter to the CEO’s allegations. “Instead of explaining the Pandora documents, all Lasso does is slander me,” he wrote. “In this ridiculous position, he shows his despair and immorality.” Nebot also replied, “What paranoia are you suffering from? I do not want your government to fail, because that would be a failure for all Ecuadorians. Recover your emotional intelligence. “

In contrast to the tumultuous moment, the President received on Tuesday (19) praise from US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who is on a trip that will also include a stop in Colombia.

“We support the call for democracy that you have shared with the people of Ecuador and with our entire hemisphere,” said the head of US diplomacy, who also spoke about the state of emergency. “Sometimes exceptional measures are needed to deal with urgent situations.”

The most acute crisis comes with the relatively positive performance of the president, a former right-wing banker, in his first 100 days in office. During this period, Lasso managed to fulfill his promise to vaccinate against Covid with two doses of 9 million Ecuadorians (population 17.6 million).

Using his negotiating skills and his connections as a businessman overseas, he has purchased various drugs and has already achieved, according to the Our World in Data platform, immunization rates in countries such as the United States. Today, more than 56% of the population is vaccinated with two doses, leaving distant memories of the horrific pictures of the outbreak of a pandemic in Guayaquil, the collapse of hospitals and morgues.

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Managing the health crisis has helped lead to its peak in popularity among 73% of Ecuadorians, according to the Cedatos Institute. The figure is more appropriate when you consider that Lasso was in second place in the first round of elections after Andres Arauz, political godfather of Correa, with 52.3% of the vote.

According to the latest poll, the president’s popularity is 63.5%, while Correa, who cannot run because he is accused of corruption, but remains the leader of the political force of the majority in Congress, has 34%.

The ex-president in exile in Belgium is working to reclaim his space. He ditched the Alianza País acronym, which split under his former political sponsor Lenin Moreno, and created the Civil Revolution surrounded by his most loyal followers.

Lasso, for his part, behaves as if he was campaigning to demonstrate his strength and convened a demonstration in Quito for the next few days in support of his administration under the slogan: “No conspiracy triumvirate.”

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Even betting on Pivetta’s return to the political scene, Geller says he doesn’t discuss future opponents.

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Even betting on Pivetta's return to the political scene, Geller says he doesn't discuss future opponents.

(Photo: Playback/Internet)

Although Deputy Governor Otaviano Pivetta (no party) has repeatedly stated that he will not run in this year’s elections and under any electoral scenarios, as he returned to do double duty with Governor Mauro Mendez (DEM) as his deputy or even in speculation about a possible dispute for the Senate of the Republic, some preliminary candidates still include him in this political environment.

As did federal deputy Neri Geller (PP), who commented last Wednesday (19) in an interview with Rádio CBN Cuiabá about this possibility, perhaps pointing to a political turn or, who knows, to a personal request from the governor, Pivetta’s longtime friend. Thus, placing him as a possible opponent in a dispute in the Senate. Theoretically, this could create an “obstacle” to his provisional candidacy as Geller seeks a seat in the upper house of Congress.

Neri, who has already secured MDB’s support in the Senate race, is now looking to merge his name with the Mendez group. According to the progressive federal deputy, opponents or future compositions are not chosen in pre-election disputes, but work is only on fixing the name itself.

“I don’t discuss the possibility of opponents or squad. Today I have good relations with three parties: mine, the PP, as well as the SDP and the MBR. It is clear that Pivetta can reverse his decision not to participate in the elections and run for office in advance. But this does not affect how I act, work – respectfully, even with my opponents. However, it won’t affect me in any way. I am calm and very well positioned from an electoral point of view and, mainly, from the point of view of the support base that I am creating,” the deputy said.

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Neri also claimed that his candidacy was launched in an arc of alliances supported by former governor and former agriculture minister Blairo Maggi (PP), federal deputy Carlos Bezerra (MDB) and senator Carlos Favaro (PSD).

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LGBT phobia in politics may increase in 2022 – DW – 01/23/2022

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LGBT phobia in politics may increase in 2022 - DW - 01/23/2022

An atmosphere of hostility, attacks and threats against openly gay or LGBTQI+ politicians has been evident in several recent episodes within Brazilian political institutions, although for the average voter, a candidate’s sexual preference or gender identity has less and less influence on voting at the ballot box. – at least if we consider the major urban centers of the country.

LGBTQI+ politicians are preferred targets for the far right, and due to the polarized climate of this year’s Brazilian presidential election, many of them already fear that the agenda of customs and gender ideology will be a topic raised in the National Congress by allies of Jair Bolsonaro. , which would serve as a weapon against the centre-left and pollute the pre-election debate.

The biggest rejection of Bolsonaro, according to a Datafolha Institute survey last December, concerns homosexuals and bisexuals: 83% would not vote for the incumbent under any circumstances.

Due to the critical economic situation in the country, Bolsonaro has given way among low-income evangelical voters to former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and must use this conservative debate to try to contain them.

“Bolsonaro is trying to scare this evangelical public with strange things, like saying that “your child can become a woman at the age of 7.” Today there is much more respect for the LGBTQ cause among non-ideological evangelicals, but it is clear that they are resisting this topic,” explains Renato Dorgan, specialist in political-electoral marketing, qualitative and quantitative research and co-owner of the Instituto Travessia-Estratégia e Marketing.

Dorgan believes that homosexuality in politics has gradually ceased to be a big taboo, especially after 2015, 2016, which he observes in a qualitative study he conducts with Brazilian voters. According to recent polls, more than half of the population approves of same-sex unions.

“So much so that now Eduardo Leite (governor of Rio Grande do Sul) has declared himself a homosexual, although he is a preliminary presidential candidate,” the specialist noted. Leyte lost the PSDB primary to Sao Paulo Gov. Joao Doria, but did not hesitate to use the sexual option in mid-2021 when he sought accreditation as a candidate for President of the Republic.

Shortly after the announcement of the governor of Rio Grande do Sul, a poll conducted by the Instituto Paraná Pesquisas in July 2021 showed that 75.9% of Brazilians would not change their vote if the presidential candidate was gay: 13.7% admitted, that willing to vote for a candidate decreases, while up to 5.8% increases. The survey was conducted in the municipalities of 27 subjects of the Federation with an error of 2 percentage points. The poll showed that the greatest resistance to a homosexual candidate comes from men over 60 living in the south of the country.

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Far-right uses homophobia as voting strategy, says Gene Willis

“The current government was elected because of homophobia,” former federal MP Jean Willis, who recently joined PT, told DW Brasil. Gay, Willis had direct clashes with Bolsonaro while both were MPs and came to spit in the face of the incumbent when he praised tormentor Brillante Ustra by voting to impeach Dilma Rousseff in 2016. The journalist and writer gave him a mandate for being subjected to death threats and numerous attacks. Willis advocates that “a section of the far right should use homophobia to advance elections,” a topic he has covered in recent books and articles.

He explains that he relinquished his mandate because he was and remains the target of death threats, including from members of his family, in addition to a “heavy and well-funded campaign of slander and assassination” of his reputation through “dirty lies”.

“It was obvious to me that after the cowardly and cruel murder of Mariel Franco, the threats would not be limited to threats. It was just as clear to me – but not to the left in general, and even more so to my old party, unfortunately, despite the consistent denunciations that I made, that this attack was not only on the person or on the person of Jean Willis. It was a brutal attack on everything I represented and represent,” he says.

The fact that he is an openly gay politician and activist, Willis adds, has made him “an easy catalyst for hatred and resentment in a historically homophobic and racist society” along the same lines as trying to destroy Lula’s image.

“Homophobic hostility was more pronounced on the part of heterosexual parliamentarians, especially neo-Pentecostal evangelicals and/or those associated with the security forces. This does not mean that there were no homophobic sentiments on the part of some left-wing parliamentarians and on the part of women on the right,” he said.

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Despite pre-election marketing polls, Willis insists that Brazilians will not elect a gay president today and that those in power now want to prevent this from happening in the future.

“The current government was elected because of homophobia,” says former federal MP Gene Willis.Photo: DW/C. Neher

For a gay senator, “this confrontation takes guts.”

Some scenes were notable: in the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the Pandemic (CPI da Covid), in the Senate, in which capixaba senator Fabiano Contarato, at the time associated with the Network, spoke about his sexual choices and his family. Married, he and his partner have adopted two children.

“Brazil must begin to reverse centuries of structural politics based on sexism, racism and LGBT phobia. I came into politics believing that it takes courage to stand up to this.”

Contarato, now associated with PT and a possible candidate for the Espirito Santo government acronym, emphasizes that all of the country’s recent gains by the LGBTQIA+ community have been the result of judicial decisions, not political ones.

“The right to adopt is without a doubt one of the most important. It guarantees the basic right of homoaffective families and allows them to form on an equal footing with others. However, the fact that this is not yet a registered right in Brazilian law creates uncertainty about a possible annulment.”

Congress, according to the senator, ignores the debate about the protection and rights of LGBTQI +. “I am the first openly gay senator and I hope to have opened the doors to others in the near future. I humbly hope that our mandate will serve as an inspiration to other gays, lesbians, transgenders and transvestites. …everyone, even if we have to fight a lot harder to get there.”

He cites the adoption of stiffer sentences for those who commit crimes motivated by discrimination or prejudice based on race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin or sexual orientation as successful benchmarks. “The House also passed Bill 2353/2021 of my own authorship, which prohibits discrimination against blood donors based on sexual orientation.”

Brazil |  Senate investigation into the pandemic
“I am the first openly gay senator and I hope to open the doors to others in the near future,” Contarato says.Photo: Leopoldo Silva/Agência Senado

The resistance is higher in the chamber

Already in the House, says Federal MP David Miranda (Psol-RJ), the deputy who accepted the mandate for Wyllys’ vacancy, LGBTQI+ programs are making little headway, especially due to resistance from the evangelical, armed and conservative wing of agribusiness. . According to him, there are about 40 projects in the Chamber that are of interest to this population, 50% with a more progressive approach and 50% with a biased and derogatory look.

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“This agenda is not moving, and if it is brought to plenary session, it will paralyze Congress. Both progressive and conservative MPs are trying to use these agendas to advance themselves. It will definitely happen this year.” Miranda predicts there will be a big debate around a project defining that public toilets are for men and women, thus avoiding embarrassment for Miranda’s transgender people.

The MP is married to journalist Glenn Greenwald, who posted on The Intercept Brasil website messages from former judge Sergio Moro with prosecutors involved in Operation Lava-Jato. The Jato Vase, as the case became known in Brazil, led to the demoralization of Lava-Jato and culminated in the decision of the Federal Supreme Court on Moro’s suspicion of trying Lulu.

Vase Jato, according to the deputy, has made him a specific target for the extreme right. “We received death threats, me, my husband, my children, my mother. We were attacked at all levels. They made fake news with our names, our lives. a welcoming field with great support,” he said.

David Miranda walks daily accompanied by bodyguards. He says he has not received permission from the President of the Chamber, commanded by Bolsonaro MP Artur Lira (PP-AL), to rely on the security of the Legislative Police. “The Chamber stopped giving me security, although I have a positive opinion from the parliamentary commission in Geneva. I pay with my money, I don’t complain. protection in the state of Rio.

DW Brasil asked the President of the Chamber for information on the number of parliamentarians under the protection of the Legislative Police, as they are threatened, and questioned the Miranda case. “For security reasons, information about the escort of parliamentarians is confidential,” the press service of the chamber said by e-mail.

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