World Ecuador to choose between socialism and free markets in presidential runoff
Migrants in Latin America Have Turned to Delivery Gigs During the Pandemic. But Drivers Say They're Facing Hostility and Mistreatment
'No one is looking out for us'But drivers say they that essential status doesn’t carry through to their treatment by authorities, society or the companies that control the apps. “We are helping society because people don’t want to go out right now—when you don’t want to go, we’re the ones who go,” says Yuly Ramirez, a Venezuelan migrant who started working as a delivery driver for Glovo, one of the region’s biggest platforms, in 2018. “But instead of seeing us like that, they see us as a nuisance.
By Alexandra Valencia
QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuadoreans on Sunday will choose between a conservative banker and a left-wing economist in a presidential runoff that follows months of debate over whether the country's economic malaise can be best treated through socialism or market-friendly policies.
Polls broadly indicate socialist Andres Arauz, a protege of former President Rafael Correa, with a lead over rival Guillermo Lasso, with many showing a quarter or more of the electorate either undecided or planning to spoil their ballot.
Shadow of COVID-19 and economic downturn hovers over elections in Ecuador and Peru
Voters go to the polls in Ecuador and Peru on Sunday in contentious elections shaped by fallout from the pandemic.In both Andean countries, polls have shown widespread dissatisfaction with leadership failures to stem rising unemployment and poverty, much of it fallout from the COVID-19 crisis — which has hit Latin America especially hard, causing social and economic devastation across the region.
A victory for Arauz would further consolidate a string of leftist electoral victories in South America in the last year, while a win for Lasso would leave Ecuador in the political and commercial orbit of the United States as he seeks to create jobs through foreign investment.
Investors are closely watching the outcome because Arauz has promised to renegotiate the terms of a financing deal with the International Monetary Fund and to vastly expand social welfare spending despite precarious state finances.
"The hope of all Ecuadorians is to move the country forward, but we have doubts about who should govern and what plans you have to apply to get it," said Javier Guevara, a 25-year-old student in the city of Guayaquil, who remains undecided.
Ecuador picks president in the shadow of Covid
The young left-wing candidate Andrés Arauz faces pro-market former banker Guillermo Lasso.Sunday's presidential run-off election is set to take place against the backdrop of one of the worst economic downturns in the Andean nation's history caused by a still-raging coronavirus pandemic that has so far claimed more than 17,000 lives. Eight of the country's 24 provinces, including the capital Quito and the largest city, Guayaquil, have been under a health emergency.
"I'm afraid to choose the wrong candidate and have their plans sink us further."
Arauz, 36, won the first electoral round with the 32.7% of the vote thanks to promises to reverse austerity measures and deliver $1,000 to a million poor families - a promise he has downplayed during the runoff vote.
Lasso maintains a pro-market platform.
Since the first round, Lasso has sought to soften his conservative image by offering to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and even to support a referendum halting oil exploration in the ecologically sensitive Yasuni rainforest.
Indigenous candidate Yaku Perez, who narrowly lost a spot in the runoff, has denounced voter fraud and is calling on supporters to spoil their ballots.
President Lenin Moreno, a former Correa ally, is not seeking a second term. The new president will take office on May 24 for a period of four years.
Low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic have left a third of the population in poverty and some 500,000 workers without stable employment.
Moreno enacted spending cuts and painful austerity measures in conjunction with a $6.5 billion IMF financing deal, but was unable to revive the economy.
"The key factor will be the candidates' proposals and how they have presented themselves to capture the undecided and null votes," said Blasco Peñaherrera of pollster Market.
Just over 13 million Ecuadoreans registered to participate in the election, which will include biosecurity measures in response to the pandemic.
(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia, writing by Brian Ellsworth; editing by Diane Craft)
For Dreamers, a Senate vote and a Texas judge stand between citizenship and deportation .
Many Dreamers said they fear deportation as lawmakers in Congress once again debates whether to give them a path to U.S. citizenship.Loyo, 23, is proud of his job, proud of his wife and proud of his family-focused midwestern life in Columbus, Indiana.