Between dozens of flags and hundreds of migrants gathered in Queens, New York, the Ecuadorian winning candidate of the first round of elections on February 7, visited the largest Ecuadorian migrant community. During his visit to the United States, he was also interviewed for several media, including Democracy Now, Los Angeles Times, Washington Journal and Voice of America. He also introduced his position in strengthening dollarization to the International Monetary Fund.
“I have been a migrant like you, I know what it is to be away from the family, to sacrifice your life for a better future and to miss your homeland. I understand your needs, because I have also experienced them,” said Arauz during his conversation with hundreds of migrants. A lot of them coming from the Tristate zone; New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, where around a million Ecuadorian migrants live, many of them as a product of the massive migratory wave due to the emergency ‘Banking Holiday’ in 1999. Migrants living in other states also took part in the event. Together with movements and organizations related to the social and political project that represents Revolucion Ciudadana received the most voted candidate in the US-Canada constituency.
Arauz reiterated that he sees himself reflected in the Ecuadorian community living abroad because he has also been a migrant and knows what it means to be one, “I applaud that immense energy that you have in order to move your country forward. It is the same energy that I have to serve to our nation” the candidate emphasized.
Among the proposals of who could be the youngest president of the region –in case of winning the second round—are, a marked focus on social security policy so that the years worked by migrants are counted in another country for retirement, a reactivation of the scholarship programs that will also benefit migrants, legal assistance to Ecuadorians residing abroad, and a better support from consulates and embassies to the migrant community. Arauz assured that migrantes will have the support of a more humane government.
Despite having faced a campaign full of misinformation regarding the young candidate’s proposals by the opposition, he assures that with the “Government of Hope” he will strengthen dollarization and for it to happen, migrants are essential. “Migrants are key to strengthening dollarization,” said Arauz.
During his visit to the United States, the candidate from Unión Por la Esperanza (UNES) was also interviewed by the American program, Democracy Now. In the interview, Arauz referred to the current situation that Ecuador is experiencing while facing a serious health crisis as a result of the pandemic and also the strongest economic crisis in the country’s history. “We are facing a double crisis, on the one hand, the pandemic under the absolutely negligent management of the government” he said.
Ecuador registers over 268 thousand infections and 15,394 deaths from COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (February 18, 2021). “Only four thousand vaccines have circulated for a population of more than 17 million people,” said Arauz. Being aware of the gravity of the current scenario of the current scenario, the candidate proposes an investment plan that would include emergency aid very similar to the current US policy, focusing in financially assisting the most vulnerable population. “We also have a succinct plan to make the vaccine available as a public service in the short term,” he said.
Arauz also referred to the massive wave of layoffs that the health system has executed during the pandemic. “More than six thousand public health workers have been fired because of the austerity policies that have affected the population of Ecuador, increasing poverty and inequity,” he denounced.
Arauz plans to counteract the effect that the policies imposed by the current government have had. “We want to implement a heterodox economic policy, which increases public investment and increases social protection for the population. And that can create a recovery in the short and medium term for the population”.
Among other problems that the coronavirus pandemic showed, the candidate explained about the serious problem that Internet connectivity means for the educational sector. “Half of the student population in Ecuador has not been able to continue their studies due to lack of connectivity. We also need an emergency program for the Internet, this implies investment in infrastructure to cover the entire Ecuadorian territory with quality connection, especially for young people.” One of his proposals focuses on offering free internet for all citizens indeed.
Arauz presented to the International Monetary Fund his policy to strengthen dollarization while also proposing terms for a sovereign agreement between the IMF and Ecuador. Although it was not an official visit, the approach was vital to know the panorama of the agreement that is maintained with Ecuador.
‘The candidate of Hope’ concluded his speech on Monday night by reminding his migrant compatriots not to forget about their homeland and keep up with the efforts they make to maintain Ecuador strong, “you are referents and moral reserve. You are the main spokespersons to recover the homeland on April 11”, he concluded.