The Carondelet presidential palace in Quito stands in front of Plaza de la Independencia, the statue depicting the first “cry of independence” and dedicated to the heroes of South America’s liberation. Each Monday, the square would become the stage for one of the key palace ceremonies – the changing of the guard. Massive crowds gathered there to observe not only the parade by the blue-clad guards, the raising of the nation’s flag and the sound of the national anthem, but also to catch a glimpse of the nation’s president, always clad in a black suit and a Guayabera-style indigenous shirt.
The palace now lies virtually empty and the salon of the national treasures – the gifts received by Rafael Correa during his various official visits abroad – has been hollowed out, with the shelves laid bare. The water fountain in its central courtyard now stands still, the echoes of palace guards, visitors and public servants no longer resounding through its wide marble corridors. It is a worthy metaphor for a country saddled with an inept leadership in the midst of a deadly pandemic.
The response of the administration of Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno, which was already severely weakened by the mass protests of October 2019, has been a combination of limited initiative and finger-pointing for its shortcomings. Naturally, the target of its blame was its predecessors in Rafael Correa’s administration.
To read the full article on The Gray Zone, click here.