When Lenín Moreno was elected president last year, he was pegged as a stand-in for his powerful predecessor, destined to play a placeholder role much like Dmitry Medvedev’s between terms of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But Mr. Moreno has blazed a very different path. Setting off a bitter power struggle, he has broken with former President Rafael Correa, an anti-American leftist who guided this small country into alliances with Cuba and Venezuela and is known world-wide for letting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange take refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
Mr. Moreno, who served for six years as Mr. Correa’s vice president, now accuses his old boss of concealing the weak state of Ecuador’s oil-dependent economy, ignoring government corruption, and turning into an authoritarian during his three terms in office. Mr. Moreno is improving relations with Washington and even talking about negotiating a trade agreement with the U.S.