As soon as he assumed the presidency of Ecuador, on November 23rd, President Daniel Noboa took an unprecedented decision since the redemocratization of Ecuador in 1978: he assigned a diplomatic role to vice-president Verónica Abad. She will be transferred to Israel, with the mission of collaborating in the search for peace.
“The president wants me away,” said the vice president, publicly acknowledging a split that had already been observed since the last days of the campaign for the first round of the presidential election in August, according to the newspaper The country.
Noboa received the results at her beach house, but the vice president was not there, just as there was no place at the table for her at lunch at the presidential residence on inauguration day. “I would have loved to have participated in these events, but I was not invited.” There is controversy, because a reporter reported, on the same day, that she claimed to have been invited, while having lunch at a market in Quito.
When the Electoral Council handed over the credentials for the inauguration, she was not present either. Finally, she was left out of the official photo of Noboa’s cabinet, taken last Sunday (26), with 24 ministers: 12 women and 12 men.
In his inauguration speech, Noboa mentioned betrayals and said that they often come “from people we don’t even expect, people we choose”.
During the campaign, Abad made a series of statements that put his candidacy in a bad light, as they hampered Noboa’s communication strategy, of presenting himself as a moderate candidate, far from the extreme right — although he likes to present himself as a center-right candidate. On the left, he proposes priorities that are closer to the right-wing liberalist agenda, such as orderly public accounts and fiscal responsibility.
In her controversial statements, the vice-president called for the reduction of the size of the State and the privatization of sensitive areas such as health and education, in addition to issuing controversial opinions about the female universe: she said that women with children should not earn the same salary as men with the same position because they work less than them and called gender violence in Ecuador a myth, a country dominated by violence where 513 women were murdered in 2023.
If the relationship was already strained when the ticket won the election, the situation got worse afterwards. According to the vice-president, the rupture occurred due to legislative agreements that the alliance that brought Noboa to power concluded with the Citizen Revolution, the left-wing party of former president Rafael Correa (2007-2017), who lost the election with Luisa González.
In her opinion, celebrating an agreement with the Citizen Revolution goes against two wishes expressed by the Ecuadorian population in the election: prioritizing security and Correa’s non-return to the country — he currently lives in Belgium, as a political asylum seeker, as he was a victim of lawfare .
So as not to lose your position
According to the Ecuadorian Constitution, the person who holds the vice-presidency has two functions: assuming the position when the president leaves the country and carrying out the duties that the president gives him. If you refuse to do so, such action may be considered abandonment and loss of position. Thus, Abad agreed to go to Israel. He said he is not abandoning ship and that “good people know how to turn things around in the worst times.”
Last Saturday (25), when the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was being celebrated, Abad posted a video with a dramatic tone on X (formerly Twitter), in which he stated: “Violence is not just killing another person. There is violence when we use a pejorative word; when we make gestures to belittle other people; when, with bad actions, they intimidate your children and force you to remain silent in the face of injustice; when we obey out of fear; when, abusing their power, they minimize you and send you to die in war.”
They will try to push us away, but the echo of our voice will free us.
— Verónica Abad (@veroniabad) November 26, 2023
The video was posted shortly after Noboa thanked the international community for its support in appointing Abad to the post of peace officer — according to the Communications Secretariat, the decision received a positive response from the embassies of the United States, Israel and Russia. Noboa not only dispatched the vice president to Tel Aviv, but also determined to restructure the Vice President’s office and reduce it to a minimum.
This Tuesday (28), Verónica Abad held a press conference and requested a meeting with Noboa. But the president appointed Chancellor Gabriela Sommerfeld to coordinate with her “the necessary actions to fulfill such a high mission”, according to a statement from the Communications Secretariat.
For former vice-chancellor Fernando Yépez, sending the vice-chancellor to Israel is a solution outside international law, which is part of a “chain of mistakes”. In a radio interview The street, said that the president’s announcement affects the seriousness and credibility of Ecuador’s foreign policy. He mentioned that it will still be necessary to define the terms of her relationship with the Ecuadorian ambassador to Israel, in addition to housing costs, work staff and security, among others. “It really is unnecessary spending for an unnecessary function,” she said.
According to Yépez, this tight skirt has its origins in a decision taken in a hasty manner, which was the hasty choice of Abad as vice president so that the ticket’s candidacy could be registered. “Abad has become a thorn in Noboa’s side due to his extremist, ultra-conservative, anti-rights position and identification with the most reactionary sectors of politics.”
With information from El País, the Primicias website and La Calle radio.
Editing: Leandro Melito