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|United Nations Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility|
19 December 2013
|Secretary General||Ban Ki-moon|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Vice President of Ecuador|
January 15, 2007 – May 24, 2013
|Preceded by||Alejandro Serrano|
|Succeeded by||Jorge Glas|
March 19, 1953 |
Nuevo Rocafuerte, Orellana Province, Ecuador
|Political party||PAIS Alliance|
|Alma mater||Central University of Ecuador|
Lenín Boltaire Moreno Garcés (born 19 March 1953) was Vice President of Ecuador from 2007 to 2013, serving under President Rafael Correa. His election as Vice President was notable because as a paraplegic, Moreno was one of the world’s few disabled national leaders. For his work providing respect and dignity to handicapped people, he was nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.
Moreno was born into a middle-class family in Nuevo Rocafuerte, a small town in the Ecuadorian Amazon, near the Peruvian border. His father, Servio Tulio Moreno, was a professor who believed in public service and caring for those who were less fortunate. He worked hard to promote bilingual education and integration of schools in Nuevo Rocafuerte, so that Indigenous children and mestizo children would learn together, and understand something of each other’s cultures. Lenín Moreno was greatly influenced by his father’s example.
Moreno’s higher education was typical of a middle class Ecuadorian. He studied in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, at the Instituto Nacional Mejia (Mejia National Institute), and the Colegio Nacional Sebastian Benalcazar (Sebastian Benalcazar National School), and in the classrooms at the Universidad Central del Ecuador (Central University of Ecuador), where he earned a degree in public administration, and was honored as the best graduate. His interest in understanding the human condition led him to pursue studies in psychology.
Moreno began his career in 1976 as the director of the Continental Professional Training Center. He went on to become Director of OMC Publigerencia Andina, sales manager of Satho and marketing manager of Zitro, all located in Ecuador. Then he moved to the public sector, taking an administrative post with the Minister of Government. He worked extensively in the public tourism industry. He founded the Chamber of Tourism of Pichincha, a province in Ecuador, and was Executive Director of the National Federation of Tourism Chambers and Executive Director of the Chamber of Tourism of Pichincha, between 1997 and 1999.
On January 3, 1998, two young men approached Moreno in a grocery store parking lot in Quito and told him they wanted his car and his money. He freely gave them his wallet and keys, but one of the men shot him in the back anyway. The robbers were never caught. They left Moreno paralyzed, unable to walk. In the first years following the shooting, Moreno was bedridden with intractable pain. When doctors were unable to suggest a workable course of action, Moreno turned to laughter therapy, which he had read about. Although his doctors were skeptical, his wife and daughters were not. Together the family practiced humor and laughing and within four years of the shooting Moreno felt well enough to move about in a wheelchair and continue his work as a lawyer and public servant.
Politics and awards
There is currently no other disabled high-level government official in South America. Moreno has earned numerous awards while serving as vice president of Ecuador: the "Ricke Jodoco Fray" Award; the Order of the Sun of Peru in the rank of Grand Cross; and the Order of Merit to the Democracy, presented by the governments of Peru, Guatemala and Colombia, respectively. He was also recognized unanimously by the Council of the Metropolitan District of Quito on the order of Gran Collar Sebastian Benalcazar. He has received various Honoris Causa awards, from the Universidad de las Americas (University of the Americas), Universidad Tecnica del Norte del Ecuador (Technical University of Northern Ecuador) and the Universidad San Martin de Colombia (San Martin University of Colombia). He earned a Honoris Causa Masters, from the Business School (ESAE), Spain on 25 November 2011.
With a focus on promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, and a particular emphasis on accessibility for all, Moreno was appointed as Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in December 2013.
After being shot, Moreno created the foundation "Eventa" to promote humor and joy as a way of life based on his personal experiences healing himself with laughter. Lenín Moreno maintains and demonstrates that humor is the best medicine for physical and emotional illnesses. He is the author of numerous books on his theory of humor, including: “Filosofía para la vida y el trabajo” (Philosophy for life and work), “Teoría y Práctica del Humor” (Theory and Practice of Comedy), “Ser Feliz es Fácil y Divertido”( Being Happy is Easy and Fun), “Los Mejores Chistes del Mundo”( World's Best Jokes), “Humor de los Famosos” (Humor of the Famous), “Trompabulario”, “Ríase, no sea enfermo” (Laugh, don’t be sick) and “Cuentos no Ecológicos” (Non-Ecological Tales). 
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During his first year in the office of Vice President of Ecuador, Moreno investigated the state of disabled people in Ecuador. He found that the government’s entire budget for disabled services was approximately 100,000 dollars. He took a fact-finding trip around the country and was shocked to find numerous disabled people living in deplorable conditions, such as in sheds and dark rooms, hidden from society. In time Moreno increased the budget for disabled people more than fiftyfold. The state currently assists over 600,000 disabled Ecuadorians, and provides housing and income for 15,000 people and prostheses for another 4,000.
He also founded the Manuela Espejo Solidarity Mission for the Disabled, which offers rehab, technical help, and psychological support to thousands of disabled Ecuadorians. Between 2009 and 2010 the Solidarity Mission visited over 1.2 million homes around the country and interviewed nearly 300,000 disabled people to find out what needs were most pressing. Many of those people received free medical checkups. And now the Solidarity Mission is spreading to Paraguay, Peru, Guatemala, Chile, El Salvador and Colombia.
These days, the baroque lobby of the vice presidential palace is often crowded with blind boys holding their mothers’ hands, developmentally disabled adults clustered in groups, and people in wheelchairs and on crutches who believe that the vice president is someone who understands their needs.
Moreno left the Vice Presidency on May 24, 2013 and was succeeded by Jorge Glas. He is the first Ecuadorian vice president to complete his term since 1992.
In 2012 a group of Ecuadorians living in Norway pushed Moreno’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. Their efforts were backed by Ecuadorian Assemblyman Celso Maldonado, Vice President of the People with Disabilities Commission of the Ecuadorian Assembly, who formally nominated Moreno. These people believe Moreno deserves the prize for his “Ecuador sin barreras” (Ecuador without Barriers) projects, the government policies he has promoted in favor of the rights of people with disabilities, the Manuela Espejo Solidarity Mission, the Joaquin Gallegos Lara Stipends and Neonatal Screening, and other helpful work. The prize was expected in October, 2012; however, while he had wide international support with 180 countries supporting his nomination to the Nobel Peace Prize, that award was given to The European Union.
- "Secretary-General Appoints Lenín Voltaire Moreno Garces of Ecuador Special Envoy on Disability and Accessibility". Press release. United Nations. 19 December 2013.
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|Vice President of Ecuador