In my prior column I discussed the U.S. media frenzy that arose when a leaked emails revealed that Martha Roldos, a leading politician in Ecuador who (very badly) lost an election contest with President Correa, was trying to obtain funding from an infamous United States group that goes by the Orwellian name National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The U.S. media responded with three memes. Roldos is the “victim” first of a theft of her emails by someone unknown (but with the U.S. media presenting a fact-free assertion that it was Correa’s administration followed by a “take back” sentence using the magic “if”). See my first column for the full context.
If the Obama administration wanted to improve relations with Latin America the most obvious move would be to seek closer ties with Ecuador. Ecuador has been transformed into a nation with a stable political system, a head of state reelected by enormous margins in free elections, substantial economic progress, and a pragmatic development program. That program embraces policies that even the Washington Consensus praised that focus government expenditures on health, education, and infrastructure. The policies also champion an idea most identified with the conservative economist Hernando de Soto – making it far easier for entrepreneurs to start new businesses. President Correa is the leader who continues to surprise his friends and foes by taking steps that make economic sense even if they are identified with the “right” while keeping a relentless focus on the needs of the poor. That focus on the poor comes from Correa’s Catholic social justice beliefs that the Pope has recently been returning to centrality.
The Wall Street Journal has written it’s latest “just so” article about how leftist Latin American leaders (Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela) are bad and rightist Latin American leaders (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru) are wonderful. It quotes favorably this dismissal of progressive leaders.
“’We set out to create the Pacific Alliance because we wanted to set ourselves apart from the populists,’ said Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former Peruvian finance minister. ‘We wanted a thinking man’s axis.’”
No thinking women, allowed, of course. Dr. Michelle Bachelet just busted the “axis” by being re-elected President of Chile by a large margin. No one intelligent, of course, could be a progressive, at least that is what the right claims.
Gustavo Coronel, a Venezuelan oil oligarch associated with Cato has written to let me know how much he despises Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa. Coronel serves as his own “official scorer” so he has declared that one of my columns “made a failed attempt to whitewash the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, who is violating environmentally fragile areas of the Amazonia to drill for oil.” This is a passing strange comment from a man whose professional life was spent growing wealthy by “violating environmentally fragile areas of the Amazonia [and elsewhere] to drill for oil.” You may think that Coronel reached a late-life epiphany and is seeking to make up for a life violating environmentally fragile areas, but no such transformation occurred. Coronel simply sees an opportunity to attack Correa, and Coronel has dedicated his remaining life to attacking any Latin American leader who opposes the oligarchs.
The Economist has increasingly been copying the descent of the Wall Street Journal into dogma. One of it perennial hates is President Rafael Correa of Ecuador. Correa, an economist, has committed the unforgivable offense of succeeding through economic policies that The Economist despises. This is passing strange because Correa’s four foundational policies are expanded health care, expanded education, improved infrastructure, and encouraging entrepreneurs by reducing the time and cost of starting a business in Ecuador. The Economists’ pages are littered with praise for right-wing governmental leaders and candidates who promise that they will implement those same four policies (but rarely do in practice). Correa has actually delivered on his promises – quickly – and the improvements in the economy of Ecuador and the lives of ordinary citizens have been huge. The result is that Correa is the second most popular head of state in the Americas.
This column was prompted by an unusual source for me. Cuenca High Lifeis a site for ex pats living in Ecuador. It often discusses serious issues of national importance. The three issues a recent volume discussed are all important economic issues and they have prompted a fourth economic issue I will discuss in this column.
Heritage Foundation is run by Jim DeMint, the former Tea Party legislator. Heritage promptly demonstrated the impact of its new leadership with its purported study of the benefits and costs of immigration that ignored the benefits and inflated the costs. Even other conservative groups were appalled – and that was before one of the co-authors of its studies’ past writings on the inferiority of certain minorities that purportedly made assimilation fail became public. Heritage is one of many anti-think tanks where anyone with a progressive thought is shown the door.
NEP’s William Black appeared on the June 22, 2013 episode of Alpha and Omega. The topic of discussion is about a series of articles he has written over the last year on the economic achievements and political shenanigans of Rafael Correa, the President of Ecuador.
NEP’s William Black appeared on The Real News , February 17, 2013, discussing how Ecuador has been dealing with the recession, and some of the things we can learn from it. You can view the video below or if you wish to view the video as well as the transcript posted at TRNN, you can click this link.
By William K. Black
(Cross posted at Benzinga.com)
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has the special ability to drive our most elite media nuts. Failures are self-refuting. It is the successful that drive their opponents to distraction, and much of the media can barely contain its eagerness to write that Correa has failed. In 2009, The Economist practically licked its lips in eager anticipation of what it hoped would be Correa’s (and Ecuador’s) failure due to the “country’s acute financial problems.” Continue reading →