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.
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 →
Alvaro Vargas Llosa (AVL) co-authored the Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot with two other journalists. He revisited the subject with an article in 2007 entitled “The Return of the Idiot.”
“The ‘Idiot’ species, we suggested, bore responsibility for Latin America’s underdevelopment. Its beliefs — revolution, economic nationalism, hatred of the United States, faith in the government as an agent of social justice, a passion for strongman rule over the rule of law — derived, in our opinion, from an inferiority complex. In the late 1990s, it seemed as if the Idiot were finally retreating. But the retreat was short lived. Today, the species is back in force in the form of populist heads of state who are reenacting the failed policies of the past, opinion leaders from around the world who are lending new credence to them, and supporters who are giving new life to ideas that seemed extinct.” Continue reading →
In November 2011, President Correa appointed Pedro Delgado as head of Ecuador’s Central Bank. The appointment was controversial. The obvious controversy was that Delgado is Correa’s cousin. Conservatives claimed that Delgado lacked integrity. Some progressives shared the concerns about his integrity and saw Delgado as too supportive of Ecuador’s largest banks and bankers. The recent banking crisis, in which the owners and managers of Ecuador’s four largest banks began a bizarre campaign of threatening to induce a run on their institutions to extort Correa into withdrawing his very sensible program of increasing the banks’ taxes and reforming the bankers’ dangerously perverse executive compensation, provided a test of these concerns by Correa’s supporters about Delgado. I explained how irresponsible the banking oligarchs’ campaign was in interviews in Ecuador and the U.S. and an article. I explained the vigorous manner in which U.S. regulators of my era would have acted to end the oligarchs’ efforts to extort the government and people of Ecuador by threatening to cause a banking run. Continue reading →