Ecuador picks up the pieces
Ecuador is a small country that embodies many of Latin America’s problems in miniature. Overdependence on commodity exports and Chinese loans, unsustainable public finances, poverty, corruption, crime, refugees and tensions with the U.S. are just a few items on the list. Most of all, its minority government must clean up after former President Rafael Correa’s failed “Citizens’ Revolution,” trying to build sound institutions on a legacy of personalistic governance.
Ecuador’s interrupted revolution
After Rafael Correa became president of Ecuador in 2007, he used windfall profits from petroleum revenue to drive economic growth with aggressive public-sector spending on huge infrastructure projects, much-needed social assistance and ballooning government bureaucracy. The 2014-2015 global downturn in oil prices made that strategy unsustainable. Since May 2017, the country’s newly elected President Lenin Moreno faces an anemic economy, unchecked corruption, pent-up opposition demands and tensions inside the ruling party. Shadowing him is Mr. Correa, who is plotting a return to the presidency.
Ecuador: Political instability makes a comeback
Ecuador is in a holding pattern ahead of the February 2017 general election. President Rafael Correa has decided to sit this one out, leaving his office up for grabs and the ruling Alianza PAIS party vulnerable. Already saddled with a stagnant economy and a crushing debt burden, Ecuador may revert to the political instability that plagued it for much of the past half century.
The future of Chinese influence in Latin America
Between 2000 and 2012, Chinese demand for commodities fueled economic expansion in Latin America and underwrote expensive populist measures that kept left-leaning governments in power. Then, in 2012, the Chinese economy began to slow and the commodities boom collapsed, destabilizing many of those same governments. How these new dynamics affect China’s role in the region as a trading partner, investor and geopolitical actor will have a huge impact on Latin America in the coming years.
Tax plans controversy threatens Rafael Correa's bid for fourth term in Ecuador
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa is contemplating running for an unprecedented fourth term in 2017, writes GIS guest expert and Andes specialist, Dr Catherine Conaghan of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Discontent is evident in the middle class and business community, exacerbated by Mr Correa’s new property and inheritance tax plans, which sparked...
Ecuador’s shrewd oil deals disprove ‘Chinese colony’ claims
Far from being turned into a neo-colony, Ecuador has used oil deals with China to earn cheap credit, which has enabled it to re-enter international markets on favourable terms. Its sovereignty has not been compromised; Beijing’s loans look more like an attempt to buy goodwill from Quito than any form of economic imperialism. Ecuador has skilfully exploited what Bei...
Rafael Correa seeks constitutional change to protect his Ecuador ‘revolution’
Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa, is seeking a fourth term in office in 2017 to protect his ‘Citizens’ Revolution’, writes GIS guest author and Andes specialist, Dr Catherine Conaghan of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He has introduced controversial regulations for the media and civil organisations, and authorised major changes in the running of...
Rafael Correa consolidates power with third Ecuador election victory
Rafael Correa’s sweeping election victory signals an expansion of state-centric capitalism for Ecuador. It also brings a risk that he will clamp down further on the media, bankers and the courts. But to sustain his power, he needs to attract foreign investors, explains GIS guest author and Andes specialist, Dr Catherine Conaghan. ...