Correa’s ‘economic miracle’ in Ecuador was actually a monumental sham

miami heraldIf Ecuador’s opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso wins the April 2 runoff election and becomes his country’s next president, most Ecuadoreans will soon realize that outgoing President Rafael Correa’s alleged “economic miracle” of the past 10 years was a monumental sham.

In fact, Correa’s government should become a textbook case of economic mismanagement that should be taught in business schools across Latin America. Students should be asked to look at Ecuador’s economic performance and its success in reducing poverty under Correa’s populist “revolution,” and compare it with neighboring Peru’s.

They would rapidly discover that, while both countries — like much of the rest of South America — in recent years benefited from the biggest boom in commodity prices in recent history, Peru did much better than Ecuador. And it did so quietly, without a demagogue who picks fights with almost everybody and attacks freedom of expression.

While Ecuador’s economy grew by an annual average of 3.4 percent between the start of Correa’s term in 2007 and 2014, Peru’s economy grew by an annual average of 5.6 percent, according to United Nations figures.

The gap would be even wider — in Peru’s favor — if the figures included the past two years, during which Ecuador’s economy took a sharp downturn because of the fall in oil prices. The World Bank is projecting that Ecuador’s economy will fall by 2.9 percent this year, the region’s worst economic performance after Venezuela. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

Unfortunately, in recent years, continued progress in these areas has been threatened, not least by the elections of radical populist governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. These governments have instituted retrograde agendas that include the propagation of class warfare, state domination of the economy, assaults on private property, anti-Americanism, support for such international pariahs as Iran, and lackluster support for regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics initiatives.

We are a group of concerned policy experts that fear the results of these destructive agendas for individual freedom, prosperity, and the well-being of the peoples of the region. Our goal is to inform American policymakers and American and international public opinion of the dangers of these radical populist regimes to inter-American security.