If 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. …