Ecuador and the Case of the Liberal Losers

The National InterestThe recent poison gas attack in Syria, America’s stepped up military activities in Afghanistan, a presidential power grab in Turkey and the clownish bellicosity of North Korea’s “leader” have overshadowed an important development closer to home: left-wing populism’s slow-but-steady decline in the Americas. Just a few years ago left-wing populism was on the rise, embraced in one form or another by Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Venezuela and even Chile. Today, even the People’s World, the “news” organ of the Communist Party USA, concedes the “pink tide” may be receding.

The recent presidential vote in Ecuador confirms this.

The election pitted Guillermo Lasso, a former banker who campaigned on a free-market reform platform, against the aptly named Lenín Moreno, who outgoing President Rafael Correa had hand-picked to be his successor.

As strong-man presidents (right and left) often do, Correa made sure that Moreno won the early April election, a runoff contest between the two candidates who pulled the most votes in an earlier contest. …

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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.