Published by Alma
By Mark Weisbrot/ The Hill
National sovereignty is an undervalued asset in today’s world, especially by the international media, where the views of Washington and its allies largely prevail. This is true with regard to economic as well as political issues, and its consequences can be quite heavy in a region like Latin America, long regarded by U.S. officials as their backyard.
The election in Ecuador is being watched, as well as contested by, forces that have opposing views on this question.
On the left, there is the presidential bid of former vice president Lenín Moreno, and his party — which has already won a majority of the Congress — Alianza PAIS (AP).
Like all of the left parties and governments that came to power in the “Pink Tide” that swept the region in the 21st century, the AP values national sovereignty and self-determination. Its leaders, as well as its activist and much of its electoral base, understand that the progress that has been made over the last decade would not have been possible if the government of President Rafael Correa had followed the economic prescriptions of Washington.
This progress included reducing poverty by 38 percent and extreme poverty by 47 percent. Inequality was also substantially reduced: The ratio of the income of the richest 10 percent to the bottom 10 percent was reduced from 36 in 2006 to 25 by 2012. Annual growth of income per person rose from 0.6 percent over the prior 26 years, to 1.5 percent. And access to healthcare and education was substantially increased, with spending for higher education rising from 0.7 to 2.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) — more than is spent by even many high-income countries. Social spending overall doubled, and public investment more than doubled, as a percentage of GDP.