When Ecuador held an election to choose their next president in mid-February, candidate Lenín Moreno had a clear advantage over the seven other contenders, with over 10% more of the vote than the runner-up, Guillermo Lasso. But when Moreno’s final share of the vote, at 39.36%, came up just short of the 40% needed to win, it became clear that a runoff election would be needed. Suddenly a victory by Moreno was not such a sure thing, and polls started to point to a possible triumph by rival Lasso.
In June 2015, members of the United Nations joined at the Addis Ababa development financing conference. At the head of the docket was the topic of tax evasion, and developing countries pushed for the creation of an intergovernmental tax body within the UN which would ultimately establish global tax rules and help eliminate tax havens.
In a communiqué dated December 16th, officials at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that cooperation on development projects and development assistance to Ecuador will end by September of 2014, which will result in the loss of about USD $32 million annually.
A great deal of media coverage has been devoted to the persistent instability in Colombia and ongoing negotiations between the FARC and the Colombian government. However, little attention is paid to the effects that this conflict has had on Colombia’s southern neighbor, Ecuador, and the tenuous relations between the two nations.
The ‘pink tide’ refers to the group of progressive governments elected in Latin America in the first decade of the 21st century. But it is an odd metaphor to use about elections. With its sense of powerful forces moving across the landscape, it is descriptive of how these new governments came to power – carried into the state by mass mobilisations from below. The question, however, is how far and in what direction can these governments go in transforming the region?
The sweep of the pink tide across the central Andes has been associated with populism. From Hugo Chávez and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, in Venezuela, to Evo Morales in Bolivia, and Rafael Correa in Ecuador, more than in any other region the Andean New Left has been associated with leadership styles and approaches to governing that many have characterized as populist.
The research behind Latin America´s Leaders (ZED Books, London, 2015) was motivated by questions related to the democratic quality of leaders. Why do democratically elected leaders undermine democracy as soon as they are in power? Why has the return to democracy not done away with Latin America’s tendency to generate authoritarian leaders?