'Neoliberalism failed miserably in Ecuador and Latin America'
The next time a neoliberal mouthpiece will start repeating the overused and obsolete Thatcherian fairytale of 'There Is No Alternative' (TINA), just point Correa's Ecuador.
The small country of Latin America achieved a small miracle under the 10-year governance of Rafael Correa, applying Socialist policies, contrary to the dominant neoliberal doctrine of destruction. Correa did the exact opposite of what the priests of the free market declare, presenting at the end of his term a real success story, against the fake 'success stories' of the neoliberal establishment that consist of plenty of poverty, inequality, unemployment, environmental destruction.
The Correa administration also stood up to the US empire by kicking out the IMF, closing a major US military base on Ecuador's coast and giving political asylum to WikiLeaks founder and key whistleblower, Julian Assange.
Yet, probably the most important move by the Correa administration, was "the suspension of repayment of a large portion of the debt demanded of Ecuador in the form of government bonds held principally by banks in the United States. That unilateral suspension of payment led to a major victory. Ecuador obliged the creditors to accept a 70% reduction of the debts concerned. And that enabled a strong increase in social spending beginning in 2009-2010."
According to Co-Director at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and economist, Mark Weisbrot: “The reforms and macroeconomic policy changes over the past decade, some of which were quite innovative, seem to have allowed for significant economic and social progress ― despite two major external economic shocks that triggered recessions in Ecuador,”
A new CEPR report focusing on socio-economic changes in Ecuador during the era of Correa administration found that:
- Annual per capita GDP growth during the past decade (2006–2016) was 1.5 percent, as compared to 0.6 percent over the prior 26 years.
- The poverty rate declined by 38 percent, and extreme poverty by 47 percent ― a reduction many times larger than that of the previous decade. This resulted from economic growth and employment, and from government programs that helped the poor, such as the cash transfer program Bono de Desarollo Humano, which more than doubled in size as a percent of GDP.
- Inequality fell substantially, as measured by the Gini coefficient (from 0.55 to 0.47), or by the ratio of the top 10 percent to the bottom 10 percent of the income distribution (from 36 to 25, as of 2012).
- The government doubled social spending, as a percentage of GDP, from 4.3 percent in 2006 to 8.6 percent in 2016. This included large increases in spending on education, health, and urban development and housing.
- There were significant gains in education enrollment at various levels, as spending on higher education increased from 0.7 to 2.1 percent of GDP. This is the highest level of government spending on higher education in Latin America, and higher than the average of the OECD countries.
- Government expenditure on health services doubled as a percentage of GDP from 2006 to 2016.
- Public investment increased from 4 percent of GDP in 2006 to 14.8 percent in 2013, before falling to about 10 percent of GDP in 2016.
As the successor of Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, is very close to mark a big victory against the Right Wing opponent, Guillermo Lasso, Correa gave one of his last interviews before leaving office, to Telesur and Abby Martin.
Correa stated that the biggest achievement during his term was the fact that Ecuadorians recovered their pride and self-esteem:
When I took office, the country was in shambles, because of the crisis of 1999. Because of the tragedy of the immigration, almost one million Equadorians left the country, ripping families apart, ripping our society apart. It was a country on the verge of despair. Every day, the press portrayed Ecuadorians as corrupt, lazy and inept, saying only neighboring countries like Colombia and Peru had good highways. We have recovered our pride and our self-esteem as Ecuadorians. And for us, that is intangible. It can't be measured by economic or monetary indicators, etc. For us, that is the greatest achievement.
It is also impressive the fact that the neoliberal propaganda carried out by the mainstream media is identical to every case around the world. The mainstream media of the oligarchs (both in Germany, Greece and elsewhere), were propagating the same nonsense about the Greeks who are lazy, don't work, in order to make the citizens feel guilty about the crisis that erupted in Greece. In reality, the parasitic bankers who were saved through slaughtering wages and pensions of Greeks are largely responsible for the crisis. Ecuador had the courage to write-off debt, contrary to Greece which struggles to survive from an enormous debt, inflated by the Troika (IMF, ECB, Commission) policies.
In another question on what he would wish he had more time to implement, Correa responded quickly, without second thought: More progress in the struggle against child malnutrition.
He said also that Neoliberalism failed miserably in Ecuador and Latin America. They want to blame us for the earthquake. They want to blame the earthquake on 21st century Socialism, but the policies that have failed miserably are their policies, not ours.
At the end, Correa gave an idea on what further steps should Ecuador take towards a progressive path for the benefit of Ecuadorians:
We have made great progress in improving income and salaries and fairer taxation, but now we have to redistribute the wealth, the accumulation, the means of production, with laws like, for example, an inheritance tax. But our oligarchies will fight that tooth and nail, using their media outlets, broadcasting what Gramsci called hegemonic culture. Convincing the poor that what is good for the rich is good for them. Deceiving the great majority. So it is a great challenge in the short and medium range for Ecuador to continue on the path of social justice.
Correa's Ecuador is a good example of what can be achieved by even a small country under a capable president who is truly dedicated to serve the people, not the oligarchy.