Today, Fernando Coronel, a law student at the Catholic University of Guayaquil, Ecuador, looks at Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa’s new restrictions on trade and the deeper problems he is creating through an alliance with other Latin American leaders advancing “21st Century Socialism.” Coronel observes that “the Correas of the world don’t really trust their fellow human beings to make the correct decisions when they are investing or spending their money.”

Read the commentary at the Acton Institute Website and share your comments in the space below.


  • simeon

    The majority of Ecuadorians voted for Correa so that he would enact these kinds of policies, and they support him. This is known as democracy. Consumers of luxury goods in Ecuador(including myself)can afford to pay more if it means supporting local industry and decreasing the environmental impact of transporting non-local products. I’ll pay more for my wine and chocolates without suffering much. If you are worried about “free” choice in the market, then the US and other large economies should stop flooding the market with artificially cheap products to disrupt small countries’ markets. If you are worried about regulations causing contraband trade, why don’t we stop the wasteful drug war as well. The first step is kicking the US base out of Manta, and the next step is kicking the neo-liberal programming out of your brain.

  • Fernando Coronel

    It is true that the majority of Ecuadorians voted for Correa, and he is still very popular, but also Hitler won the election in Germany and was for years extremely popular. So I don’t think that the argument for democracy and even popularity is enough to support any idea, specially since majority’s come and go so often.

    I think we should remember that this policies were applied before many times by other governments in the history of Ecuador and the results weren’t good. On the other hand, we never had a real open door policy before. Chile went that way and the results are amazing. Maybe it is time to see what really works in the world and learn from that.

    We should be discussing ideas, and as I critic Ecuador for their policies, I also critic the US for theirs.

    I fail to recognize a relationship between the argument exposed in my article, the US military base in Manta and the so called neo-liberal programs.

    We should keep an open mind about this matters and learn from our past mistakes. It is because we don’t know our history that we apply the same policies again and again.

  • kito

    the article fails to mention that the limitations are temporary, as the intended effect is to keep dollars in ecuador during the financial crisis. as im sure the author knows, ecuador has limited reserves of dollars, and does not have the ability to print its own money. correa is working to avoid changing the currency. although he does not like the dollar, he knows, as an economist, the consequences of changing over currency now, in the middle of a crisis, are far more dangerous than taxing imports.

  • Fernando Coronel

    The restrictions are applied only for a limited time, but how long would that be? Peru is already announcing that will do the same thing to Ecuadorian products.

    If you can’t print your own currency then you need to promote exports in order to keep dollars flowing into the economy. This policies will not help our exporting industry and will actually on the other hand hit them harder.

    Regarding the dollar as our currency, I just want to say that President Correa just recently said that we need a Latin American currency soon. He has been saying that for a long time and if you read between the lines, Ecuador will be having a new currency sooner that expected.

    My basic argument is that those policies implemented in Ecuador are not new, have fail in the past, and another way is possible. Once again I go back to the Chilean example.

  • kito

    im not sure why you are touting the chilean free market model. they are a country with a poverty rate in the high 20%, tremendous inequality where under 20 percent of the population account for more than 60 percent of the wealth, and where the bottom 20 percent of the population account for only 3% of the wealth. one big reason they have been doing well is due to copper exports, which account for over 45% of exports. now that exports are down, the copper industry cannot support all the jobs needed to sustain them. their attempts to diversify their economy away from copper have not gone according to plan due to an education system that is lacking, especially in the area of science. additionally, they made the mistake of privatizing their social security system. chile will now have to account for all of the losses from this privatization that has occurred during this financial crisis.

  • Louienyc79

    “the Correas of the world don’t really trust their fellow human beings to make the correct decisions when they are investing or spending their money.” That’s because they cannot be trusted, especially when the wealthy are the ones you are calling “fellow human beings.” You can’t trust big business or the wealthy not to “concentrate wealth” nor to be honest. The more money rich people have, the more they want.The more money they have, the more power they have to push thier self-serving agenda. If you eliminate the rich, then there will be more wealth to use for education, research and development, innovation, and medical care. Hitler won based on a racist, scapegoat agenda and Correa partly won because of promises to help the poor and force the rich to give raises to workers like my cousin, who’s been working for years for a wealthy man, without a pay increase. To begin with, Correa is the way he is because of his experiences with the wealthy and the poor. He made the crooks for “Lista 6″ pay back money they stole in the Filanbanco scandal. He also knows not to trust the United States nor the IMF both of which want to suck Ecuador dry. Correa may not be the best president in the world but I support him as a mechanism against the rich. Most people I have heard complain about Correa seem to be only wealthy people.

  • Fernando Coronel

    I don`t really want to make this a one on one discussion.

    Chile has a poverty rate of 20% as you correctly point out. I fail to see were that is so wrong compared to the 70% poverty rate of Ecuador? Also it is very important to consider that in the 70`s Chile had the same poverty rate than Ecuador. So maybe for you that doesn`t mean anything, but for the average citizen of that country, it means that they can expect to have a three times better income than the ones their grandparents had.

    No country is perfect and many things need to be improved in Chile, but the overall success of that country is out of discussion. My argument, once again, let`s take what worked for them and make it better in our countries instead of trying to do the same we have done over and over again.

    At the end, Chile is the best economy in the region and there is a lot to learn from them.

  • Maria de Siegle

    One of the reasons why Chile’s economy is still working now is because of the strict measures imposed by yes, a dictator, Augusto Pinochet. As happened with F. Franco in Spain. But that is the politics of economics which is something Mr.Correa, despite his alleged Doctorate in Economics is foregoing for his Citizens Revolution which is marching off a cliff.
    The very worst that any government can impose on a country is total control and protectionism. It happened to George Bush with his very first actions on the Steel industry in the U.S. .. it bankrupted them.
    It would do many well to put their “Ecuatoriano” hats on the side and look at the global world. We are no longer isolated and these import measures do NOT protect local industries — in effect they are going to be punished severely. I think we should all understand that neither the U.S., nor the IMF (who we beg for money!) will die without our bananas, shrimp or flowers.. or our low key oil for that matter. To be so in the dark as to think that an Economy can be regulated by government is to repeat the nefarious history of other countries that have done so and have failed miserably.
    Additionally, I truly think that Correa is the “BIGGEST LIAR ANINADO PELUCON”.. BECAUSE he is the son of a convicted drug dealer, and as such is a man of little princples and possibly drug ties since his adolescence. He lives extremely well for a man of the people — with a Belgian cook (he did not like his Ecuatoriano cook who only fed him chicken, whilst some people cannot even afford chicken to eat now), a private plane, jacuzzis and oh yes, a parchuting wife! This is all a crock of BS — we are being taken for a horrific ride into the depths of poverty with this Tyrant.
    To LouieNYC — I would assume you are in NYC.. why don’t you come back here and see what it’s like to live in a country where one cannot plan, project or even think of a future further than a day away… or in a country soon to be stigmatized by a major drug scandal. And, if you are in New York, have a Godiva chocolate on me, and one for your cousin since he must be enjoying his payraise of 25%, with an INFLATION RATE OF APPROX 40% IN THIS COUNTRY. INFLATION IS THE BIGGEST TAX ON ALL ECONOMIES.

    I would honestly reccomend that before you show your ignorance you read up on some Econ 101 — the laws of supply and demand and then understand that economies auto regulate. They cannot be suffocated, and if they are, they will stifle and not grow. Grow up and realize that this country is headed for a major collision with disaster — economically, socially and yes, politically.

    Here we have a 60% poverty rate (Correa’s voting base — yes for $ 35 miserable dollars), and that will only grow. I am glad the LISTA 6 is gone too but that doesn’t mean I will EVER support the ACTIONS OF A MAN OF CORREA’S ILK — A DIVIDER OF A NATION AND A MAN OF NO PRINCIPLES.

  • Maria de Siegle

    ah, to Fernando: AFTER the election, he will get rid of the USD, in order to cut down his massive debt, and to bilk money from the whole country via his devaluation/currency exchange! That is IF HE WINS!!.. oh, and Btw he looks very worried about this narco political scandal and the fact that our country is on the verge of bankruptcy.. err, and Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega are too. Seems like fair punishment for dictators of the left.

    Cheers!

  • Maria de Siegle

    ” I’ll pay more for my wine and chocolates without suffering much. If you are worried about “free” choice in the market, then the US and other large economies should stop flooding the market with artificially cheap products to disrupt small countries’ markets. If you are worried about regulations causing contraband trade, why don’t we stop the wasteful drug war as well. The first step is kicking the US base out of Manta, and the next step is kicking the neo-liberal programming out of your brain.” — FREE CHOICE? I CALL THIS LEFTIST INDOCTRINATION. LARGE ECONOMIES? IN THIS SYSTEM, YOU WON’T GET ANY WINE SOON, CHOCOLATES — ONLY AGUARDIENTE AND MELCOCHA..FORGET CONTRABAND TOO. THERE IS NO DEMAND FOR CONTRABAND — THIS ECONOMY IS BANKRUPT.

  • http://www.cdobs.com John Powers

    Correa lived at Newman Hall in Urbana, Illinois, at the same time I lived there. Given some of the indoctrination sessions at St. John’s during that time, I am glad that I devoted my time to tomfoolery and Fighting Illini Basketball rather than the various social justice movements sponsored by Newman (in those days).

    JBP

  • Maria

    The article also fails to acknowledge that the crisis is not local, nor was it caused by President Correa, wake up, it is a Global crisis, and every country is taking steps to protect themselves…. instead of looking for ways to denigrate the work of our president maybe Mr. Coronel should turn on the news and listen to Mr. Obama’s last speach when he urges the US to consume US produced goods, to support local economy!!!

    And to Maria de Siegle, 90% of the babbling is not even understandable, the few things that actually form a though are wrong. As is common knowledge DICTATORS take power from an elected President, none of the one you named are dictators. And the rest is just pure nonsense based in ignorance not in facts.

  • legalatina

    Correa un “resentido social” as they say in Ecuador.

  • Neal Lang

    “instead of looking for ways to denigrate the work of our president maybe Mr. Coronel should turn on the news and listen to Mr. Obama’s last speach when he urges the US to consume US produced goods, to support local economy!!!”

    Hmmm! Sort of smells like Smoot-Hawley. Apparently the financial markets are taking your advise and listening to Barry Hugo Obama, hence the 12 year low Dow-Jones as it adjust to the “Obama BOOM!”

  • Neal Lang

    “As is common knowledge DICTATORS take power from an elected President, none of the one you named are dictators.”

    Actually a dictator is “a person exercising absolute power, esp. a ruler who has absolute, unrestricted control in a government without hereditary succession.” Fidel was “elected” as “el Presidente” for over 50 years, (as was Stalin, Kim Il Sung, Lenin, Pol Pot, etc. Of course, having no opposition on the ballot helps.

    Barry Hugo Obama is heading for dictator in the Roman sense – “(in ancient Rome) a person invested with supreme authority during a crisis, the regular magistracy being subordinated to him until the crisis was met.” Of course, with Obama’s cures, this will be a “unending” crisis.

    If naivete were a virtue, you might be a saint!