Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa may have received as much as $400,000 from Colombian guerrillas and their drug trafficking allies for his 2006 presidential campaign, a U.K. think tank concluded in a report released Tuesday.
The problem is not only reckless spending but also hostility toward business. The Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom, which once ranked El Salvador as the ninth freest economy in the world (2000), now places it at 39.
LIMA, Peru — In his failed 2006 bid for Peru’s presidency, Ollanta Humala donned red T-shirts, boasted of plans to assert state control over energy resources and blasted opponents for warming to the United States, using elements from the playbook that was then helping propel leftist political allies of Venezuela to electoral victories in Latin America.
But in a transformation this year that points to the eclipse of Venezuela by Brazil, Mr. Humala has swapped the red shirts for dark suits, explicitly rejected talk of seizing private companies and celebrated Brazil’s market-oriented economic model, while distancing himself from Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez.
Mr. Humala, 48, made the shift after hiring Brazilian campaign advisers tied to Brazil’s governing Workers Party.
Chile is the first nation whose return to democracy was based on economic freedom. On global economic freedom rankings, Chile stands near the top — in part because its public employees can’t run up debt or corrupt the political process.
The existing constitution makes Chile a full right-to-work country and expressly prohibits government collective bargaining and public employee strikes.
The idea is to prevent the ugly anti-democratic dynamic — now seen in Wisconsin and elsewhere — of public employee unions extorting concessions from politicians in exchange for campaign support.
Whoever wins on June 5, Peru’s next president will be an admirer of one of the two living ghosts that haunt this election, each a political leader who has undermined democracy and shown strong authoritarian tendencies.
Most Peruvians are worried, even if not everyone agrees with the assessment that the choice is between two deadly alternatives. The election will come down to which specter Peruvians fear most, the ghost of Hugo Chávez or the ghost of Alberto Fujimori.
Welcome to this week’s Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. As the title indicates, it’s been a year since Mel Zelaya was thrown out of office. He and his teddy bear are also gone from his tin foil-lined room at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa.
Today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern:
The UN Office for Drugs and Crime’s report
Lula’s adventure in Tehran smacks of the overconfidence of a politician who basks in an approval rating of over 70% and who sees the Iraq war and the financial crisis as having irreparably damaged American power and credibility. But the United States is still Brazil’s second-largest trading partner. Although some American and Brazilian officials are keen to prevent ill-will over Iran from spoiling co-operation in other areas, it nevertheless may do so. The United States Congress may be even less willing to support the elimination of a tariff on Brazil’s sugar-based ethanol, for example.
Lula wants the UN reformed to reflect today’s world, with Brazil gaining a permanent seat on the Security Council. But by choosing to apply his views on how the world should be run to an issue of pressing concern to America and Europe, and in which Brazil has no obvious national interest, Lula may only have lessened the chances that he will get his way.
PUERTO RICO Students approve strike pact. Back in the olden days when I was a student at the UPR they were striking, too, but no one slept in cute little tents on campus. Either way, the strikes are a total waste of time.
The report launched by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) expresses concern about Venezuela due to the existence of cells of armed insurgent groups, such as the Bolivarian Liberation Front and civilian militias supported by the government.