by Sean Patrick Murphy
Since Rafael Correa was elected president of Ecuador in 2006, the country has become a study in new socialism.
It is new because it combines the social aspect of socialism while also relying on market forces.
Ecuador, like many developing countries, has suffered from the ill
effects of “dependencia,” a system that keeps the nation in perpetual
debt to its creditors. “Dependencia” is reminiscent of the situation
sharecroppers faced in the American south where they owed more money to
the company store than they could afford.
One bold action coming from Correa’s administration is the Yasuni project.
The Yasuni area is rich with oil and Correa is asking the international
community to pay Ecuador for not exploiting the oil there.
Previous administrations allowed oil exploitation in the Amazon jungle
section of Ecuador with disastrous results caused by oil waste being
dumped with little or no consideration for the wildlife there.
Correa is attempting a unique arrangement whereby Ecuador leaves the
Yasuni region in its pristine state and is rewarded by the international
community for doing so.
That approach is an example of the new socialism, a belief system that embraces global thinking and local stewardship.
Correa rejects the old system of development where the recipient of foreign aid is held hostage to creditors indefinitely.
It is an interesting time in Latin America right now. The left has risen from country to country over the last few years.
Although Correa is a socialist, he does not adhere to the traditional socialism that Hugo Chavez does in Venezuela.
This documentary does an excellent job of revealing the challenges faced by Ecuador and the bold experiment it has undertaken.
Ecuador is available to rent.
Murphy can be reached at: Lojano@comcast.net