A ray of hope in Ecuador
Years ago, we spoke of Ecuador and having some of the wonderful "ceviche" they prepare in Guayaquil. It was a quiet and beautiful country that rarely made the front pages. Today, Ecuador suffers the narco violence and social upheaval that its neighbors face. You may remember that a presidential candidate was killed weeks ago.
On Sunday, a little ray of hope came from Ecuador. They had elections and a good guy won. This is the story:
Businessman Daniel Noboa, 35, will become the youngest president in Ecuador's history, after winning Sunday's run-off.
With more than 97% of votes counted, Mr Noboa, a centrist, had a lead of four percentage points over his left-wing rival, Luisa González.
Ms González conceded the election and congratulated Mr Noboa on his win.
In his victory speech, Mr Noboa said that he would "give back a smile and peace to the country".
The election campaign was overshadowed by unprecedented levels of violence, which saw one of the candidates, Fernando Villavicencio, assassinated just days before the first round of voting in August.
The murder rate in Ecuador quadrupled between 2018 and 2022 and opinion polls suggested that security was voters' main concern going into the election.
Flanked by heavily armed soldiers, Mr Noboa took to the stage and said that "tomorrow we will start working for a new Ecuador, to reconstruct a country battered by violence, by corruption and hate".
Analysts point out that Mr Noboa, who has little political experience, will face an uphill struggle to tackle Ecuador's security problem and its poorly performing economy during his limited time in office.
Yes, he will face "an uphill struggle" but at least his ideas make sense. The contest was a clear-cut choice between Right and Left so we are happy that the guy to the Right got more votes.
What should the U.S. do? We should embrace the new president and do our best to have him succeed. He is, let's hope, the first of a wave of defeats for the leftists driving Colombia and Argentina into the ditch. It would be nice for President Biden to give him a warm welcome and show the world that we like what just came out of Ecuador.
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Image: Assemblea Nacional Ecuador