Another blow for the left: Ecuador elects a conservative new president

First Australia and New Zealand over the weekend, and now that it’s Monday, it’s another bad day to wake up a leftist.

Over in Ecuador, where an assassination took out a conservative frontrunner to its presidential race just weeks before the vote, another right-winger stepped up to the plate to openly and directly reject socialism — and sure enough, got elected, 52.3-47.7.

According to the Financial Times:

Daniel Noboa has won Ecuador’s presidential election as the South American country battles an unprecedented crime wave and an ailing economy. Noboa, a centre-right former lawmaker, beat leftist rival Luisa González in a run-off election on Sunday, taking 52 per cent of the vote with 93 per cent counted. “Tomorrow your new president of the republic will get to work,” Noboa, who will take office in December, told supporters on Sunday night. Noboa campaigned on a market-friendly platform of youth employment and promoting foreign investment. The 35-year-old served a short stint as a lawmaker, from 2021 until May this year, and chaired the economic development commission in Congress. Before that he held management roles at Noboa Corp., the family business.

Obviously, the election was about ideas, not personalities, given the handicaps Noboa had as the son of a banana baron and a late entrant to the presidential race.  The voters didn’t care about those things, though; they just wanted to get rid of the socialism.

The Associated Press’s account was snottier and more cynical than most, suggesting that no one would ever want to vote for such a candidate...until people did:

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Daniel Noboa has managed to do what his father failed at five times: Getting elected as Ecuador’s president.

And Noboa did it Sunday on his first attempt, winning a runoff election against a leftist lawyer on the resume of a 35-year-old who belongs to the South American country’s elite, which means some schooling in the U.S., some entrepreneurial work, some dabbling in politics.

Obviously, the voters knew what they wanted, choosing prosperity and free markets, plus a crime cleanup, over the tax-and-spend policies of the left, which has left Ecuador grossly indebted to China and a major shipper of illegals fleeing the country in search of work.  The voters had to have been completely sick of the left, which ran a seemingly attractive woman as its candidate, who vowed to take instruction from former leftist Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa, an unabashed ally of Hugo Chávez, until internal polls suggested she distance herself from him, and she got kind of quiet.

It fooled no one.  Last night, it was all about Make Ecuador Great Again.

This brings up the issue of President Trump.  Is Noboa a Trump-admirer?  Is this another Trump-wave election?  I did a lot of searching and couldn’t find any statements from Noboa, either pro or con, on President Trump, so I don’t know.

But Noboa’s vice president, Veronica Abad, is something else.

According to a Google Translate of a piece from El Universo, the main newspaper in Ecuador:

She defines herself as a classic liberal and pro-life woman. She is part of the Latin American Liberal Forum. She tunes in with some ideals of the Argentine economist and presidential candidate Javier Milei. In September 2022 she attended the conversation that Milei offered in Quito. In previous years, on her social networks she has expressed her support for the far-right former presidents Donald Trump, of the United States, and Jair Bolsonaro, of Brazil, as well as the Spanish party VOX.

That puts her in the same wave as Trump and Milei, taking the lessons of economic growth, rule of law, and prosperity that come of the Trump agenda as a blueprint for their own countries.

Unlike Argentina, Ecuador already dollarized its economy under a previous conservative wave.  That has kept the country from going the way of Venezuela, but it still has major problems, such as crime and the influence of Mexican cartels, who took out the last conservative presidential candidate.  (Notice that in his campaign-trail pictures, Noboa is wearing a bulletproof vest).  With crime that front and center, it means Noboa’s going to need to go the route of El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, throwing them all in jail on the double just to make the place liveable.  If Noboa can do that, his country will be in good shape and safe for free markets, growth, and prosperity. 

The news accounts pointed out that Noboa is going to have a hard time getting anything done, though, given that his term is just 18 months and his legislature is still loaded with leftists.  At a minimum, he will have to work quickly and decisively.  That he is identified as center-right in most accounts instead of hardcore right, and has a patrician background, probably means he isn’t as Trumpish as Milei and may have more trouble still because he comes from the wealthy establishment and may still hew to the old ways of the oligarchs before the far left moved in.

All the same, he seems a far better choice for Ecuador than the alternative, who was part of the tired Chavista socialist mafia.  That’s a sign Trump’s example and ideas are catching fire in Latin America.

The left must be having conniption fits over that half-life of Trump taking over its Latin American playground.  As if these victories were not bad enough, it’s notable that two of the left’s banner leaders — Gustavo Petro of Colombia and Gabriel Boric of Chile — sport poll numbers at abysmally low levels, meaning voters are tired of their act, too.

Bottom line here is that Trump’s ideas certainly are winning elections in South America and Oceania, even as Joe Biden attempts to shut Trump out from the presidency here.

It seems to be catching.  Let’s hope its next stop will be Argentina next week and, further down the road, the U.S.

The trend is our friend.

Image: Screen shot from El Pais video via YouTube.

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