Can Ecuador’s Presidential Election Save Latin America’s Left?

Can Ecuador’s Presidential Election Save Latin America’s Left?
Ecuador's president-elect, Lenin Moreno, celebrates his victory, Quito, April 4, 2017 (AP photo by Dolores Ochoa).

It is perhaps apt that the man who brought a desperately needed reprieve to Latin America’s left is named Lenin. Lenin Moreno, the winner of the April 2 presidential election in Ecuador, now has the daunting task of not only moving his country forward, but salvaging the once-promising but now crumbling project of the left in South America.

Moreno, to be sure, is no Bolshevik, but his victory is being hailed by anxious socialists in the region as the start of a comeback. The outgoing Ecuadorean president, Rafael Correa, declared that his protégé’s win marked an “end to that change,” referring to the rightward drift of the continent’s politics. And Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro—the troubled heir to the late Hugo Chavez, patriarch of Latin American socialists—was quick to claim Moreno’s success as a victory for the cause. “The citizens’ revolution has been victorious,” an exultant Maduro declared.

Floundering socialist leaders in the region are hoping the results in Ecuador will radiate the warmth of success in their direction.

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