On April 2, Ecuador will hold its runoff presidential ballot, the first major Latin America election since Donald Trump’s unexpected November victory. Polls could be wrong, but so far all of them indicate that Ecuador’s next president will be wheelchair-bound Lenín Moreno, who is promising to continue the progressive agenda of the country’s outgoing leader, Rafael Correa. It’s good news, indicating that the Trump effect might rebound in favor of the Latin American left, halting an emboldened neoliberal right, which now rules in Brazil and Argentina.
There was a moment less than a decade ago, at the crest of the region’s “pink tide,” when Latin America was governed by representatives of each of its historic left-wing traditions: a trade unionist in Brazil, a liberation theologian in Paraguay, a Peronist in Argentina, a Keynesian economist in Ecuador, a feminist medical doctor in Chile, a (former) urban guerrilla Marxist in Uruguay, an indigenous-rights peasant activist in Bolivia (whose mentor was a Trotskyist miner), a nationalist in Honduras, and a military left populist in Venezuela. Nearly the full left spectrum, especially if we were to be generous and include Cuban Stalinists.