By Beatrice E. Rangel
We just witnessed part 1 of the presidential race in Ecuador, where thanks to a divided opposition, the government-backed candidate Lenin Moreno secured participation in the run-off election scheduled for April 2nd.
Guillermo Lasso, a former banker representing the much-divided antigovernment camp, was able to attract about 29% of the vote. It is expected that he will be able to galvanize most voters behind his candidacy to do away with yet another member of the Latin American populist alliance established by the deceased president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez.
Should he fail to achieve such goal then the democratic revival in Latin America may slowdown.
Many would ask why would such a small and rather inconsequential country carry such weight in regional politics.
The reason of course is geopolitics. Geographically speaking, South America is an immense island divided into three different and well separated regions.
The Eastern Region with its boundaries created by God and nature with the Amazon jungle. This region encompasses Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia.
The Northern region encircled by the last spell of the Andean Cordillera which encircles Venezuela and Colombia.
The Southern part which is skinny and long goes from Ecuador to Chile. In this third region, only Ecuador is a populist fan. Peru and Chile are working, vibrant democracies constantly building a middle class while deepening freedoms.
Should Ecuador remain populist then economic integration would stall.
Without integration, probabilities for the region to raise competition to standards of pacific nations are rather low.
Populism would also stand in the way of following Peru's leadership in its savvy approach to the United States and in its no nonsense approach to development.
As a result, the Southern part of South America would fail to consolidate the much-needed development pole that can positively impact the Eastern region of South America.
But where perhaps the results from the Ecuador presidential race will weigh strongest is in the Northern Region.
Because an axis of evil seems to be emerging in that corner of the South American island.
This has to do with the most successful illicit endeavor ever undertaken in the Americas: drug trade.
As drug production, distribution and marketing began to experience the beneficial impact of globalization, the activity initiated its unstoppable march towards economic integration of Venezuela and Colombia. Globalization resulted in more effective communications means, access to lethal weapons to defend the trade and exuberant financing to engage in wholesale bribery.
Little by little the logics of the business took over the institutional framework first of Venezuela as its leadership embarked on an alliance with the FARC whose business model sprang from drug exploitation.
But now the process is about to get to Colombia through elections in which FARC-backed candidates will enjoy a financial support not available to any other organization.
Should Ecuador elect Mr. Lenin Moreno -- whose close relations with FARC have been well-documented -- the Northern Region of South America would become the new Vice Royalty of New Granada integrated through drugs.Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.
Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet seriesBeatrice Rangel: Rio -- Demystifying the Olympic Games
Beatrice Rangel: The Luddite Syndrome in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: Venezuela's Unexpected Transition
Beatrice Rangel: We Now Have a Wider Canal But Has Our Wisdom Expanded???
Beatrice Rangel: From Brexit to Tesla, Progress is Made by Leaders!!!
Beatrice Rangel: As the World Goes Latin, Latin America Gets Logical
Beatrice Rangel: On the Difficulties of Fighting Barbarism in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: The Impending Age of Housekeeping!!!!
Beatrice Rangel: What Happened to All Those Rosy Forecasts for Latin America?
Beatrice Rangel: On Dialogue and the Rules of Geopolitics in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: The Ides of Wisdom in Venezuela
Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Populism
Beatrice Rangel: Three Ladies in Distress
Beatrice Rangel: Trump, Lula, Kirchner and the Last Tupi-Guaranis
Beatrice Rangel: Time for Departures in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: A Contrarian View on the Panama Papers
Beatrice Rangel: Brazil's Lady in Her Labyrinth
Beatrice Rangel: Back to a Divided Home!!!
Beatrice Rangel: A Historical Take-Off in the Americas??
Beatrice Rangel: A Skipped Journey, a Reaffirmation and a Clearing of Path in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: The Demise of Civility in the Americas!!
Beatrice Rangel: The Americas from Boutros Boutros-Ghali to Ban Ki Moon
Beatrice Rangel: The Pope's Difficult Stopover in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: Farewell to The “Diplomacy of Reason”
Beatrice Rangel: 2 Diseases in Latin America -- Different Prescriptions, Very Different Outcomes
Beatrice Rangel: On Health Alerts and the Long Arm of Justice in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: When Crime Meets Glory
Beatrice Rangel: Playing Hansel and Gretel in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: Good News/Bad News Starts The Monkey Leap Year
Beatrice Rangel: The Gifts of Christmas!!!!!!
Beatrice Rangel: Crying Wolf in Venezuela
Beatrice Rangel: A 21st Century Tale of Two Cities
Beatrice Rangel: Are the Americas Ready for President Trump?
Beatrice Rangel: On Predictions of War & Global Confusion
Beatrice Rangel: Paris and the Return of Fear
Beatrice Rangel: Marijuana & Latin America's Next Trade Corridor
Beatrice Rangel: Of Burning Airplanes & Argentinean Tsunamis
Beatrice Rangel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the Americas!!
Beatrice Rangel: Buena Vista's Magic Covers the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: Pride and Perjury in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: Trompe L’oeils Proliferate in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: The Economic Consequences of Peace in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: Colombia, the FARC & the Makings of Gangland in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: When Extreme Weather Meets Extreme Politics Calamities are Bound to Happen
Beatrice Rangel: When Ladies Hit 70
Beatrice Rangel: About Uninformed Elites and Gullible Leaders
Beatrice Rangel: On US-Engineered Soft Landings in Cuba and Venezuela
Beatrice Rangel: On the Many Ways Cecil Matters
Beatrice Rangel: Blue Moons Lead to Extraordinary Happenings in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: On Why Embassy Openings Do Not Necessarily Herald Different Policies
Beatrice Rangel: When Jupiter meets Venus
Beatrice Rangel: When Markets and Manners Crash
Beatrice Rangel: From Grexit to Exit, Contagion is in the Air
Beatrice Rangel: An Infuriated God & An Environmental Crusader Mark the Summer Solstice
Beatrice Rangel: Between Ionesco & the Falklands Syndrome
Beatrice Rangel: The Ugly Americas
Beatrice Rangel: How FIFA Corrupted the Beautiful Game in the Americas and World
Beatrice Rangel: Could the US RICO Act Be Applied to Latin America?
Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Commodities for Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: The End of the Chinese Free Lunch in the Americas!!
Beatrice Rangel: The Crooked Twig of Democracy in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: Of a White Knight for Three Latin American Ladies in Distress
Beatrice Rangel: Withdrawal Symptoms?
Beatrice Rangel: The Un-Mannered Summit
Beatrice Rangel: Easter Miracles in Latin America and the World
Beatrice Rangel: Two Islands, Two Legacies & One Challenge - Modernity
Beatrice Rangel: Killing Me Softly -- the Obama Administration’s Legacy in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: Of Upcoming Dynasties and Exhausted Ideas in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: Of Thunderous Silences, Quiet Noises and Flash Backs in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: Latin America's Dangerous Exports to Europe & the Demise of an Old Fox
Beatrice Rangel: Of Sweet Deals, Sugar Daddies, Direct Mail & Obama’s Care
Beatrice Rangel: Of Latin American Singing Birds, Femme Fatales & Empty Shelves
Beatrice Rangel: When Flying Dragons & Rage Infusions Turn Against Their Latin American Masters
Beatrice Rangel: Holy Haberdashery!!! Is Fire Building Under the Surface in the Americas??
Beatrice Rangel: 2015 -- A Year for Balance in the Americas???
Beatrice Rangel: Pope Francis Looks at the Americas In His Christmas Remarks
Beatrice Rangel: The Paint Brush Hanging from the Wall in Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: A Future for the Americas??
Beatrice Rangel: Going Forward, Going Backward -- It's the Americas!!
Beatrice Rangel: An Eerily Familiar Week in the Americas
Beatrice Rangel: Tale of Two Walls
Beatrice Rangel: Across the Americas, We the PEOPLE
Beatrice Rangel: Across Latin America, The Populist Beat Goes On!!
Beatrice Rangel: Oh My, The Patron of the Eternal Feminine Has Left Us!!!
Beatrice Rangel: Communism from China to Cuba Finds Corruption!!!
Beatrice Rangel: From Rio to Hong Kong Discontent Taps the East to Find a New Way
Beatrice Rangel: Will Latin America Miss the Broadband Development Target?
Beatrice Rangel: Kissinger’s World Order and Latin America
Beatrice Rangel: The Third Attempt -- Will Modernity Prevail in Latin America?
Rangel: While US is Away, Latin America Rethinks Development Paths
Rangel: In the Midst of Riots, a Star is Born in Brazil
Rangel: In Mexico Cinderella Gets to the Ball while Colombia Gets a Chance at Peace