Ecuador Abandons Socialist Latin America Bloc over ‘Frustration’ with Venezuela
Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno took another step Thursday towards undoing the ties leftist predecessor Rafael Correa fostered with the rogue regimes in Cuba and Venezuela, withdrawing from the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), a socialist alternative to the Organization of American States (OAS).
Late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez established the ALBA in the mid-2000s as an alternative to the then-ascendant capitalist coalition the Area of Free Commerce for the Americas (ALCA). As that group is no longer active, the ALBA serves more practically today as a rival to the OAS and its Summit of the Americas, bringing together the continent’s socialist leaders to plan strategies to diminish the influence of the United States in the region.
Ecuador joined the ALBA under Correa, a staunch ally of Chávez’s. While Moreno ran as Correa’s hand-picked successor and member of the same party, he has spent much of his time in office undoing Correa’s policies. Under Moreno, Ecuador has also filed an arrest warrant for Correa under corruption charges, one Correa has avoided by refusing to return to Ecuador from his newly adopted country, Belgium.
Ecuador cited its “frustration” with a “lack of will” on the part of the socialist government of Venezuela, which leads ALBA, to improve the lives of its citizens, currently living through the worst humanitarian crisis in the history of that nation.
“Only a stable democracy in Venezuela will produce economic stability, which will avoid the continuation of the mass exodus of its citizens,” Foreign Minister José Valencia said at a press conference in Quito on Friday. The crisis in Venezuela – which has resulted in severe food and medical shortages, water shortages, and extreme poverty nationwide – has also triggered one of the largest refugee migrations in Latin American history. Some scholars suggest that, by the end of the crisis, Venezuela’s migrant population will exceed that of Syria’s. While Ecuador does not share a border with Venezuela – it is separated from Venezuela by Colombia – Quito has offered to help aid refugees seeking a way out of the nation.
Valencia placed the blame squarely on Venezuela’s socialist dictatorship, once a reliable ally for Ecuador.
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