Like Venezuela, the administrations in Ecuador and Bolivia have taken decisive steps to concentrate power in the executive branch, weaken independent institutions, persecute political opposition, and close media space. Keeping their strongmen in power has been the crown jewel of these countries’ strategy, says the National Endowment for Democracy’s Fabiola Cordova.
In an effort to overcome constitutional term limits preventing extended stays in office, President Rafael Correa in Ecuador and President Morales in Bolivia made different political calculations on what their citizens might be willing to bear, she writes for Resurgent Dictatorship:
Morales and Correa remain in power and maintain strong popular support, but their miscalculations have created the best chances yet of opening space for political competition in both countries. It presents an opportunity for political oppositions to rise to the occasion with policy proposals that reestablish checks and balances and strengthen independent institutions. Although the tide is turning against populist authoritarian regimes in Latin America, much remains to be done to restore democratic governance.