Christian Science Monitor: Ecuador moves to cut interest rates for poor
Banks and microlenders say Ecuador's leftist president may hurt most those he wants to help with 'financial justice' law.
Quito, Ecuador - Ecuador's new leftist president, Rafael Correa, is wasting no time forging his own path toward the "21st-century socialism" championed by Venezuela's anti-US leader, Hugo Chávez.
In April, three months after taking office on promises to wrest control of the country from the hands of a corrupt elite, Mr. Correa kicked out the representative to the World Bank. He blames the financial institution for forced privatization programs that have failed to benefit the poor, he says.
Now he's pushing through a controversial "financial justice" bill to increase state control of the banking sector.
The bill, which is expected to pass into law this week or next, paves the way for a complete overhaul of an abusive financial system, say government officials. It's also the latest example of a populist movement strengthening throughout Latin America.
But this new law could hurt most those Correa hopes to help. As he strives to protect Ecuador's poor from predatory lenders and free the country from the "Father-knows-best" conditionality of international institutions, such as the World Bank, he risks putting microlending groups out of business, preventing thousands of Ecuadoreans from receiving cash loans to lift themselves out of poverty. ...