[Marxism] big left victory in Ecuador!

Dbachmozart at aol.com Dbachmozart at aol.com
Mon Nov 27 07:47:06 MST 2006


Leftist Candidate in Ecuador Is Ahead in Vote, Exit Polls Show 
 
Dolores Ochoa/Associated Press
Supporters of Rafael Correa celebrated in Quito after hearing he was ahead in 
Sunday’s runoff election. 
By SIMON ROMERO
Published: November 27, 2006
QUITO, Ecuador, Nov. 26 — Rafael Correa, an urbane economist who has rattled 
nerves in Washington with plans to limit American military activities in 
Ecuador and renegotiate the country’s foreign debt, seemed headed to an easy 
victory on Sunday in the presidential election, according to several exit polls. 
A win by Mr. Correa, 43, could bring Ecuador into a group of Latin American 
nations with leftist presidents, including Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua, which 
are allied with President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. Mr. Correa has close ties 
to Mr. Chávez, whose government is prepared to offer Ecuador assistance to 
strengthen its national oil company. 
“Chávez must be smiling in Caracas,” said Vicente Albornoz, director of 
Cordes, an economic research group here. “But what I’m more worried about is 
Ecuador going through a period of conflict and instability.” 
The results of the runoff election were not certain on Sunday night, though 
preliminary figures pointed to a strong victory by Mr. Correa. Álvaro Noboa, 
the banana tycoon who was Mr. Correa’s rival, would not accept the exit poll 
results, setting the stage for days of political tension. Official results were 
not expected until Tuesday or Wednesday, election officials said. 
Still, several exit polls by private companies and an early count by the 
nongovernmental observer group Participación Ciudadana pointed to a wide margin of 
victory for Mr. Correa, who promises a “citizen’s revolution” by convening a 
constitutional assembly that would diminish the influence of Ecuador’s 
fractious Congress and give greater power to the president. 
Three exit polls announced on Ecuadorean television and radio gave Mr. Correa 
about 57 percent of the vote as opposed to 43 percent for Mr. Noboa. The wide 
commercial avenues of Quito, a stronghold for Mr. Correa, were filled with 
cars honking their horns as voters began celebrating on Sunday night. 
Mr. Correa ran as an outsider, portraying Mr. Noboa, 56, a Bible-quoting 
scion of a Guayaquil family who is Ecuador’s richest man, as someone who would use 
the presidency to advance his economic interests. The race was symbolized by 
insults, with Mr. Noboa describing Mr. Correa as a “devil” and a lackey of 
Venezuela and Cuba. 
“Noboa is a vulgar man who uses God’s name to expand his power,” said 
Clemencia Pozo, 39, a street vendor here who said he voted for Mr. Correa.
Mr. Correa also spoke of his Roman Catholic faith during the campaign, but in 
relatively quiet contrast to Mr. Noboa, who sank to his knees at rallies in 
an attempt to connect with poor voters. Mr. Correa fiercely criticized 
President Bush, calling him “dimwitted” at one point, while supporting an end to an 
agreement that allows the American military to use a base on the Pacific coast 
for drug surveillance operations. 
In an interview, Mr. Correa said he hoped to maintain cordial relations with 
the United States, where more than a million Ecuadorean immigrants live, 
largely in New York, New Jersey and Florida. 
“We love the American people and its government, aside from the criticism we 
might have of that government,” said Mr. Correa, pointing to the war in Iraq 
as an obstacle to stronger ties. Mr. Correa said he would welcome the 
opportunity to shake Mr. Bush’s hand, describing him as the “representative of the 
American people.” 
“It’s nothing personal against Bush,” he said. “I just don’t agree with his 
thinking.” 
Mr. Correa said he wanted to reconfigure Ecuador’s economy with policies 
inspired by economists wary of overexposing developing countries to market forces, 
like Joseph E. Stiglitz of Columbia University. Mr. Correa, who got a 
doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois, added that he was no fan of 
Milton Friedman, the economist who died this month and whose influential work 
favored minimizing the role of government in the global economy. 
Citing the example of Chile, where a state-controlled copper producer 
contributes much to the country’s economic growth, Mr. Correa said he hoped to 
strengthen Ecuador’s national oil company. He positioned a more nationalistic energy 
policy within a regional project to strengthen ties among South American 
nations, along the lines of what Mr. Chávez advocates in his “Bolivarian 
Revolution.” 
“The dream of Bolívar in the 21st century is more than a dream,” Mr. Correa 
said. “It’s a decision of survival.” 
In the first election round in mid-October, Mr. Correa appeared to have 
suffered because of his ties to Mr. Chávez. After Mr. Noboa won that vote, Mr. 
Correa shifted the emphasis of his campaign to focus on domestic issues like 
affordable housing and cash subsidies for the poor. 
It remains to be seen how Mr. Correa will interact with Congress, which ousts 
presidents with ease in Ecuador. Analysts said much would depend on how 
quickly he moved to convene a constitutional assembly that would expand his powers. 
Unlike Mr. Noboa, who has allies in Congress, Mr. Correa has almost none. 
Equally daunting, analysts say, is Ecuador’s reliance on high oil prices to 
maintain economic stability. Government spending is climbing about 15 percent a 
year, compared with economic growth of about 4 percent a year, according to 
private economists here, following policies that Mr. Correa pushed for during a 
brief stint as finance minister. 



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