Though the result has yet to be certified, Ecuadoran press is reporting that leftist candidate Rafael Correa has defeated pro-business (and pro-American) Alvaro Noboa for the presidency of Ecuador. Exit polls give Correa a 15 point lead, and early vote counts from about 20% of national precincts confirm.
In his first comments after early results were reported, Correa pledged to fight America’s “free trade” agenda and open a strategic dialogue with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. But, he said, no one should expect him to try to be a revolutionary like Chavez or Fidel Castro.
This is bad news, because it means that what happened in Bolivia will happen also in Ecuador: international agreements will be broken or unilaterally reshaped; Ecuador will throw its diplomatic votes against the U.S . at every turn; and Venezuela’s intelligence services will set up shop in Quito to help ”purge” the whole bureaucracy of pro-American elements–especially those officials educated in the U.S.; i.e., the most competent people in the government.
If the pro-Chavez trend in Latin America is bad, the pro-stupid trend is even worse. Historians of Latin America constantly complain of the evils of colonialism, but what I find amazing is Latin America’s capacity for self-inflicted injury–and the same injury over and over again.
P.S. Over in Venezuela, Chavez (who holds a commanding lead over his rival) gave this spin to his looming electoral victory: “There is no room in Venezuela for any project other than the Bolivarian Revolution.” The free press, already too intimidated to speak stridently against him, wonders just what that means. After all, the Cuban Revolution had to restrain itself on all fronts so long as there was freedom of the press, which is why Castro did away with it after less than a year-and-a-half in power