Ecuador: Leftist Correa wins presidential elections

Rafael CorreaAssociated Press reports:

QUITO, Ecuador Nov 27, 2006 — Rafael Correa, a leftist nationalist who is friendly with Venezuela‘s anti-U.S. president, trounced a Bible-toting banana tycoon in Ecuador’s presidential runoff on Sunday, partial results indicated.

A victory by Correa, a U.S.-trained economist who has rattled Wall Street by threatening to reduce foreign debt payments and oppose free trade efforts, would strengthen South America’s tilt to the left, with Ecuador joining like-minded governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and several other countries.

“We receive this very high honor that the Ecuadorean people have bestowed on us with profound serenity, with profound hope,” Correa told a news conference.

See also Indymedia Ecuador.

And here.

Update: here.

See also on Bolivia and Morales.

8 thoughts on “Ecuador: Leftist Correa wins presidential elections

  1. Bush Loses Election in Ecuador
    Posted by: “bigraccoon” redwoodsaurus
    Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:38 am (PST)
    Bush Loses Election in Ecuador

    The Progressive
    November 27, 2006

    The Bush Administration has lost another election, this time
    in Ecuador.

    Correa’s victory is the latest setback not just for Bush but
    also for the model of corporate globalization that
    Washington has been imposing on Latin America for fifteen
    years now. Populist Rafael Correa triumphed over the richest
    man in the country, Alvaro Noboa, a banana tycoon.

    During the campaign, Correa thumbed his nose at Bush,
    calling him “dimwitted.” And Correa vowed to reject a free
    trade deal with the United States, to close a U.S. military
    base there, and to discard some of the foreign debts his
    country has accumulated, which he calls “illegitimate.”

    Correa’s victory is the latest setback not just for Bush but for
    the model of corporate globalization that Washington has
    been imposing on Latin America for fifteen years now.

    One country after another has spat out the toxic medicine:
    from Argentina and Bolivia to Uruguay and Venezuela.

    And there’s good reason for it: The imposition of the
    Washington model has brought a decline in living standards
    throughout the continent.

    That governments in Latin America have been able to get
    away with these acts of rebellion is nothing short of
    astonishing, given the historical record of the last 100 years.
    It has been a fixed star of U.S. policy during all this time that
    no country in Latin America could defy the wishes of
    Washington. Fidel Castro was the exception that gnawed at
    the pride of Presidents. No repeats were supposed to be
    allowed. And so the United States helped overthrow Goulart
    in Brazil and Bosch in the Dominican Republic and Allende in
    Chile and Aristide in Haiti.

    The Bush Administration tried to maintain the practice by
    supporting a coup against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in
    2002. But much to its chagrin, the coup makers proved inept,
    and the Venezuelan military refused to turn on Chavez, who
    quickly regained his post.

    Now with versions of socialism flourishing in countries
    throughout Latin America, including in Brazil and Chile, the
    ability of Washington to keep playing its hemispheric bullying
    role is greatly attenuated. In part, the people of Latin
    America have benefited from Bush’s “war on terror”
    obsession and his Iraq War debacle, which have consumed
    the attention and resources of his Administration. As a result,
    Washington has not been able to grind its heal to the south.
    And in part, the people of Latin America have simply
    reasserted their power. Done en masse, this is too potent a
    force for an aging empire to counteract.

    Correa understands that. He’s a leftwing economist who
    does not worship at the altar of free trade.

    Instead, he wants to protect the welfare of his people and to
    defend their right to exercise sovereignty over their own

    For U.S. oil companies, which have been reaping enormous
    profits from Ecuador’s natural resources, this is not good

    But it is good news for the people of Ecuador, and for those
    everywhere who refuse to bend their knees to their
    would-be masters-whether in Washington or in the
    boardroom of ExxonMobil.


  2. René Báez
    ALAI – Latin American Information Movement)

    Systemic corruption and elections in the “new style”

    The recent electoral processes in Latin America and specifically in Ecuador cannot be understood in isolation from external determining factors, like those stemming from the invisible instances of international financial capital, the so called Washington Consensus or the hemispheric policy of the White House, by means of which governments are rendered inadmissible that fail to cooperate with coporate globalization (“radical populism” if one wants ot use the new terminology of the Pentagon). The attitude in question includes a variant of the imperial discourse rooted in the fight aganst communism that reigned during the Cold War. What are we talking about?

    Preventive war, preventive fraud.

    In an interview published under the title “Washington: the world’s principal terrorist government” (1998), Noam Chomsky explains the change in the following terms : “It does not matter to the United States whether a country has a formal democracy or some other regime. What it cares about is that it subordinates itself to its system of world domination. The fundamental principle is: Will a country allow itself to be robbed? Will it permit foreign corporations to invest and exploit at will? If it does so, it can have any political system it pleases : be it fascist, communist, whatever it wants…But if a country begins to use its resouces for its own population, then it must be destroyed.”

    After 9-11 and confronted by the resurgence of Latin American nationalism with the consolidation of the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, the emergence of anti-neoliberal governments, especially in the Southern Cone, the defeat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas and the energy of alternative forms of integration like the Bolivarian Alternative for America (ALBA) and the People’s Trade Treaties (TPP), the global establishment has decided to introduce a theoretical/practical corollary to the Bush Jr. doctrine on “the international crusade against terrorism”. That corollary is none other than preventive fraud, operated out in favour of clientelist politicians.

    The pioneer Mexican experience
    One of Mexico’s characteristics is to anticipate continental processes. Pablo Gonzalez Casanova, ex-rector of Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM), in a newspaper article entitled “This is not democracy” explains the recent presidential win of PAN candidate President Calderon and of the transnationalized Mexican oligarchy over his PRD rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador based on reasoning like the following ” The 2006 elections are not “elections of State” like earlier ones, rather they are the new type of elections of the emerging transnational World State,which counts among its nodes or collaborative subordinate associates numerous States and regimes of the imperial centre and its periphery. All the world’s States and political regimes since 1972-1980 (the time of Pinochet, Reagan and Thatcher) find themselves in the process of operational deconstruction and reconstruction. The final objective of the new way or model of domination and accumulation is to achieve something that combines the operational with the dialectical and practical and what the new “experts” call “governance”. By “governance” they mean the art of building States, governments and functional elections for the emerging transnational State, which is composed of the military-business complexes they create to ensure their domination.” (1)

    According to numerous accusations, something similar happened in Peru where the venal “social democrat” Alan Garcia managed to win with the blatant support of the World Power and its system of propaganda, against the nationalist Ollanta Humala. Panama may have been the object of the same instrumentality in relation to the referendum on the widening of the canal. And it is what may have been tried in Nicaragua to block the victory of Sandinista Daniel Ortega.

    Ecuador : two candidates, two projects
    With the backdrop of the abject administration of Alfredo Palacio and the exhaustion of neoliberalism, barely concealed by high oil prices and familiy remittances from emigrant workers, the presidential first round vote on October 15th included 13 candidates representing the complete imaginable political spectrum. Already on the eve of the vote, opinion polls put Left-nationalist Rafael Correa (Alianza Pais-PSE) as the big favourite of the election card trick, followed by “centrist” Leon Roldos (Red-ID) and by the openly oligarchical neoliberal candidates Cynthia Viteri (PSC) and Alvaro Noboa (PRIAN).

    Correa, an academic who confronted local and transnational “vulture” capitalism at the start of the Palacio government managed to catapult himself as a winner thanks to his acuity in recovering a mandate for defence of sovereignty and the clamour for a refounding of the country that emerged as much from the “Outlaw” days of April 2005 that deposed the traitor Lucio Gutierrez as from the battlehardened mobilizations of the Confederation of Ecuadoran Indigenous Associations (CONAIE) against the Free Trade Treaty and foreign oil companies, especially Occidental Petroleum (Oxy). His platform – detailed in our study “Episodes to remember” (2) – is based on three vectors that do not work for corporate globalization: a) dismantling the Washington Consensus model, b) using a national and democratic economic strategy based on recovering natural resources and c) incorporating Ecuador into Bolivarian-style integration schemes like ALBA or TPP. Never mind a position favouring a negotiated solution to the Colombian civil war and revoking the lease of the Manta military base to the Pentagon’s Southern Command.

    The spread of Correa’s programme under the emblematic slogans of “The Country Returns!” and “Passion for our Country!” caused an awakening of “Outlaw” nationalism and meant broad multi-class support from all regions of the country and even from among “overseas ecuadorans”.

    Alvaro Noboa, heir to the biggest fortune ever accumulated in the country (3) turned out to be the other candidate through to the second round and was even declared the offical winner of the 2006 election – thanks to the fraud we will analyse later.

    For the contest that concerns us, “Alvarito” projected himself – just as George W. Bush did in his moment – as “God’s messenger” and built a platform with proposals that, beyond the theoretical elements based on market fundamentalism and open-ness, left open to view the ingredients of maximalist neoliberalism and “colonial fascism” in the tradition of dictators like Somoza, Trujillo, and “Papa Doc” Duvalier with his Ton-Ton Macoutes.

    Some of his proposals should he come to power are the following a) to provide legal and military guarantees for corporate capital, b) to foment “governance” through absolute control of all the functions of the State, c) to lower taxes to attract foreign and local investment, d) to finish off the process of labour flexibilization (“flexploitation”), e) to auction off public resources and privatize Petroecuador and the Ecuadoran Social Security Institute, f) to faithfully pay foreign and local creditors and increase foreign indebtedness, g) to reactivate Free Trade Treaty negotiations with the United States (postponed indefinitely since the steamroller win for the Democrats), h) to guarantee the presence of North American soldiers and mercenaries in the Manta base after 2009, i) to break off diplomatic relations with Cuba and Venezuela, j) to involve the army directly in the age-old armed conflict between the Colombian oligarchy and the FARC.

    Apart from his operetta messianism, Noboa’s populism has been sweetened with assistentialist offers (increasing poverty payments, unexamined housing programmes, increasing health services, microcredits, etc.), offers that are seasoned with uninhibited female dancers. Everything to convince the citizenry – especially the “poorletariat” – that the plutocracy also has a bit of heart and promotes that art abeit in its kitsch variant. Noboa’s social demagoguery yielded fruit by capitalizing on the desperation of a good proportion of the people shipwrecked by neoliberal globalization groaning across the length and breadth of the country’s geography.

    Likewise, the banana magnate reaped significant electoral credit in part as much from the open support of Alvaro Uribe – leader of the northern narco-democracy – who, in retalitation for Correa’s refusal to call the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) “terrorists”, issued muffled threats of invading Ecuador, accusing it without any proof at all of harbouring Raul Reyes one of the guerrilla leaders, and in part from the dirty campaign waged against the Alianza Pais candidate whome he smears as “communist” forgetting that in 1998 during his first attempt to get into the President’s Carondelet residence the multimillionaire chose as his campaign partner Alfredo Castillo Bujasse, one of the main theroreticians of Marxist-Leninism in this part of the world.

    However, most concretely, Noboa Porton’s participation in the second round of voting on Novermber 26th is due to the great electors of the international and local establishment. What could that mean?

    Double-entry fraud
    For the first round of the 2006 elections – which includes elections for parliamentary deputies and councillors as well as for the President and Vice-President – two kinds of fraud were set in motion: a) the media version b) the native traditional version.

    Fraud Mexican style
    This was carried out – according to analyst Alejandro Moreano – in two phases: the first around the exit polls by the CEDATOS and Informe Confidencial companies which gave Alvaro Noboa the lead; secondly, with the manipulation of the rapid count organized in the first place to count up voting information favourable to Noboa in a proportion greater than the polls taken at the voting stations; and thirdly, temporarily suspending the information. The same analyst wrote “The following day the Supreme Electoral Tribunal that had briskly contracted the Brazilian company E-Vote, terminated that company’s contract not with the aim of punishing it but so as to end the “count” with the most favourable data possible for Noboa. E-Vote’s “inefficiency” was fabricated so as to suspend the voting information. To what end? So as to create the image, for the purposes of the second round, of a triumphant Noboa and a defeated Correa. A crafty psychological manipulation.” (4).

    The media manipulation – as one might have expected – was approved by the delegation of the Organization of American States, whose chief Rafael Biesa, systematically attacked the Alianza Pais candidate for the duration of his stay in the country and with the diplomatic complaisance of the President’s office.

    More recent information corroborates the existence of an imperial plan against the democratic majority of Ecuadorans. In a newspaper article entitled “Chile: pawn of Bush’s subversion against Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales”, Heinz Dieterich notes, “Washington’s new startegy to destroy Chavez and Morales attacks on three fronts: 1. breaking relations between Venezuela and Bolivia, especially energy and military relations; 2. replacing Nestor Kirchner’s government (trans. in Argentina) with a neoliberal, oligarchical govenrnent, and 3. perpetrating fraud in Ecuador during the second round of voting….” (5) Crystal clear.

    Traditional fraud
    It would work like this: ballot stuffing, tampering with electoral documentation and faking the results in the count centre. Mechanisms to which one has to add suborning voters by means of gifts and cash payments – especially among the large groups of indigenous and impoverished people

    The journalist Jorge Vivanco angrily condemned these perverse methods of criminal representative democracy in his editorial “Cynical and corrupt” on the Supereme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) run by Social Christian Xavier Cazar (one of “Corleone” Febres Cordero’s men). Among what he says, “In this electoral process it was proved as never before that as well as being cynical the system is corrupt to its core. The TSE structure, divvied out among the party-ocracy, not only fulfilled its role in fronting for the system but also proved itself cunning and greedy in the management of its multi-millions contracts………During the electoral campaign, with the complacency of official bodies and the paralysis of collective moral conscience one arrived at the incredible extreme of political corruption making citizen’s votes a business commodity. Something bought from campaign stumps, in the streets, in crowds or on doorsteps………..The power of money has never been so publicly offensive to a people nor so degrading to the system. The Presidency is being bought after having had it already in the pocket of Congress, thereby running the risk of handing over political power to the plutocrat with most opulence.”

    What can be done faced with institutional kidnapping and disgrace perpetrated by the worldwide lumpen-grand-bourgouisie and native political-business mafias?

    The popular intuition is : for great ills, great remedies.

    René Báez is a recipient of Ecuador’s National Economics Prize and is a member of the International Writers Association.

    3. The PRIAN caudillo’s manual of bribery and blood can be found in Eduardo Tamayo’s study called “Multimillonario a la compra de la Presidencia” –
    4. “La estrategia del fraude”, Tintají special edition of October 2006
    6. “Expreso”, November 5th 2006

    Translation CopyLeft by Tortilla con Sal


  3. Noam Chomsky
    From japan focus

    Historical Perspectives on Latin American and East Asian Regional Development

    There was a meeting on the weekend of December 9-10 in Cochabamba in Bolivia of major South American leaders. It was a very important meeting. One index of its importance is that it was unreported, virtually unreported apart from the wire services. So every editor knew about it. Since I suspect you didn’t read that wire service report, I’ll read a few things from it to indicate why it was so important.

    The South American leaders agreed to create a high-level commission to study the idea of forming a continent-wide community similar to the European Union. This is the presidents and envoys of major nations, and there was the two-day summit of what’s called the South American Community of Nations, hosted by Evo Morales in Cochabamba, the president of Bolivia. The leaders agreed to form a study group to look at the possibility of creating a continent-wide union and even a South American parliament. The result, according to the AP report, left fiery Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, long an agitator for the region, taking a greater role on the world stage, pleased, but impatient. It goes on to say that the discussion over South American unity will continue later this month, when MERCOSUR, the South American trading bloc, has its regular meeting that will include leaders from Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Paraguay and Uruguay.

    There is one — has been one point of hostility in South America. That’s Peru, Venezuela. But the article points out that Chavez and Peruvian President Alan Garcia took advantage of the summit to bury the hatchet, after having exchanged insults earlier in the year. And that is the only real conflict in South America at this time. So that seems to have been smoothed over.

    The new Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa proposed a land and river trade route linking the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest to Ecuador’s Pacific Coast, suggesting that for South America, it could be kind of like an alternative to the Panama Canal.

    Chavez and Morales celebrated a new joint project, the gas separation plant in Bolivia’s gas-rich region. It’s a joint venture with Petrovesa (PDVSA, Petroleos de Venezuela, SA. Pronounced “pedevesa”), the Venezuelan oil company, and the Bolivian state energy company. And it continues. Venezuela is the only Latin American member of OPEC and has by far the largest proven oil reserves outside the Middle East, by some measures maybe even comparable to Saudi Arabia.

    There were also contributions, constructive, interesting contributions by Lula da Silva, Brazil’s president, Michelle Bachelet of Chile, and others. All of this is extremely important.

    This is the first time since the Spanish conquests, 500 years, that there have been real moves toward integration in South America. The countries have been very separated from one another. And integration is going to be a prerequisite for authentic independence. There have been attempts at independence, but they’ve been crushed, often very violently, partly because of lack of regional support. Because there was very little regional cooperation, they could be picked off one by one.

    That’s what has happened since the 1960s. The Kennedy administration orchestrated a coup in Brazil. It was the first of a series of falling dominoes. Neo-Nazi-style national security states spread across the hemisphere. Chile was one of them. Then there were Reagan’s terrorist wars in the 1980s, which devastated Central America and the Caribbean. It was the worst plague of repression in the history of Latin America since the original conquests.

    But integration lays the basis for potential independence, and that’s of extreme significance. Latin America’s colonial history — Spain, Europe, the United States — not only divided countries from one another, it also left a sharp internal division within the countries, every one, between a very wealthy small elite and a huge mass of impoverished people. The correlation to race is fairly close. Typically, the rich elite was white, European, westernized; and the poor mass of the population was indigenous, Indian, black, intermingled, and so on. It’s a fairly close correlation, and it continues right to the present.

    The white, mostly white, elites — who ran the countries — were not integrated with, had very few relations with, the other countries of the region. They were Western-oriented. You can see that in all sorts of ways. That’s where the capital was exported. That’s where the second homes were, where the children went to university, where their cultural connections were. And they had very little responsibility in their own societies. So there’s a very sharp division.

    You can see the pattern in imports. Imports are overwhelmingly luxury goods. Development, such as it was, was mostly foreign. Latin America was much more open to foreign investment than, say, East Asia. It’s part of the reason for their radically different paths of development in the last couple of decades.

    And, of course, the elite elements were strongly sympathetic to the neoliberal programs of the last 25 years, which enriched them — destroyed the countries, but enriched them. Latin America, more than any region in the world, outside of southern Africa, adhered rigorously to the so-called Washington Consensus, what’s called outside the United States the neoliberal programs of roughly the past 25 or 30 years. And where they were rigorously applied, almost without exception, they led to disaster. Very striking correlation. Sharp reduction in rates of growth, other macroeconomic indices, all the social effects that go along with that.

    Actually, the comparison to East Asia is very striking. Latin America is potentially a much richer area. I mean, a century ago, it was taken for granted that Brazil would be what was called the “Colossus of the South,” comparable to the Colossus of the North. Haiti, now one of the poorest countries in the world, was the richest colony in the world, a source of much of France’s wealth, now devastated, first by France, then by the United States. And Venezuela — enormous wealth — was taken over by the United States around 1920, right at the beginning of the oil age, It had been a British dependency, but Woodrow Wilson kicked the British out, recognizing that control of oil was going to be important, and supported a vicious dictator. From that point, more or less, it goes on until the present. So the resources and the potential were always there. Very rich.

    In contrast, East Asia had almost no resources, but they followed a different developmental path. In Latin America, imports were luxury goods for the rich. In East Asia, they were capital goods for development. They had state-coordinated development programs. They disregarded the Washington Consensus almost totally. Capital controls, controls on export of capital, pretty egalitarian societies — authoritarian, sometimes, pretty harsh — but educational programs, health programs, and so on. In fact, they followed pretty much the developmental paths of the currently wealthy countries, which are radically different from the rules that are being imposed on the South.

    And that goes way back in history. You go back to the 17th century, when the commercial and industrial centers of the world were China and India. Life expectancy in Japan was greater than in Europe. Europe was kind of a barbarian outpost, but it had advantages, mainly in savagery. It conquered the world, imposed something like the neoliberal rules on the conquered regions, and for itself, adopted very high protectionism, a lot of state intervention and so on. So Europe developed.

    The United States, as a typical case, had the highest tariffs in the world, most protectionist country in the world during the period of its great development. In fact, as late as 1950, when the United States literally had half the world’s wealth, its tariffs were higher than the Latin American countries today, which are being ordered to reduce them.

    Massive state intervention in the economy. Economists don’t talk about it much, but the current economy in the United States relies very heavily on the state sector. That’s where you get your computers and the internet and your airplane traffic and transit of goods, container ships and so on, almost entirely comes out of the state sector, including pharmaceuticals, management techniques, and so on. I won’t go on into that, but it’s a strong correlation right through history. Those are the methods of development.

    The neoliberal methods created the third world, and in the past 30 years, they have led to disasters in Latin America and southern Africa, the places that most rigorously adhered to them. But there was growth and development in East Asia, which disregarded them, following instead pretty much the model of the currently rich countries.

    Well, there’s a chance that that will begin to change. There are finally efforts inside South America — unfortunately not in Central America, which has just been pretty much devastated by the terror of the ’80s particularly. But in South America, from Venezuela to Argentina, it’s, I think, the most exciting place in the world. After 500 years, there’s a beginning of efforts to overcome these overwhelming problems. The integration that’s taking place is one example.

    There are efforts of the Indian population. The indigenous population is, for the first time in hundreds of years, in some countries really beginning to take a very active role in their own affairs. In Bolivia, they succeeded in taking over the country, controlling their resources. It’s also leading to significant democratization, real democracy, in which the population participates. So it takes a Bolivia — it’s the poorest country in South America (Haiti is poorer in the hemisphere). It had a real democratic election last year, of a kind that you can’t imagine in the United States, or in Europe, for that matter. There was mass popular participation, and people knew what the issues were. The issues were crystal clear and very important. And people didn’t just participate on election day. These are the things they had been struggling about for years. Actually, Cochabamba is a symbol of it.

    This is a lightly edited and excerpted version of Noam Chomsky’s December 15, 2006 talk to a Boston meeting of Mass Global Action following a recent trip to Chile and Peru. It is posted at Japan Focus on December 20, 2006.

    Noam Chomsky”s most recent book is Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy: Dialogues on Terror, Democracy, War and Justice.


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