Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rafael Correa Officially Declared Winner of Ecuador's Presidential Election

Rafael Correa Officially Declared Winner of Ecuador's Presidential Election - by Stephen Lendman

Yesterday afternoon, populist candidate Rafael Correa was officially declared the winner of Ecuador's run-off presidential election and will take office as his nation's new leader on January 15. He defeated Washington-supported billionaire oligarch and banana tycoon Alvaro Noboa gaining a likely 58% majority to his opponent's 42% with over 90% of the votes tallied. Narciza Subia, one of seven Supreme Electoral Tribunal judges made the official announcement saying "Rafael Correa is the new president of Ecuador. The (electoral) trend is not going to change." Earlier, Correa was jubilant at a news conference saying "Thank God, we have triumphed. We are just instruments of the power of the people. This is a clear message that the people want change."

And change is what Rafael Correa promised his people he'd deliver pledging a "citizens' revolution" against the country's discredited political system based on "the fallacies of neoliberalism" and exploitive Washington consensus doctrine supporting the interests of capital at the expense of the public welfare. Correa wants to change that using the language of his friend and ally Hugo Chavez by calling for "socialism for the twenty-first century." He wants to prioritize social spending, the way it's done in Venezuela, and plans to renegotiate the country's debt, or even consider defaulting on it, to provide the funds to do it. He also wants no part of a one-way so-called "free-trade" agreement with the US saying "We are not against (international trade) but we will not negotiate a treaty under unequal terms with the US."

Correa is also dismissive of George Bush, a man he clearly holds in contempt having called him "dimwitted" during his campaign. Reporters also asked him to comment about Hugo Chavez calling Bush "the devil" in his September UN General Assembly speech. He replied "Calling Bush the devil offends the devil. Bush is a tremendously dimwitted president who has done great damage to the world." Mr. Correa wants good relations with his dominant northern neighbor but won't allow it to be on the same business-as-usual one-way basis it's always been up to now. Beginning in January, everything will change if Correa delivers on what he says he intends to do.

Correa's victory is also one for his nation's long-exploited indigenous people including by his banana tycoon opponent Naboa who practically uses these people, including children, as near-slave labor allowing him to become Ecuador's richest man and owner of 120 companies. Correa's victory will allow the people of Ecuador to have more control over the country's resources including its oil reserves by not allowing them to be exploited by giant transnational corporations as Mr. Naboa had every intention of doing had he won. He also wants to cut ties to the predatory international lending agencies controlled out of Washington and will get help doing it from Hugo Chavez. Further, he says he'll renegotiate foreign oil company contracts to increase state revenue to give him more of the latitude he needs to do it.

The people of Ecuador have had their say and elected a new kind of leader to be their next president. In six weeks we'll begin to learn how well Rafael Correa will deliver for them in a nation always governed before by leaders who never did.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.