Ecuador: The Amazing Rise of Correa
The most left-wing candidate in Ecuador's Oct 15 Presidential election has gained a strong lead in polls. From the beginning of the month to Sept 22 Rafael Correa's support has grown from 15% to 26.4%, compared to 19.5% for centre-left Leon Roldos. However it is likely that no candidate will get the needed 50% to prevent a runoff. It looks like a repeat of Peru.
It is noteworthy for right-wingers to know this most recent poll was taken a day after the notorious Hugo Chavez speech at the UN. We are told all the time Chavez is weakening the left in Latin America, but I bet our (only 10% disclassified) National Intelligence Estimate would differ (it is interesting, they can release the sections on terrorism but not on out own hemisphere?).
Anyhow, Correa is a former Finance Minister, who quit rather than play along with the banks and fund managers. He is a fellow alumni of U. of Illinois - Masters in Economics, so maybe I'm biased. He's in the Western press today for the first time really - his introduction to the US is in calling Bush "dimwitted." He also said, "Calling Bush the devil is offending the devil. The devil is evil, but intelligent." (saying it with the same tongue in cheek as Chavez's, also saying he loves Americans from his time here and he would respect all leaders as Presidents, but that is his personal opinion...)
Correa's poll rise has moved bond yields in recent days, as he dare suggests that the country get the same debt restructuring deal as many others. He has called for the building of a 'modern socialism' and revolutionary democracy. He has also suggested dropping the dollar in favor of a regional currency and closing the biggest regional US military base.
For this, many are getting nervous. So the gloves are coming off. Roldos has called him "fascistic." Former Ecuadorian president León Febres Cordero recently said, "It is obvious that he is receiving money from Cuba and Venezuela." (totally false). Meanwhile, the Herald is obliging, by running story subtly titled Ecuador front-runner: Chávez is a friend.
Peru part duex (they hope)... but maybe the Ecuadorian people will realize they dont want another Lucio Guitierrez...