Hugo Chavez Frias gained an Ecuadoran ally last November when voters rejected
Correa took office January 15 in a country of 13 million, over 70% of whom live in poverty. They voted for a man promising social democratic change and the same kinds of benefits Venezuelans now have under Hugo Chavez they too now have a chance to get. Correa is the country’s 8th president in the last decade including three previous ones driven from office by mass street protest opposition against their misrule and public neglect.
Correa campaigned on a promise of change including using the country’s oil revenue for critically needed social services Ecuadoreans never before had. He promised a “citizens’ revolution” and to be an “instrument of change” beginning by drafting a new Constitution in a Constituent Assembly he hopes will be authorized by popular referendum following the same pattern Hugo Chavez chose in 1999 following his first election as Venezuela’s President in December, 1998.
Following the vote,
It things go as planned, Ecuador is now poised to change its method of governance the same way Venezuela did it eight years ago. Raphael Correa promised it, and he’s now moving ahead to give his people the same kind of 21st century socialism Venezuelans now have and embrace. Ecuadoreans want it too and now have their best chance ever to get it under a leader working for them just as Chavez does for Venezuelans with overwhelming approval.
Correa is confident of success and told his people on February 17 on his weekly radio program he’ll resign if his supporters don’t win a majority of seats in the Constituent Assembly. He said he’d rather go than “warm the bench and be just another of the bunch of traitors and impostors we’ve had in the presidency….” That’s not likely as long-denied Ecuadoreans overwhelming support their new President and the process of change he’s now poised to deliver for them the same way Hugo Chavez did in
It’s one more step left in Latin America but just a small one on a continent long under
Correa intends a further challenge to
Correa also plans a new relationship with US-dominated international lending agencies following through on his campaign to renegotiate the country’s $16 billion foreign debt and hasn’t ruled out an Argentine-style default to free up revenue for vitally needed social programs including 100,000 low-cost homes, raising the minimum wage, and doubling the small “poverty bonus” 1.2 million poor Ecuadorans get each month. For now, Correa opted to make a scheduled $135 million debt payment to foreign bond holders while pursuing his greater aim to renegotiate the whole debt and annul the odious part of it resulting from previous governments’ corrupt dealings it profited from at the peoples’ expense.
Correa is also negotiating bilateral trade and other economic deals with Hugo Chavez and
These are the early bold steps of a courageous new leader promising and now proceeding to follow in the footsteps of the example Hugo Chavez set. He’s off to a fast start on a road sure to have promise and perils but with great potential payoff for his people if he can persevere and succeed. He’s showing he intends to try.
Stephen Lendman lives in
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and tune in each Saturday to hear the Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on The Micro Effect.com each Saturday at noon US central time.