I have mixed feelings (surprise!) about Rafael Correa expected reelection in Ecuador. Of course chavistas call it a success on their side while the Venezuelan opposition, well, it stays silent. Neither one is right.
The thing is that Ecuador circumstances are its own alone and no matter what creepy victory declaration Correa gives saying that it is all thanks to Chavez that he is a success, the truth is that he is positioning himself as the heir of Chavez. At least the ideological heir though we certainly can see that his ego is much larger than his country.
There are lessons for all in what happened in Ecuador last week end. For the Venezuelan opposition the abject lessons are at least 2: if they divide they are doomed for ever and ever; and more importantly if chavismo had the chance to get a semi competent leader it would be a decade at least until the opposition would get a shot at anything serious inside Venezuela. I would go as far as to say that the opposition is lucky to have a megalomaniac like Chavez, unable to destroy it utterly but incompetent enough that he helps in keeping it alive and even progress in spite of its general mediocrity.
But chavismo has no real reason to cheer. If Correa has been "successful" it is really, in my opinion, due to only two things: that the currency is the US dollar and that the opposition may have proven to be even more discredited than the one in Venezuela. Let's start with the opposition to Correa who in spite of many defeats still has people like Lucio Gutierrez think that they can beat Correa.....
But the real cause of Correa's success lays elsewhere. That the US dollar is Ecuador's currency has been a blessing for Correa even though he would have liked very much to stop that situation. But even during his constituent assembly he did not dare as Ecuadoreans rightly thought that they had payed the heavy price for the "dollarization" and it was nicely rolling downhill from then on. Not to mention that Correa is at least educated in modern economics and no matter how much ego he may have, he will not make as many blunders as Chavez did. Thus Correa had to do a minimum of management and had to control a little bit his spending. That oil prices were high did help his populist agenda but Ecuador never lost track that oil is not enough to live by. As such the lower classes of Ecuador, the Correa power base, did benefit from improved conditions though it is quite clear that not all are happy there as occasional indigenous protests have occurred, to cite an example.
Thus Correa has a new, and last, 4 year term ahead, with a congressional majority to boot and a press that is almost as silent as the Venezuelan one, and on its way to more self censorship. The question is whether he will hear the call of history. Now that he is reelected will he soften his rule and bring democracy to his "revolution"? Few leaders in Latin american history have had so much given to them, not even Chavez I would dare say because at least Correa was given a chance at getting a real education instead of the barracks one that Chavez got. Not even Lula was given the "heroic"way out that Correa has been given: Lula accepted to play by the rules, forgetting about constitutional changes. Correa can leave in 4 years, with enough popularity to ensure that his heir is elected and then he can become a world, or at least, a South American leader for which he has 4 years to prepare himself by lowering his tone and becoming more conciliatory in promoting his success.
Unfortunately within a week of his reelection his ego has taken over and he already is threatening with a constitutional change (?) so that he can be reelected again just to spite those that did not vote for him. Looks like Correa has taken the path of the one party state, if Ecuador is that lucky because with ego bloated folks like Correa it can end up being much worse than that.....