Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ecuador Correa's success?

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.....


  1. Anonymous6:57 AM

    I suggest you listen to Rafael Correa himself instead of reading his comments filtered through the prism of the ecuadorian press. He does not intend to remain in power after the next four years. I like Correa and I believe him when he says he will be gone after his current period expires.

    1. So did say Chavez in 2006. He even offered a motu propio recall election for 2009. Little good did it do to us.

      As for the "filtering" by ecuadorean media, I am afraid that that ship has sailed. The bully reputation of Correa is now well established, and not by the press, by his own words. With or without context.

  2. Daniel, Correa is about as far from Chavez as is possible to be. Of course if he did say it was thanks to Chavez that is IMHO only referring to getting elected for the first time because since then - despite a few bullying/nepotism/corruption tales - Correa has actually done a series of good things that help EVERYONE (unlike Chavez who only sought to divide and conquer)and has lifted the country. Similar with Aumala in Peru, he needed to distance himself from the Chavez connection to get elected an dhas continued on a successful path; as with Correa not all their own work but the point is they haven't cut off their nose to spite their face which, unfortunately, is all Chavez had done in Venezuela.

  3. Anonymous7:29 PM

    Span Ows, I disagree with you.

    Correa has done exactly what Chavez did, if only more swiftly and efficiently. He has dismantled the democratic underpinnings of the Ecuadorian state, neutered the rule of law, overtaken the judiciary and the congress. All of this, in order to accumulate power for himself and his croonies.

    His government has been marked by the abandonment of all pretense of checks and balances. No public contract these last seven years have been signed without severe overprices and money-under-the-table deals. All public works are given at will by corrupt bureaucrats.

    Yes, unlike Chavez, Correa has not become the Santa Claus of Cuba, Bolivia, etc, but this is only because he and his people love money too much to give it away.

    Correa has allowed the free flow of money of dubious origin into Ecuador. Money laundering is rampant. Daniel is right when he writes about the dollar being Correa's lucky charm. Yes, it is and it will be, for him and his pals, the FARC, Iran, the Mexican cartels and a long list of rather unsavory groups and nations.

    He has won once again, with a electoral system modified to suit his needs, with an electoral authority full of his accomplices, with a huge advertising wave paid with public money. This does not change the fact that his legitimity is at best tenuous and at worst clearly inexistent. There is nothing to do for now, of course. Like in Venezuela, the true implications of his totalitarian will will be made evident by time.


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