Monday, December 04, 2006

Ecuador Elects Leftist Government

Ecuador elects leftist president Rafael Correa, who calls for an end to the "long, sad neoliberal night." CBS News reports:
Ecuador's president-elect joins a wave of Latin American leaders swept into power opposing the free-market economic policies that are preached by Washington but are hugely unpopular among the region's poor.

After two decades of privatization and trade liberalization across the hemisphere, leftist leaders _ most notably Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia _ are exerting more state control over their nations' economies to promote wealth distribution.

Rafael Correa, the U.S-educated economist who will take over the presidency of this small Andean nation in January, says he will apply the same prescription in his country, where three-fourths of its inhabitants live in poverty despite Ecuador being South America's fifth largest oil producer.

Correa, 43, plans to tighten government control over the banking system and expand the state oil company's role in production and commercialization of Ecuador's oil.

He also wants to cut ties to international lending institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and has threatened a moratorium on foreign debt payments unless foreign bondholders agree to lower Ecuador's debt service by half.


In his first statements after defeating banana tycoon Alvaro Noboa, Correa criticized the free-market policies that he says have failed to improve the lives of Ecuadoreans and urged them to join him "to overcome 20 years of a long and sad neoliberal night."

Updates to the socialist map project are forthcoming.

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