Much to the despair of US imperialism, acccording to Associated Press, President Rafael Correa who has spent heavily on the poor, confidently celebrated his second re-election Sunday even before the first official results were announced (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hgAZhnAGQkQMLxWzzVjkOJ6q0r5g?docId=9610a2d4ce3948eb925a796c7a179818).
An exit poll, published just minutes ago gave Correa, who first took office in 2007, 61 percent against 20 percent for his closest challenger, former bankster, Guillermo Lasso. CNN and Reuters also has announced the ‘caudillo’s’ victory.
Correa appeared on state TV hugging his supporters at the Carondelet presidential palace less than an hour after polls closed. Flanked by his immediate family and closest aides, he addressed a cheering crowd from its balcony. No cheers from the financial class nor from US banksters and imperialists that have pegged Correa as the Chavez of Ecuador.
Yet as Correa announced:
“This victory is yours. It belongs to our families, to our wife, to our friends, our neighbors, the entire nation,” Correa said. “We are only here to serve you. Nothing for us. Everything for you, a people who have become dignified in being free.”
None of the other six candidates won more than 5 percent, according to the poll by Cedatos-Gallup. The poll interviewed 15,000 voters and had a 3.7 percentage point error margin.
The 48-year-old Correa has raised living standards for the lower classes and widened the welfare state with region-leading social spending. He is calls his economy 21st century socialism.
Correa certainly enjoys wide support for he has brought political stability to this oil-exporting nation of 14.6 million people that cycled through seven presidents in the decade before him. He has done this by creating social democracy through a ‘welfare state’ while at the same time the US is busy destroying any semblance of welfare, preferring to shift the state to aid and abet financial capitalism.
Correa won re-election in April 2009 after voters approved a constitutional rewrite that mandated a new ballot, andsaid he would be legally barred from running again if victorious.
To avoid a runoff, Correa needed a simple majority or 40 percent of the vote plus a 10-point margin over the No. 2 vote-getter. It was a no brainer for Ecuadorians.
Correa is loved by the poor and lower middle class. He has made education and health care more accessible, built and improved 7,820 kilometers (4,870 miles) of , roads and highways, consructed a new airport adding many new routes, an, the government says, creating 95,400 jobs in the past four years. This despite the CIA attempts to assasinate him.
US and corporate backecd Lasso promised he would create a government that was far more user friendly to US imperialism, lower taxes on the so-called job-creating companies and a roll back elements of what Correa calls his “21st century socialism,” such as a 5 percent tax on capital removed from Ecuador. But Lasso and imperialism failed. Now a block in South America has been secured with Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina, all good news for those struggling to get out from under the yoke of US imperialism and capital exploitation.
According to the AP among voters casting their ballot for Correa in Quito was an exuberant Jomaira Espinosa, 18.
“Before (Correa), my family didn’t have enough to eat” and her father couldn’t find work, she said. Now her father has a job as a public servant and she expects to be able to study for free at a university thanks to Correa’s programs (ibid). Free universitys or college is an oxymoron in the US as finance capital eats the crsumbled cookie of education.
Correa has eroded the influence of opposition parties, the cult known as the Roman Catholic Church and the news media and used criminal libel laws to try to silence opposition propagandists who call themselves journalists, but are really little more than stenographers for capitalism and financiers. Capitalist critics decry Correa’s packing of courts with friendly judges and the government’s prosecution of indigenous leaders for organizing protests against Correa’s opening up of Ecuador to large-scale mining without their consent. The issue of indigneous rights has become one of the greatest issues here in Ecuador. As to packing courts, one only has to look at the US Supreme Court for so-called court packing. At least in Ecuador people can vote. Voting started at five in the morning on Sunday and stopped at five at night. No alohol was allowed to be sold for three days leading up to the election. This, unlike former dictator Somoza in Nicaragua who handed out liquor on election day with the help of the US. As to suppression of the vote like in the US- voting is mandatory in Ecuador.
People flocked to the polls in Cotacachi, a tiny cit south of Qudito, where I live and their support was then moved to the local mercado where all people, indigenous and otherwise awaited election results.
Petroleum accounts for more than half of Ecuador’s export earnings and have allowed it to lead the region in 2011 in public spending as a portion of gross domestic product at 11.1 percent, according to the United Nations. Bolivia was second with 10.8 percent. Correa wants to dispose of the petrol economy but has had a hard time doing so. The second largest export for Ecuador is cut flowers. Correa had asked so-called developed nations to belly up 7.2 billion dollars to allow his economyy to grow so as to avoid mining and oil exploitation. At first developing nations agreed, but witth pressure from the US, they backed out. This, an attempt to strangle the economy, is what Correa will have tto deal with in the future. Eco tourism and a haven for retirees and economic refugees fleeing the US has strenghtened the economy as civil life in both the US and Europe deliquesces like the the Wizard of Oz’s wicked witch of the west.
The news was good news for working people such as Fabian Garzon, a 48-year-old messenger and cleaner, credit Correa with improving their lives.
Garzon has what he’s always dreamed of: his own apartment, which he is buying with a $24,000 government-issued mortgage. His monthly salary, meanwhile, has more than doubled over the past four years, from $200 to $450, and payments for his social security, vacation and other government-mandated contributions are being made regularly.
“I worked 25 years without having my own house and at this age, thank God, I’m able to own my own home,” Garzon said (ibid). This while foreclosures run rampant in the US like a skin rash and the government bails out banks and fraudsters.
In all, 1.9 million people receive $50 a month in aid from the state. Critics of the welfare state complain that the popular handouts to single mothers, needy families and the elderly poor, along with other subsidies, have changed the role of the government. The private sector of course provides few, if any jobs, so the state has picked up the slack and full employment is almost a reality in Ecuador. Correa must now do what America never did: go from a welfare state to participatory democracy.
The number of people working for the government has burgeoned from 16,000 to 90,000 during Correa’s current term, Ecuador’s nongovernmental Observatory of Fiscal Policy reported in a December report. Can one imagine if the US created this many jobs? It can’t under the current regime of capitalism and bankster bailouts. Using the state to rescue banks is not the same as using the state to employ working people. Capitalists around the world hate the former and love the latter.
And although ctitics say robberies and burglaries grew 30 percent in 2012 compared with the previous year, like the state in Brazil, Correa is building stadiums, recreationals venues in Ecuador’s ‘favelas’ and creating opportunities never even fathomed in this tiny country, let alone in the US.
The U.S.-educated Correa is hated by imperialism, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund due to the fact he defyed international financiers by defaulting on $3.9 billion in foreign debt obligations and rewriting contracts with oil multinationals to secure a higher share of oil revenues for Ecuador. He is also pursuing Chevron for the filth they left when they were booted out of the country. He is pursuing the filth ridden oil company in court around the world and is seeking 19 billion dollars in damages Chevron refuses to pay for despoiling the Amazon. He also gave the US military regime the bum’s rush out of Manta, where the US maintained a military base stating that when the US will allow Ecuadorian military bases on Florida, then maybe Ecuador will reconsider.
Correa has also kept the United States at arm’s length while upsetting Britain and Sweden in August by granting asylum at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the online leakerof U.S of government secrets who is wanted for questioning in Sweden for an alleged sexual assault by an anti-Castro Cuban.
Environmentalists are quick to point out the the Correan government has stated it will open the Amazon to national mining interests, but NGO’s have done little to help the country turn its economic face towards sociialism. Certainly the squeeze is on for economic resources and Correa will have to deal with environmental issues as his term extends.
The next act for the small nation will be a nail biter but one thing is for sure: the US has lost what it once thought of as its ‘backyard’, the Latin American continent.