Monday, October 01, 2007

In Ecuador, President Rafael Correa has won yet another electoral victory, clearing the way to bring his nation into the shining future promised by "21st Century Socialism."

Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s president, claimed a strong majority after Sunday’s election for an assembly he says must rewrite the constitution and dissolve the Congress that has battled to resist his leftist proposals.

A powerful mandate in the 130-member national assembly would allow Mr Correa to shore up legislative control and push his proposals for “21st Century” socialism and a tighter state grip on the economy, which have spooked Wall Street investors.

Attacking the old guard as a mafia, Mr Correa wants the assembly to introduce sweeping reforms but foes fear he seeks to amass power and follow Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan president, by steering his poor Andean country on anti-free market tack.

“We have won the mother of all battles,” Mr Correa told hundreds of supporters waving flags outside his party headquarters in Quito, where he danced and sang with bands and victorious candidates on an outdoor stage.

The official tally may take weeks to complete but Mr Correa said his Alianza Pais party could have won 80 assembly seats -- far more than the 66-seat majority needed to control the constituent body.

An exit poll conducted by a government-linked pollster said its results showed Mr Correa’s party had won 77 to 80 seats while an independent quick count put his party at 52 seats with 32 per cent of its samples counted.

Mr Correa, a popular former economy minister who swept into office in January, is seeking to purge the influence of traditional political parties, which are widely blamed for the instability that has ousted three presidents in a decade.

Ecuador's political leadership prior to Mr. Correa was hardly an exemplar of good governance; however, there are few political schemes capable of making a bad situation worse than socialism. Slapping the "21st century" label on it merely paints a thin patina of lipstick on what is otherwise a most decidedly ugly pig. Nonetheless, this is what the people of Ecuador want - just as Hugo Chavez's blustering-to-incoherent bravado is what a majority of Venezuelans desire. Both men were swept into power by the ballot box and enjoy the strong support of the masses. And both men stand as important corrective examples to George Bush's fantasy that democracy will always produce more freedom and create American allies. The people of nations not a thousand miles from America's southern border have raptuously voted for men who spit in America's face and embraced an ideology of economic and political ruin - an ideology that was stunningly unmasked as a fraud on the world stage not twenty years ago. And yet, in Caracus and Quito, the red banners are unfurling while Mr. Chavez makes pilgramages to Cuba to genuflect before his idol, Fidel Castro, and marvel at the ruin of the Cuban people.

If democracy produces this result in the Western Hemisphere, what are the chances that it will produce anything more to America's liking in the Middle East among a people whose temperament and culture is a thousand times more alien that those of Venezuelans or Ecuadorians? Around the Islamic world, wherever democracy is tried, it is the Islamists who benefit. From Turkey to Indonesia to Cairo to the West Bank, it is the Islamists who hope for free and fair elections, since they know they will win.

Of course, the march of socialism in South America is not without some help from the U.S. After all, you might wonder where Mr. Correa learned his devotion to a massive discredited economic and political theory:

A US-educated former college professor, Mr Correa stepped into the political spotlight more than a year ago when he captured attention with a vow to challenge old elites.

Is anyone surprised? American college campuses - the last redoubt of socialism, ruining not only America's youth (most of whom are too hung-over to soak up the propaganda), but entire nations continents away.


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