Venezuela Congratulates Correa’s Win to Ecuadorian Presidency

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro expressed his satisfaction yesterday and President Chavez congratulated, as Ecuador took a step to the left on Sunday when Rafael Correa became its new president.

Caracas, November 28, 2006 (—Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro expressedhis satisfaction yesterday and President Chavez congratulated, as Ecuador tooka step to the left on Sunday when Rafael Correa became its new president. Correa is a friend of Venezuelan PresidentHugo Chávez and it is believed that Chávez was the first person to call andcongratulate him.

Nicolas Maduro said that, “Correameans a step forward in the leftwing nationalist and progressive projects inthe continent. The Ecuadorian peopletook a step forward and his victory is of the noblest coups against theanti-Chávez campaign conducted by the George W. Bush administration,” continuedMaduro.

President Chavez alsogreeted Correa’s victory, saying, “I publicly congratulate, with solidarity andpatriotic joy, the new president of the sister republic of Ecuador,Rafael Correa.” Referring to the other left victories in the past year, Chavezadded, “Every time we are more accompanied.”

Maduro criticized those who try anduse links with Chávez as a negative campaign tool. This has happened in several recent LatinAmerican elections including in Mexicoand Peru. “Sectors trying to turn ‘anti-Chavismo’ intoa political emblem, into a cold war promoted in Washingtonto annihilate movements of change, have been seriously beaten in Nicaragua, Braziland now in Ecuador,”he said.

Correa argued in his victory speech that, “The peoplehave given us a clear mandate, with the second-largest margin in the last 30years of democracy.” He went on to thankGod for his triumph and said that it was a “clear message that the people wantchange.”

His victory follows those of President Lula Da Silvain Brazil and Daniel Ortegain Nicaragua, both left ofcenter politicians who were not the preferred candidates of the US government.

Correa won with 57.9 percent of the vote, compared tothe conservative banana tycoon Noboa’s 42.1 per cent.

Correa ran on a platform that promised to rein inpolitical elites, threatened to default on foreign debts and to renegotiate oilcontracts. Ecuadoris the second biggest oil exporter in South America after Venezuela.

He has also in the past criticized the presence of a US military base in his country and like HugoChávez is not afraid to stand up to the US government. The US military base contract ends in2009. When asked whether he thought the contract should be renewed he said, “If they want we won’t close the base in 2009,but the United States wouldhave to allow us to have an Ecuadorian base in Miami in return.”

Also, asked to comment on Chávez’s description ofPresident George W. Bush as the devil he said that, “Calling Bush the devil offends the devil. Bush is a tremendouslydimwitted President who has done great damage to the World.”