Many people are surprised by
But if you look closer, it shouldn't be surprising at all.
On the contrary, it would have been amazing if the result had been any different.
That's what I concluded after talking a few days after the elections with former Ecuadoran president
I asked Hurtado how Correa had won with 57 percent of the vote, even after several much-publicized corruption scandals.
In case you missed the recent headlines from
That was only the latest corruption scandal involving Correa's inner circle. The president's own brother,
Still, none of this seems to have hurt the president, because of an economic boom spurred by soaring world oil prices and
Hurtado noted that the boom started years before Correa took office in 2007. World oil prices have risen from about
In addition to
Under Correa's election laws, Ecuadoran media were not allowed to publish "biased" reports on any candidate, which amounted to a de facto censorship of any story critical of Correa, or of his government.
Also, Correa has invoked an imaginary international media conspiracy to close down or take over several formerly independent radio and television stations, and has intimidated newspapers by filing lawsuits that may drive many of them out of business.
Hurtado told me that "unlike the dictatorships of the past, which took power with a coup d'etat, closed down the
"After a while, they become dictatorships," he added.
What should pro-democracy people in
"The answer should come from the
My opinion: I agree. These narcissist-Leninist autocracies have been in power for several years now, and they all seem to follow the same manual: their leaders run for office as anti-corruption and pro-democracy crusaders, and as soon as they are elected, they change the rules of the game to grab absolute powers.
They may not last forever, because Chavez's illness, for example, declining commodity prices, and disastrous economic policies may further weaken them in the near future. But for now, nobody should be surprised by Correa's "sweeping victory."
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