Ecuadorian Pres Correa Wants Military Base in Miami
Caracas, November 28, 2006 Venezuelanalysis— 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. Correa is a friend of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and it is believed that Chávez was the first person to call and congratulate him.
Nicolas Maduro said that, “Correa means a step forward in the leftwing nationalist and progressive projects in the continent. The Ecuadorian people took a step forward and his victory is of the noblest coups against the anti-Chávez campaign conducted by the George W. Bush administration,” continued Maduro.
President Chavez also greeted Correa’s victory, saying, “I publicly congratulate, with solidarity and patriotic joy, the new president of the sister republic of Ecuador, Rafael Correa.” Referring to the other left victories in the past year, Chavez added, “Every time we are more accompanied.”
Maduro criticized those who try and use links with Chávez as a negative campaign tool. This has happened in several recent Latin American elections including in Mexico and Peru. “Sectors trying to turn ‘anti-Chavismo’ into a political emblem, into a cold war promoted in Washington to annihilate movements of change, have been seriously beaten in Nicaragua, Brazil and now in Ecuador,” he said.
Correa argued in his victory speech that, “The people have given us a clear mandate, with the second-largest margin in the last 30 years of democracy.” He went on to thank God for his triumph and said that it was a “clear message that the people want change.”
His victory follows those of President Lula Da Silva in Brazil and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, both left of center politicians who were not the preferred candidates of the US government.
Correa won with 57.9 percent of the vote, compared to the conservative banana tycoon Noboa's 42.1 per cent.
Correa ran on a platform that promised to rein in political elites, threatened to default on foreign debts and to renegotiate oil contracts. Ecuador is 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 Hugo Chávez is not afraid to stand up to the US government. The US military base contract ends in 2009. 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 would have to allow us to have an Ecuadorian base in Miami in return.”Also, asked to comment on Chávez’s description of President George W. Bush as the devil he said that, “Calling Bush the devil offends the devil. Bush is a tremendously dimwitted President who has done great damage to the World.”