27.11.06

Ecuador leftist, Rafael Correa, win gives Chavez momentum for vote

Ecuador leftist win gives Chavez momentum for vote|Bonds News|Reuters.com:

Rafael Correa's presidential victory in Ecuador capped a run of wins for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's leftist allies in Latin America and boosted Chavez's own campaign to be re-elected on Sunday.

After Brazil's leftist leader won re-election in October, Chavez's vocal and financial support helped catapult Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega into office this month and his attacks on Correa's rival aided another socialist's win.

The successes came despite criticism that the intervention of Chavez and his anti-U.S. stance in Mexican and Peruvian elections earlier this year sparked nationalist backlashes and torpedoed his allies' campaigns.

'Correa's victory is symbolically significant given Chavez's recent diplomatic misadventures with Mexico and Peru, and at the United Nations,' said Patrick Esteruelas of the Eurasia Group consultancy, referring to Venezuela's failure to overcome U.S. opposition to its Security Council seat bid.

The Correa win could reinforce the impression among Chavez supporters that the Venezuelan is a winner and bolster his prestige as a regional leader.

Chavez has formed a triumvirate of hard-line leaders opposed to Washington with Bolivian President Evo Morales and Cuban President Fidel Castro -- and political analysts see U.S.-educated economist Correa giving that axis more weight.

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