Noticed a few newsworthy happenings in Latin America recently. First is the new socialist constitution of Ecuador that Pres. Correa has introduced. It appears that it has passed by a nearly 70% vote.
Correa earlier had voiced hope for solid “yes” vote, as he strives for what he calls a “21st century socialism” to more closely align Ecuador with leftist allies Venezuela and Bolivia, making it latest South American country to chart a leftward course.
Predictions of victory for the president’s initiative came scarcely an hour after the 5:00 pm (2200 GMT) end of balloting across the country. Exit polls showed voter support for the measure at between 66 percent and 70 percent.
Just a few details about the new constitution:
The proposed constitution is inspired by the leftist majorities in power in Venezuela and Bolivia and their repudiation of the neoliberal policies of the 1990s, but falls short of nationalizing the country’s national resources as Bolivia and Venezuela have done.
Its 444 articles expand presidential powers allegedly in an attempt to end political instability in a country that in the last 10 years has sent three presidents packing before their terms were up.
The new constitution would allow the president to run for two consecutive, four-year terms, dissolve Congress and call early elections.
Correa, 45, has already announced his intention to run for reelection in February 2009, if it is approved, in which case early elections would be convened by the Constitutional Assembly.
The new constitution also would close down all foreign military bases in Ecuador, forcing the United States to move its regional anti-drug operations, run for nearly 10 years from an air base in the port city of Manta.
Also, there is a great article out on how though Venezuela is not perfect by far, it bears no relation to the depiction of the country reported on by Human Rights Watch recently. It’s a great article that answers the untruths in the report, goes into the vast improvements in human rights in Venezuela completely ignored by HRW, and delves into possible reasons this sort of doctored report is coming out at this time. See this good article here: