Banana Republic


Get ready for more bellyaching about Latin America's leftward (sorry, "anti-American") tilt, as Ecuador heads to the final round of its presidential election. Voters have set up pretty much the ultimate contest – a left-wing Chavez ally versus a banana mogul who's the country's richest man. And in a surprising upset, the left-wing candidate who led the polls came second in the first round.

Rafael Correa, a 43-year-old economist, was quick to claim fraud and that he had won an outright victory.

He said attempts had been made to bribe his party workers in some areas and that he would be making a formal complaint.

Alvaro Noboa, who at 55 is trying for the third time to become president, said he was pleased with the result and looked forward to the second round.

Oh, and Noboa claims there was fraud, too. Not this year, but the last two times he ran.

Meanwhile, Chavez is gunning for a UN Security Council seat.