The big Latin American news of the week was Lula's smashing comeback victory in Brazil, but even better news is coming out of Ecuador. Left-wing economist Rafael Correa, a vocal ally of Hugo Chavez, was supposed to win the country's presidential election in the first round. But he dramatically underperformed polls, placed second after billionaire Alvaro Noboa, and is by all appearances heading to a bruising at the conservative candidate's hands. It looks like Chavez's loud meddling in his neighbors' backyards is backfiring. Again. And the U.S.'s own official grumbling about Chavez – which always wins him sympathy – has quieted down. There's some grassroots angst about Venezuela and electronic voting machines and theories about Venezuela sneaking al Qaeda over the border, but that doesn't have the impact of Rumseld calling Chavez "Hitler."
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