Chavistas on the March


A month ago, it looked like allies of Hugo Chavez were suiting up for a long spell in the political doldrums. AMLO lost the Mexican presidential election; Humala blew the Peruvian election; polls were showing erosion in Chavez's own support. Most strikingly, Ecuadorian leftist Rafael Correa saw a big poll lead erode and lost the first round of the country's presidential election to Alvaro Noboa, a banana tycoon (seriously) and relatively free market politician. It looked like a vocal Chavez ally who won't pay Ecuador's debt might go down.

Eh, no such luck.

Leftist Rafael Correa is set for victory in Ecuador's presidential election.

With nearly 20% of ballots counted, Mr Correa has gained around 66% of the vote while Alvaro Noboa polled about 34%, according to election officials.

Mr Correa promised radical change – he opposes a free trade deal with the US and has promised to close a United States military base in Ecuador.

Mr Noboa has not yet accepted defeat, with full results due on Tuesday.

The preliminary count from Ecuador's Supreme Electoral Tribunal is even more in favour of Mr Correa than the exit polls, which indicated he had won 57% of the vote.

The blustering about killing trade deals might not matter as much with a Democratic Congress that wasn't itching to approve trade deals anyway. But expect to hear more about this, especially after Chavez wins re-election this weekend.