Ecuador’s election


The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, was elected to a third term on Sunday with more than 56 percent of the vote. That outcome represents a victory for Latin American populism.

Mr. Correa, 49, is not as radical in his approach to governing Ecuador, a country of 15 million people, as his counterparts in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, and Bolivia, Evo Morales. But during his seven years as president, he has directed more of Ecuador’s oil and natural-gas revenue and other wealth to education, health care, housing, and other needs of poor citizens, both rural and urban, than his predecessors did.

Under Mr. Correia, Ecuador has become more independent of the United States. Last year, he annoyed U.S. officials by granting political asylum in his country’s London embassy to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

Mr. Correa won re-election to a final four-year term. There were eight candidates for the presidency; the opposition vote split sharply and permitted Mr. Correa to avoid a runoff election. His closest opponent was a former banker.

Mr. Correa will gain in seniority among Latin American leaders, as Mr. Chavez’s health continues to decline. It isn’t accurate to identify a bloc of Andean states that are anti-American, because there are variations among them. But with their greater mineral wealth, countries such as Ecuador appear to be developing more honest, public-oriented democracies.