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Volume 18, Number 3
March 19, 2012

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opinion

Also in this section:
Editorials: Did she really sell out? and Get out of Afghanistan
Grump, Living with Cable & Wireless
CDN Watch, UN's offsetting Barro Blanco project hinders Panama talks
Bernal, Closing ranks
Boff, Confronting the sixth massive extinction
Amnesty International, Landmark ICC conviction for use of child soldiers
Carlsen, When engagement becomes complicity
Brownfield, A more secure Central America
Nadelmann, Drug legalization debate takes off in Latin America
Harrington, To understand Panama's public finances
Thurston, The pros and cons of living in Panama
Obama for President, The Road We've Traveled
Bartels-Kodwo, Correa faces a challenge from "el hermano mayor"
Frente Amplio Colonense, Selling land in the Colon Free Zone
Sanchez & Tu, China battles Taiwan for influence in the Caribbean
RSF, Canadian journalist's home searched and confidentiality of sources threatened
Zuniga Guzman, Latin America and the digital divide
Weisbrot, The Jeffrey Sachs candidacy for World Bank president
Jackson, The constitution that Panama needs
Yan, The carbon bond-backed hydroelectric dam Hall of Shame
Hankins, Religion and secularism in the public square
Letters to the editor

President Correa faces a challenge from "El Hermano Mayor"

by Ekow Bartels-Kodwo --- Council on Hemispheric Affairs

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador is a very busy man these days. He recently emerged as victor in a libel suit that he brought against two journalists from the Ecuadorian paper El Universo at the National Court of Justice in Quito. He sued the journalists for $5 million apiece, and was awarded $1 million from each of the defendants, although he later pardoned both editors. His litigious victory is among the few positive developments for Correa of late, as he faces a number of newly-emerging challenges as Ecuador's president. In one such instance, he is being forced to defend his decision to award mining contracts in Ecuador's jungle without first conferring with the directly-affected communities that live on the land. His hasty decision has incited massive protests among Amazonian indigenous communities. To make matters worse, President Correa is also facing a challenge for his job from none other than his very own brother.

In an interview published on March 13, 2012 in Uruguayan newspaper El Pais, Fabricio Correa, President Rafael Correa's older brother, explained his motivations for running for trying to unseat his own kin. Speaking from Montevideo, Fabricio Correa lamented the rampant corruption and increasing insecurity due to the activities of drug cartels, while also accusing his brother of clamping down too hard on press freedoms. "We are constantly living in fear [in Ecuador]," he maintained.

Fabricio Correa, controversial in his own right, has been in the national spotlight since his relationship with the younger Correa went sour in 2009 following the termination of government contracts awarded to his companies. More recently, Fabricio came to the attention of the Ecuadorian national media after the president sued the two El Universo journalists. Rafael Correa levied legal action against the two after they in part based new revelations on accounts given by Fabricio. Certain investigative chapters, later revealed in their book El Gran Hermano, unearthed corrupt deals made by Fabricio's companies. The piece reiterated Fabricio's claims that his brother, the president, was well-aware of the corrupt bidding process used in awarding government contracts.

Fabricio Correa

This court case, which was tried before the Ecuadorian National Court of Justice (CNJ) in Quito, led to the brothers accusing and counter-accusing each other of corruption. This cat-and-mouse game of claim and counterclaim culminated in Fabricio Correa submitting the necessary 158,000 signatures and requisite paperwork to make official his candidacy for the presidential election, which is set to take place in 2013.

Unlike the Miliband brothers in the United Kingdom, who are both running for the leadership of the Labour Party in the UK with each other's blessings, the relationship between these two brothers is quite fierce. They are constantly engaged in a highly-publicized war of words with each other; Rafael called his big brother a greedy "big shot," while Fabricio retorted by accusing his brother of "lacking manliness."

Until now, the political opposition in Ecuador has been largely disorganized. A number of discussions aiming to unify the country's biggest opposition factions have proven to be futile, as the deep-seeded ideological divisions continue to thwart attempts at temporary alliances and mergers to run against President Correa. This has created a unique opportunity for Fabricio Correa and his new EQUIPO Party to mount what looks like the only viable challenge to the president, who has governed the country since 2007.

For now, Fabricio Correa has submitted the requisite documents to run for the country's highest office, but it remains to be seen whether the National Electoral Council can act independent of the president's influence and confirm the elder Correa's candidacy for the presidency. Regardless of how things turn out, one thing is clear: the next meeting of the two brothers may not be the most pleasant.








    

Also in this section:
Editorials: Did she really sell out? and Get out of Afghanistan
Grump, Living with Cable & Wireless
CDN Watch, UN's offsetting Barro Blanco project hinders Panama talks
Bernal, Closing ranks
Boff, Confronting the sixth massive extinction
Amnesty International, Landmark ICC conviction for use of child soldiers
Carlsen, When engagement becomes complicity
Brownfield, A more secure Central America
Nadelmann, Drug legalization debate takes off in Latin America
Harrington, To understand Panama's public finances
Thurston, The pros and cons of living in Panama
Obama for President, The Road We've Traveled
Bartels-Kodwo, Correa faces a challenge from "el hermano mayor"
Frente Amplio Colonense, Selling land in the Colon Free Zone
Sanchez & Tu, China battles Taiwan for influence in the Caribbean
RSF, Canadian journalist's home searched and confidentiality of sources threatened
Zuniga Guzman, Latin America and the digital divide
Weisbrot, The Jeffrey Sachs candidacy for World Bank president
Jackson, The constitution that Panama needs
Yan, The carbon bond-backed hydroelectric dam Hall of Shame
Hankins, Religion and secularism in the public square
Letters to the editor


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