Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ecuador Goes Commie!

"And why should I care," you ask? For starters, Ecuador has a city in it named Shell. As in, Shell Oil; output is over 500,000 barrels a day, almost all of it destined for the US.

Former finance minister Rafael Correa, who won the presidential election handily, isn't really a commie; he's a god-fearing Catholic and a centrist who uses populist rhetoric. Because of Ecuador's background as a corporate slave state, however, he will be characterized as a communist, and from the standpoint of a Shell executive, he may as well be. (There was a shooting war between various factions in the pay of oil companies back, as I recall, in the late 1960s. Shell won.) Correa is going to kick the US out of its military base at Manta, he's going to tell WTO reps where to stick their free trade agreements, and he will either renegotiate Ecuador's oil royalty deal (one of the least favorable in the world), or he will simply nationalize the pipelines, wells, and production facilities.

Back in February, Ecuador declared a state of emergency because a few thousand protestors effectively halted production of 200,000 barrels per day of oil from the fields north of Quito. These were the same people who gave Correa 58% of the vote, sick to death of oil companies and willing to face the soldiers sent to shoot them, as happened this February. They're part of Al-Qaeda, as is Correa. His purpose is to free his country from the clutches of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. My guess is he'll go about achieving this objective very gradually, in a measured and legal way, but he spells doom for Western oil interests. China will be showing up with container ships full of cash any day now. The real defeat for the US empire wasn't in Iraq. It happened first in South America.

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