Crossposted on my website with pictures.

Ecuador is one of the poorest countries in South America and the name of the president is Rafael Correa. An extremely good looking gentleman with a full head of hair. But looks can be deceiving. Even though Ecuador doesn’t abutt Venezuela, somehow there still must be some osmosis going on here. Either that, or Correa is taking lessons from Chavez. South America like Africa and other third world continents has always been known for coups and “banana republics.” Brazil has been relatively stable since the 60’s. But we know “up north” anything can happen “down there.” Yep. Coups can still happen. But there is a new strategy: Change the Constitution so I can be President forever. Yep. President for Life. Sounds like a plan. The Ecuadoran Assembly has “loosened” term limits for the corrupt, money-laundering Thug-in-Chief Correa. An idea bandied about in the US, but I won’t get into that now.

Seems one of the lessons Correa learned from Chavez is “let’s go after the journalists who don’t agree with me.” Emilio Palacio claims the El Presidente is on the brink of giving him a 3-yr prison sentence for insulting the head of the Ecuador’s state-run National Financial Corp. But good news for Palacio. That’s down from the 6-yr. sentence first imposed on him.

Correa was elected in 2006 supposedly with the help of Colombian rebel organization FARC, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Correa denies any ties to FARC. And on the corruption scale, Ecuador is pretty high on the list. Per the Andean Laundry:

Last month the Financial Action Task Force, an inter-governmental body, declared that Ecuador has not shown “a clear high-level political commitment” to address its “strategic deficiencies” in fighting money laundering and the financing of terrorism. That put it on a list with the likes of North Korea, Iran and Turkmenistan. [sic]. Francisco Huerta, an experienced politician who led a government-commissioned investigation into a Colombian raid on a FARC guerrilla camp just inside Ecuador in 2008, said that the country risks becoming a “narco-democracy”. Tourists, residents and club owners complain of rampant crime in La Mariscal, Quito’s nightlife district where some bouncers are now Russian and many of the customers African and South Asian. Ecuador has become particularly attractive for money launderers because of its combination of weak laws and use of the American dollar as its currency.

And now this man is getting an award. Not from Ecuador. Or Latin America. But from a US university. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne. On April 8, 2010, he will be bestowed the “2009 Madhuri and Jagdish Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement.” That’s a mouthful. Sounds Indian to me?

From Illinois no less. The state of our Oval Office Occupier. No conclusions drawn by this blogger…

And that’s not all. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela (L) has presented Correa with  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s memoir “Living History” during a meeting at Carondelet Palace. Picture on my webpage for those interested.

Yep. Next we’ll see Little Kim of NK & Ahmad-I’m-a-nut-job of Iran getting the same award and book.