Ecuador has a new president

Rafael Correa, a leftist economist and friend of Chavez, takes over today as president of Ecuador.
- Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2001
- promised during his campaign that he would not renew the U.S. military's lease of the Manta air base (used for anti-drug operations)

More than half of Ecuadoreans live in poverty even though Ecuador is South America's fifth-largest oil producer.

Other leftist presidents elected in South America:
Chile - Michelle Bachelet
Peru - Alan García
Bolivia - Evo Morales, the first Indian to govern his nation
Brazil - Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Uruguay - Tabaré Vázquez
Argentina - Néstor Kirchner
Nicaragua - Daniel Ortega