"President-elect Rafael Correa, a left-leaning, U.S.-trained economist, is scheduled to take office on January 15, 2007. Correa, who will become Ecuador's eighth president in ten years, defeated Alvaro Noboa, a wealthy banana magnate, in a run-off election held in late November 2006. Correa has vowed to dramatically reform Ecuador, a country whose economy is currently expanding because of high oil prices but whose political institutions are extremely fragile. He has promised to call a constituent assembly to reform the country's constitution, to renegotiate Ecuador's foreign debt, and to reassert state control over foreign oil companies operating in the country. These proposals, though popular among many Ecuadorians, have prompted concerns among foreign investors. Ecuador has traditionally had close relations with the United States, although recent trade disputes have strained bilateral relations. U.S. officials congratulated Correa on his recent victory and pledged to cooperate with his government but have also expressed concerns about his ties with Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and his stated policies regarding trade, energy, and counternarcotics matters. This report will be updated periodically. For more information, see CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report RS22548, 'ATPA Renewal: Background and Issues', by M. Angeles Villarreal."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21687