Happy New Year! The burning of life-sized political muñecos (dolls in Spanish) undoubtedly caught my attention, but really this year’s New Year’s Eve experience in Puerto Ayora was more about the above photo. 2006 was an election year and much money was spent on electing the right presidential candidate. As a result, there were not a lot of funds leftover for making muñecos.
Making muñecos is a long-standing tradition that gives the Ecuadorian people an opportunity to express their political views. Recent presidential candidate, Alvaro Noboa, was one of many people represented in the display of muñecos in front of Colegio Galápagos (Galapagos High School) in downtown Puerto Ayora. This past fall, Rafael Correa, left-wing former economy minister, won the presidential election against Alvaro Noboa, banana tycoon and Ecuador’s wealthiest man.
For a more in-depth overview of Latin American politics, I would highly recommend the following article, “Latin America: The End of an Era,” by Mark Weisbrot posted on the Center for Economic and Policy Research website.