Correa Sweeps To Victory In Ecuador, Vows To Push People's 'Revolution'



QUITO - Incumbent Rafael Correa has been reelected to a second term as President of Ecuador, handily defeating his opponents with more than 56% of the vote to avoid the need for a runoff.

By early Monday, with more than 11 million ballots cast, the National Electoral Council in Ecuador reported that Correa had garnered 56.7% of the votes, followed by Guillermo Lasso with 23.3% and Lucio Gutiérrez with 6.6%.

Correa, 49, appeared in the Palace of Carondelet in the capital, Quito, after his victory was assured, thanking his supporters for backing his so-called Revolución Ciudadana (Citizen’s Revolution), Alianza PAIS that looks to implement a sort of 21st century brand of socialism. “All the highways and hospitals are for everyone. We have never failed you,” he said. “With all the mistakes we could make, let the Ecuadorian people be assured that in this revolution, they will rule.”

A file photo of Correa (municipio pinas)

El Universo reports that he referred to comments he made against the gay and lesbian community that were criticized during his last term, and reiterated his apologies insisting he will fight against stereotypes.

Correa said that his “governmental arms” are also open to those who don't necessarily agree with his ideology.

According to La Hora, He dedicated his victory to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez -- who has just returned home after two months of cancer treatment in Cuba -- and called on Latin America to unite to counter a “very cruel neo-liberal globalization.”

No major irregularities were reported, with some 76,000 military and police -- and 320 international observers -- on hand at polling places to ensure free voting.

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Saving The Planet Is Really A Question Of Dopamine

Our carelessness toward the environment could be due, in part, to the functioning of a very primitive area of our brain: the striatum.

Ad scuba-diver and brain coral

Stefano Lupieri

PARIS — Almost every week, a new scientific study alerts us to the degradation of the environment. And yet, we continue not to change anything fundamental in our systems of production and habits of consumption. Are we all suffering from blindness, or poisoned by denial?

In his popular books Le Bug humain (The Human Bug) and Où est le sens? (Where is the Sense?), Sébastien Bohler, a journalist in neuroscience and psychology, provides a much more rational explanation: The mechanism responsible for our propensity to destroy our natural environment is in fact a small, very deep and very primitive structure of our brain called the striatum.

This regulator of human motivation seems to have been programmed to favor behaviors that ensure the survival of the species.

Addictions to sex and social media

Since the dawn of humanity, gathering information about our environment, feeding ourselves, ensuring the transmission of our genes through sexual intercourse and asserting our social status have all been rewarded with a shot of dopamine, the 'pleasure hormone.'

Nothing has changed since then; except that, in our society of excess, there is no limit to the satisfaction of these needs. This leads to the overconsumption of food and addictions to everything from sex to social media — which together account for much of the world's destructive agricultural and energy practices.

No matter how much we realize that this is leading to our downfall, we can't help but relapse because we are prisoners of the dopamine pump in the striatum, which cannot be switched off.

Transverse section of striatum from a structural MRI image

Lindsay Hanford and Geoff B Hall via Wikipedia

Tweaking genetics 

According to Bohler, the only way out is to encourage the emergence of new values of sobriety, altruism and slowness. If adopted, these more sustainable notions could be recognized by the striatum as new sources of dopamine reward. But there's the challenge of promoting inspiring stories that infuse them with value.

Take the photo-collage exhibition "J'agis ici... et je m'y colle" ("I'm taking action here... and I'm sticking to it"), a collection of life-size portraits of residents committed to the energy transition, displayed on the walls of the French coastal city of La Rochelle.

Backed by the French National Center for Street Arts, photographer Martin Charpentier may be employing artistic techniques, but he's also tinkering with neuroscience in the process.

Les Echos
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