Well into Tuesday night, blue-vested electoral officials sitting in plastic deck chairs combed through some 1.3 million disputed paper ballots in a recount that would decide the nation's next president. The setting: Rumiñahui Coliseum, in Quito, Ecuador, where Latin America's faltering pink tide still wells and the national script is too important to leave strictly to the vagaries of democratic fair play.
Just before 10 p.m., the national electoral council announced what few of the diligent polling officials -- or many others in Ecuador -- ever doubted. President Rafael Correa had won the day. Yes, Correa, who will step down in May after a decade of tempestuous populism, wasn't on the ballot. And yet with this validation of the narrow win by his handpicked successor -- fittingly named Lenin Moreno -- Ecuador's struggling "Citizen's Revolution" appears to have been rescued, and new life pumped into what remains of the continent's adventure in Bolivarian socialism.