Rafael Correa
Ecuadorian politician and economist
Rafael Correa
Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado, M.A. , M. Sc. , Ph.D. is the President of the Republic of Ecuador and the former president pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations. An economist educated in Ecuador, Belgium and the United States, he was elected President in late 2006 and took office in January 2007. In December 2008, he declared Ecuador's national debt illegitimate, based on the argument that it was odious debt contracted by corrupt and despotic prior regimes.
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After a decade under one leader, Ecuadoreans head to polls to elect a new president
LATimes - about 17 hours
Ecuadoreans go to the polls Sunday to elect a successor to President Rafael Correa, the mercurial, charismatic leftist whose social welfare and highway projects earned him widespread support among the poor but whose authoritarian tendencies over a decade in power raised the ire of human rights...
Article Link:
LATimes article
Ecuador Faces New Choices in Presidential Election
Wall Street Journal - 2 days
Voters in Ecuador go to the polls Sunday for the first time in a decade to elect a president other than Rafael Correa, opening a new chapter for a country that had grown used to his free-spending, often combative ways.
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Wall Street Journal article
Correa ally leads Ecuador election polls, but second round likely
Yahoo News - 26 days
By Alexandra Valencia QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador's ruling leftist party candidate leads voting intentions in the small Andean country ahead of presidential elections next month, but does not have enough support to win in the first round, two recent polls showed. After recent major losses for Latin America's leftist bloc, Ecuador's election is being scrutinized for a potential further setback as the end of a regional commodities boom and corruption scandals fuel voters' desire for change. Lenin Moreno, 63, a disabled career politician who uses a wheelchair, has garnered support with vows to continue popular president Rafael Correa's social programs, but the ballot seems increasingly likely to spill over to a second round in April.
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Yahoo News article
New Developing Nations Leader Has Big Plans To Crack Down On Global Tax Dodging
Huffington Post - about 1 month
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); WASHINGTON ― Eight months after the Panama Papers shed new light on the scale of tax avoidance by the global elite, Ecuador plans to make cracking down on tax havens the centerpiece of its leadership of the G-77 bloc of developing countries at the United Nations. Ecuador formally assumes leadership of the influential group on Friday, and one of its top priorities will be the creation of an international body to combat the practice of hiding wealth in countries ...
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Huffington Post article
Ecuador sends troops to Chinese copper exploration project after protest
Yahoo News - 2 months
By Alexandra Valencia QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador sent soldiers and police on Thursday to an isolated jungle area after a policeman was killed and several security officials injured in a violent protest against a Chinese copper exploration project amid conflicts between mining companies and indigenous communities. Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, declared a 30-day state of emergency in Morona Santiago province, home to the Panantza-San Carlos exploration project operated by the ExplorCobres company. "Violent people want to take over the mining camp," Correa said on Twitter.
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Yahoo News article
Ecuador finance minister Herrera quitting for health reasons: Correa
Yahoo News - 2 months
Ecuador's Finance Minister Fausto Herrera is stepping down for health reasons after three years in the cabinet, President Rafael Correa said on Thursday. "The economic team led by Fausto Herrera has done extraordinary work," Correa said during a meeting at the presidential palace in Quito. "He is leaving his post for health reasons, but the rest of the economic team is staying." The announcement came days after Herrera steered through a $750 million bond issue to finance the OPEC member's budget during difficult times due to the low price of crude.
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Yahoo News article
World Leaders React To Fidel Castro’s Death
Huffington Post - 3 months
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); Heads of state from around the world are reacting to Fidel Castro’s death. Allies praised the global impact and legacy of Cuba’s former president, who died aged 90 on Friday. His opponents remembered him for heading a communist regime with a poor human rights record. President Barack Obama said that “at this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people,” while President-elect Donald Trump simply confirmed the news. ...
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Huffington Post article
Ecuador Admits Cutting Julian Assange's Internet Over Election Meddling
Huffington Post - 4 months
QUITO, Oct 18 - Ecuador’s government acknowledged on Tuesday it had partly restricted internet access for Julian Assange, the founder of anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks who has lived in the South American country’s London embassy since mid-2012. WikiLeaks said Assange lost connectivity on Sunday, sparking speculation Ecuador might have been pressured by the United States due to the group’s publication of hacked material linked to U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In a statement, Ecuador’s leftist government said WikiLeaks’ decision to publish documents impacting the U.S. election campaign was entirely its own responsibility, and the South American country did not cede to pressure from other nations. “In that respect, Ecuador, exercising its sovereign right, has temporarily restricted access to part of its communications systems in its UK Embassy,” it added in a statement. “The Ecuador government respects the principle of non-intervention in other countr ...
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Huffington Post article
Weekend Roundup: When Negotiating With Terrorists Works
Huffington Post - 5 months
Former U.S. President George W. Bush once said, “No nation can negotiate with terrorists, for there is no way to make peace with those whose only goal is death.” Numerous leaders have made similar statements. And yet, democratic governments have negotiated with internationally designated terrorist groups, including with the Irish Republican Army, the Basque separatist group ETA and ― making history this week ― the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. On Monday, the Colombian government and the FARC signed a peace deal promising to end a 52-year war. The Colombian people will vote on the agreement Sunday and are expected to approve it. Both the FARC and the government committed human rights violations and inflicted terror for decades. Many are celebrating the deal as the long-overdue end of a conflict that has left about 220,000 people dead and more than 6 million displaced from their homes. Others are criticizing the deal as too soft on the rebels who, if they confe ...
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Huffington Post article
Ecuador hopes OPEC will reach agreement in Algeria, warns of risks
Reuters.com - 5 months
QUITO, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said on Saturday he hopes OPEC countries will reach an agreement to stabilize the oil market at the upcoming meeting in Algeria, warning of "serious risks" for the group if they do reach a deal.
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Reuters.com article
Ecuador begins drilling for oil in pristine corner of Amazon
Reuters.com - 5 months
TIPUTINI, Ecuador (Reuters) - Ecuador began drilling for oil on Wednesday near an Amazon nature reserve known as Yasuni, a site that President Rafael Correa had previously sought to protect from development and pollution under a pioneering conservation plan.
Article Link:
Reuters.com article
Afterschock earthquakes hit Ecuador, killing one
CNN - 9 months
At least one person died and 85 were injured after two earthquakes struck Ecuador's coastal region within 12 hours Wednesday, President Rafael Correa told reporters in Quito. Podcast favorites: Blindsided: How ISIS Shook The World | Bernie gets the Axe | Guns in America
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CNN article
Death toll is rising – security officers patrolling the streets – worst earthquake in 70 years!
Fox News - 10 months
(I took this picture on Friday when I was in Equador – confirms the security now patrolling streets. People are desperate and it is only going to get worse unless get help and the aftershocks/earthquakes stop.) “The death toll from last week’s earthquake in Ecuador has risen to 646, the president, Rafael Correa, has said. The 7.8 magnitude quake, Ecuador’s worst in nearly seven decades, injured about 12,500 people and left 130 missing along the country’s ravaged Pacific coast…” CLICK HERE The post Death toll is rising – security officers patrolling the streets – worst earthquake in 70 years! appeared first on Gretawire.
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Fox News article
NYT Op-Ed: In Ecuador, Political Aftershocks
Fox News - 10 months
From the New York Times: In Ecuador, Political Aftershocks By MARTÍN PALLARES Quito, Ecuador — The earthquake that shook Ecuador last Saturday has proved to be the most destructive in nearly seven decades and has caused the worst humanitarian catastrophe here in memory. Official figures record more than 577 dead, but according to the hundreds of volunteers in the disaster zone, there are many more fatalities not yet accounted for. Entire villages have been destroyed, and the photographs circulating on social media resemble scenes from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The earthquake is historic not only for the magnitude of the destruction and human suffering, but also for giving rise to the most impressive mobilization of civil society in Ecuador I can remember. The country has become one huge relief center, and in almost every neighborhood, in towns large and small, there are collection points for donations of clothing, food and blankets. So many people have joined the aid effor ...
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Fox News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Rafael Correa
  • 2015
    Age 51
    The 2015 Ecuadorian protests are a series of protests that were initiated against Ecuadorean President Correa.
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  • 2013
    Age 49
    In August 2013, Correa abandoned the initiative and approved oil drilling, blaming lack of support from the international community for the decision.
    More Details Hide Details Correa overturned a ban on the sale of shark fins, which are popular in Asia, but stipulated that the fins can only be sold if the sharks are caught accidentally and by artisan fishermen. He did not say how authorities would determine whether the shark had been caught accidentally or deliberately.
    According to the Mitofsky of April 2013, as regards the "approval of leaders in America and the world", President Correa possesses a positive evaluation of 90%.
    More Details Hide Details Correa is a devout Roman Catholic, and keeps a photograph of the Pope on his desk. Correa describes himself as an advocate of "socialism of the 21st century", a term referring to a form of democratic socialism previously used by Venezuela's Hugo Chávez. The Economist described Correa as "a left-wing populist", while The Washington Post has characterized Correa's ideological approach as being "economically populist, socially conservative, and quasi-authoritarian". The scholars of political science George Philip and Francisco Panizza claimed that like his allies Morales and Chávez, Correa should be categorized as a populist, because he appealed "directly to the people against their countries' political and economic order, divided the social field into antagonistic camps and promised redistribution and recognition in a newly founded political order." Rafael Correa has been also awarded with: Conquering Insignia of Tarqui in the Grade of Grand Cross of the Armed forces of Ecuador in gratitude for the administration carried out for the benefit of the soldiers of the Homeland. Order Great Marshal of Ayacucho of Venezuela for the bolivarian character of his administration in Ecuador, February 2009. Medal of Honor in the Grade of Grand Cross, highest honour of the Congress of Peru, 12 June 2010. Great Necklace of the Ecuadorian Federation of Soccer in November 2010 in gratitude for the expedition of the Law of the Sport. Medal of "Distinguished Visitor", by the UCSG in the inauguration of the III International University Congress, Development and Cooperation.
    General elections were held in Ecuador on 17 February 2013 to elect the President, the National Assembly, Provincial Assemblies and members of the Andean Parliament.
    More Details Hide Details Correa was reelected president, winning by a large margin in the first round of the presidential election. According to the quick count released by Participación Ciudadana, Alianza PAIS movement (AP) reaches two-thirds of the new National Assembly. The new results give the movement 100 of the 137 seats contested in the polls. Correa's closest electoral rival, Guillermo Lasso (with 11 of the 137 seats in the new National Assembly), conceded shortly after the election concluded. Based on the election results, Correa will remain president until the year 2017. The Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Society won the WSIS 2013 prize in category C5: Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs with the project Digital Training through Mobile Classrooms In June 2013, US Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the foreign relations panel, warned Ecuador that accepting PRISM leaker Edward Snowden "would severely jeopardize" preferential trade access the United States provides to Ecuador. "Our government will not reward countries for bad behavior."
    Correa was re-elected in the 2013 general election.
    More Details Hide Details While his populist style has proved popular within Ecuador, Correa remains controversial internationally, especially within the United States government. Correa’s administration has succeeded in reducing the high levels of poverty and unemployment in Ecuador. A descendant of the Ecuadorian politician Rafael Correa de Saa y Lazón, Correa's father was Rafael Correa Icaza, born in the Province of Los Ríos, Ecuador, (23 March 1934 – 10 June 1995) while his mother is Norma Delgado Rendón (b.1 September 1939). He had three siblings: Fabricio Correa, Pierina Correa and Bernardita Correa. Having grown up in the coastal city of Guayaquil, he has described his family background as being that of the "lower middle class".
  • 2012
    Age 48
    According to the Mitofsky of April 2012, as regards the "approval of leaders in America and the world", President Correa possesses an excellent evaluation.
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    An opinion poll carried out by Profiles of Opinion in the cities of Quito and Guayaquil, in March 2012 indicates that 80.5% of those interviewed categorize President Correa's administration as positive.
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  • 2011
    Age 47
    His popularity even increased from 75% to 81% from August 2011 to January 2012.
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    Correa announced a constitutional referendum, which took place on 7 May 2011.
    More Details Hide Details The Ecuadorian people were asked to vote on ten questions, including a reform of the judiciary. Despite opposition members denouncing what they call a "power grab" on behalf of Correa's government. Although an Exit poll driven by the "Santiago Perez" pollster showed that the 10 questions won with the 62% of the votes, as the count continued the "yes" lost presence even going as far as slightly losing to the "no" for a short period of time in questions 4 and 9. Correa pledged that the data had been manipulated by counting first the votes from the provinces where the "no" have won to create the "sensation of fraud" and he predicted that the "yes" will win with at least 250.000 votes on all 10 questions. At the end the "yes" won all 10 questions but only the first question got more than the 50% of the votes. This was the eight election to pass during Correa's term in office.
  • 2010
    Age 46
    The case related to unrest in September 2010, described by Mr Correa as an attempted coup, which saw him trapped inside a hospital for several hours by police officers. In an opinion article from February 2011 which appeared in El Universo, Emilio Palacio alleged that the president had ordered soldiers to fire on the hospital, which was full of civilians.
    More Details Hide Details Correa also filed a lawsuit against Juan Carlos Calderón and Christian Zurita, investigative journalists and authors of the book "Gran Hermano" (Big Brother). Rafael Correa insisted that if the authors of the book admitted wrongdoing and asked for forgiveness he would pardon them. The lawsuit is based on the book's accusation that Correa knew of his brother Fabricio Correa's multimillion-dollar contracts with the government, a journalistic "investigation" into contracts signed between the president's brother, Fabricio Correa, and the State. The authors claim was based on a testimony by Pablo Chambers, who based his accusation on a manipulated video of Correa during an interview with a radio station in Quito. Following wide condemnation of the sentences in the El Universo case, Correa announced on 27 February 2012 that he would pardon the four individuals involved, also reminding that from the very beginning he asked for a rectification by the newspaper or an apology, both which the newspaper refused, instead claiming this was censorship, including asking Correa what he wanted them to publish. He also said he would drop his case against the authors of "Gran Hermano".
    On 29 November 2010, UNASUR's presidency passed from Ecuador to Guyana.
    More Details Hide Details Correa announced another lawsuit this time against an editorial writer and the directors of El Universo newspaper. The legal action included the opinion editor of the paper, Emilio Palacio, who was sued for defamation by a high-ranking public official last year. Correa alleged that several of Palacio's editorials were "accusations" and "slander", where Palacio stated " ordered fire at will and without warning against a hospital full of civilians and innocent people " In an official Universo editorial it was explicitly said that he committed crimes against humanity reasons for which Mr Palacio was sued. El Universo says the president’s suit was announced several hours after the newspaper published an article about an information access request denial. While Palacio claimed, he was sued for calling Correa a "Dictator". "We are not only suing the editorial writer, but also the newspaper El Universo’s directors,” said Correa, in a radio interview on Ecuadorinmediato, quoted by El Universo. "Ecuador’s autocrat cracks down on media freedom." According to an editorial published by The Washington Post on 27 July 2011:
    Correa announced on 3 April 2010 that he would propose to UNASUR the creation of a united front against transnationals like the US company Chevron, which he accused of attempting to destroy his country.
    More Details Hide Details Correa also asked that UNASUR create a commission to investigate the events that led to the 30 Sep police revolt in Ecuador in which about a dozen people died and 270 were wounded. The uprising was led by police upset over a new law that would deny them promotion bonuses. During Friday's summit, leaders also approved a democratic charter that would serve as a guide for the 12-nation bloc if any of them faced an attempted coup. The charter would have been an effective tool during Ecuador's revolt, Correa said.
  • 2009
    Age 45
    On 10 August 2009 Correa hosted the Heads of Government of South America in Quito, as he took over the one year Pro Tempore Presidency of UNASUR.
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    Correa was a signatory to the The UNASUR Constitutive Treaty of the Union of South American Nations on 15 July 2009.
    More Details Hide Details Ecuador has ratified the treaty.
    Correa was sworn into the Presidency on 10 August 2009, the same day as Ecuador's bicentennial.
    More Details Hide Details His speech took place in front of several South American dignitaries, such as the president of Argentina Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Cuban President Raúl Castro, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Correa used the opportunity to promise a continuation of his "socialist revolution", his plans to end poverty and to go on "stamping out the structural causes of poverty". He also said the actions of the media were opposing his government. He claims that the continuation of his "The Citizens' Revolution" policy is intended to ensure all citizens are equal. In June 2009, CONARTEL (a radio and television regulating body) imposed fines on a television station, Teleamazonas. A third fine could lead to a temporary or permanent ban on this private television channel. In December 2009, the station was taken off the air by the Superintendent of Telecommunications es, under a provisional suspension of 72 hours for purportedly "spreading false information."
    Rafael Correa was re-elected for a second term in the April 2009 general election, where he gained 52% of the vote.
    More Details Hide Details He was the first Ecuadorian President to serve a second consecutive term since the 19th century. It was the first time in thirty years that the country had re-elected a president and the first elected president from Guayaquil (The coast) who could finished his term after Leon Febres Cordero (1984–1986). He won by a large margin over the other seven candidates, taking 52 per cent of the vote to the 28 per cent of Lucio Gutiérrez, his nearest rival. His party also won the largest legislative block in the National Assembly, although not a majority.
    He oversaw the introduction of a new constitution, and was re-elected in 2009.
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  • 2008
    Age 44
    A constitutional referendum was held in Ecuador on 28 September 2008 to ratify or reject the constitution drafted by the Ecuadorian Constituent Assembly elected in 2007.
    More Details Hide Details Partial results show that 64% of voters voted to approve the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador. Correa was highly critical of the Ecuadorian press, stating that it "does not inform, it defends the pockets of its owners". Accusing the press of lying and slandering him, he proposed a law that would ban those working in the financial sector from financing media outlets. Paraphrasing Tony Blair, he stated that the Ecuadorian press acted as "a group of wild beasts". He has also regularly criticized it as " mediocre, incompetent, inaccurate, lying and is a part of the structure of corruption and accomplice of the national disaster." Following the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt, Correa stated that he would close down any Ecuadorean media outlet that called for a coup against his government. Correa has criticized several newspapers as El Universo, El Comercio, Diario Hoy, Diario Expreso, La Hora, calling them "news mafias" for criticising the ruling of the Electoral Tribunal depriving 57 opposition legislators of their seats in Congress. Correa argued that the press had remained silent about the holdups that had occurred in state-owned enterprises like Pacifictel and the Ecuadorian Customs Administration (CAE).
    On 5 March 2008, Correa and Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez met to discuss Colombia's attack and made a series of accusations against Colombia's government.
    More Details Hide Details During the meeting, Correa dismissed Colombia's president Álvaro Uribe as just a "puppet" while others are the "puppet masters". On 18 May 2011, Colombia's Supreme Court ruled documents found on computers of slain FARC commander "Raul Reyes" are inadmissible as evidence in court as the material is illegally obtained and provides no evidence.
    Correa withdrew his government's ambassador in Bogotá, Colombia, and ordered troops to the country's border following the 2008 Andean diplomatic crisis in early March 2008. On 3 March 2008, Colombia's police said that documents found in a camp in Ecuador where Colombian troops killed Raul Reyes, a top guerrilla boss, showed ties between the FARC rebels and Correa, including contacts about political proposals and local military commanders.
    More Details Hide Details Correa denied the accusations, calling them lies. Correa also said that a deal to release political prisoners – including former Colombian Sen. Ingrid Betancourt – was nearly complete before the 1 March 2008 Colombian raid into his country.
  • 2007
    Age 43
    On 3 August 2007, Correa ordered the deportation of Sean O'Hearn-Gimenez, director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, saying that he would not allow "gringuitos" (literally, "little gringos") to tell Ecuadorians what to do or to pursue local fishermen.
    More Details Hide Details However, a local newspaper noted that O'Hearn-Gimenez had signed a 5-year agreement with Ecuador's own Environmental Police rather than acting unilaterally (as a foreigner with no authority of his own), and was married to an Ecuadorian. The deportation was ordered because Sea Shepherd, in partnership with the Ecuadorian National Environmental Police, exposed and stopped the biggest shark-fin shipment in the port city of Manta. Correa later rescinded the extradition order because O'Hearn-Gimenez was married to an Ecuadorian woman. All the arrested fishermen were released, too, and the confiscated shark fins returned to them. In June and July 2007 in several communities of the Amazonía and domestic South, protests were carried out against oil and mining concessions to transnational companies (PetroChina, PetroBras and mining Canadian). According to some media, the Government repressed abusing from the force to these mobilizations.
    Upon his election, Correa began a weekly Saturday radio show, "The President Talks to his People", in which he discussed the week's events and answered questions from journalists. In August 2007 he signed Ecuador to TeleSUR, the pan-Latin American media service.
    More Details Hide Details Correa decided to create Ecuador TV, the first state-owned channel in the country, with the announced intention of producing television with better quality standards than the private channels. Also newspaper El Telegrafo became state owned. Radio Pública, El Ciudadano, ANDES and PP were also created under Correa's presidency, and are administered by state agencies. He has revealed the real identities of a number of his social media-based critics which has led to the individuals concerned being harassed. The President has affirmed that his is a "green" Government for its defense of the environment." In this line, he has decided to return to the Commission International Whaler to impede the reboot in the hunt of these mammals; it has established a prohibition to the extraction of beautiful wood; and he has announced that for a compensation of 350 millions of annual dollars of the international community it would give up the exploitation of an oil field with around 1000 million barrels, one of their biggest reservations of petroleum, located in a reservation of the well-known biosphere as the National Park Yasuní, in the Amazon Basin. The proposal hopes to collect contributions starting from 2010.
    On 10 May 2007, Correa filed a lawsuit against Francisco Vivanco Riofrío of the board of directors of the Quito-based La Hora newspaper, over an editorial published in the paper on 9 March.
    More Details Hide Details The editorial, titled "Official Vandalism,” said that Correa intended to rule Ecuador "with turmoil, rocks and sticks". It described the president’s behavior as "shameful." Correa's suit is based on Article 230 of the country’s penal code that sets prison penalties of up to two years for contempt, expressed in "threats or libel that would offend the president." The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has declared that it is "a clumsy step on the part of the Ecuadorean president to file a criminal charge against a news outlet, accusing it of contempt, an archaic concept in a modern democracy and outmoded in Latin America and which should be eliminated from penal codes, as the IAPA has been insisting." The Committee to Protect Journalists has also protested against the lawsuit: “Fear of criminal penalties will inhibit the Ecuadoran press in reporting and commenting on issues of public interest. We call on President Correa to drop the libel suit against Vivanco and repeal defamation laws that contradict international standards on freedom of expression.”
    After his election victory of 15 April 2007, he pledged to maintain dollarisation during the entire four years of his administration, though he also indicated his support for the idea of replacing the US dollar with a regional South American currency at some point in the future.
    More Details Hide Details On 16 April 2009, Finance Minister Maria Elsa Viteri embarked on a trip to Europe in a mission to present Ecuador's offer to buy back global bonds 2012 and 2030 at 30% of their current value. In May 2009, Ecuador announced that it had successfully bought 91% of the bonds at a cost of 35 cents on the dollar. In May 2008, the Ecuadorian government renegotiated radio spectrum franchises for mobile phone operators Porta and Movistar for a total price of 700 million dollars, far more than that recommended by studies conducted under previous governments, which had proposed granting the same franchises for only 70 million dollars. During Rafael Correa's tenure as president he took some radical alternative steps to change the course of Ecuador's relations with the rest of the world. Amongst these were economic moves to correct Ecuador's debt imbalance, distancing from the United States, a rift with its northern neighbor Colombia, and a strengthening of ties with ALBA (including Venezuela and Bolivia), as well as Iran.
    On 26 July 2007, Rafael Correa replaced finance minister Patiño, due to Patiño's appearance in a video recording, apparently discussing the market manipulation.
    More Details Hide Details Patiño then assumed a newly created position responsible for the Pacific coast region and later assumed the Politics Affairs Ministry. In a radio address on 13 December, Correa said that he wanted to force a "big discount" on creditors, whom a day earlier he called "true monsters who won’t hesitate to crush the country". "I have lost sleep over this … this will cost us tears and sweat but I think we are doing the right thing." Correa, who endorses anti-debt NGO Jubilee 2000's slogan "life before debt", is popular among Ecuadorians for his stance against foreign investors.
    In February 2007, Correa's economy minister Ricardo Patiño stated: "I have no intention … of accepting what some governments in the past have accepted: that (the IMF) tell us what to do on economic policy." "That seems unacceptable to us," Patiño added. However, as a member of the IMF, the annual report known as the "Article IV" report will be submitted. In May 2007, evidence surfaced that some of the Ecuadorian government rhetoric might have been part of an alleged market manipulation to benefit Ecuador from movements in the price of financial instruments linked to Ecuadorian Bonds.
    More Details Hide Details A fall in Ecuador bond prices, ignited by aggressive default rhetoric, would trigger a buyback by Ecuador, financed by Venezuelan banks. This strategy collapsed due to operations engaged by Venezuelan financial institutions who profited from the market swings. Correa referred to the allegations as a conspiracy from a powerful banker.
    Elections to establish a Constituent Assembly were held in 2007 and were won by Correa's government with over 60% of the vote.
    More Details Hide Details The new constitution also increased the powers of the presidency by increasing the number of presidential decrees permitted. Correa adopted a confrontational approach to both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Correa's administration has suggested that the new government will not sign an agreement allowing the International Monetary Fund to monitor its economic plan.
    Correa ordered a plebiscite on the issue or whether or not Ecuador should establish a new constitution in April 2007; the proposal passed with over 80% of the vote.
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    In February 2007, Correa's plan to have a referendum on the convening of a constituent assembly was approved by Congress.
    More Details Hide Details The referendum took place on 15 April 2007. However, after this date was set, the "statutes" for the referendum were modified by Correa to allow more powers to the constituent assembly., One of these powers was the ability to dismiss Congress, a power which Congress never approved. The newer version of the referendum was approved by the majority of the seven-seat Electoral Tribunal. In early March, Congress, which was controlled by Correa's opposition, reacted by trying to impeach the President of the electoral tribunal. The electoral tribunal then removed from office the 57 members of Congress who tried to impeach the President of the Electoral Tribunal, on the grounds of attempting to intervene an electoral process. Correa backed the electoral tribunal (which approved his version of the referendum) while stating that the removal of the 57 congressmen was constitutional. The situation escalated to a feud between the opposition in Congress and the Executive and marches in the street against Congress and police intervention to prevent the Congressmen from entering the legislative building.
    He was sworn in on 15 January 2007 as the 56th president of Ecuador, the seventh to occupy the post since the legislature removed president Abdalá Bucaram 10 years earlier in the midst of a debt crisis that had devastated the country.
    More Details Hide Details His inauguration was attended by most regional leaders, as well as the Iranian president and the Spanish Crown Prince. Declaring that "Ecuador had voted for itself", Correa proclaimed that his election meant an end to neoliberalism in the country. Invoking the name of African-American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., he also spoke out against racial discrimination toward indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorians in his speech. During the ceremony he wore a shirt decorated with motifs from the prehistoric Jama Coaque culture. Establishing his Cabinet, he emphasized the multi-cultural nature of Ecuadorean society by appointing a Quechua woman as Communication Secretary and an Afro-Ecuadorean as the Minister for Culture – the first black man to ever sit in the Ecuadorean Cabinet. Attempting to rein in the power of the Ecuadorean military, he appointed the first civilian to the position of Defense Minister, Guadalupe Larriva.
    Taking office in January 2007, he sought to move away from Ecuador's neoliberal economic model by reducing the influence of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
    More Details Hide Details He declared Ecuador's national debt illegitimate and announced that the country would default on over $3 billion worth of bonds; he pledged to fight creditors in international courts and succeeded in reducing the price of outstanding bonds by more than 60%. With the additional state revenues this generated Correa's government expanded social projects to alleviate poverty. Part of the wider Latin American pink tide, Correa was a key ally of Hugo Chávez's Venezuela and brought Ecuador into the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas in June 2009.
  • 2006
    Age 42
    Rafael Correa was officially declared President of Ecuador on 4 December 2006 by the country's electoral court.
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    Correa won the subsequent November 2006 runoff election with 57% of the vote.
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    In the October 2006 general election, Correa obtained second place (23%) behind banana tycoon Álvaro Noboa (27%).
    More Details Hide Details The situation led to a run-off election, in which Correa portrayed Noboa as an exploitative oligarch and Noboa portrayed Correa as a dangerous leftist with strong links to Venezuela.
    In October 2006, Correa added that he would "pursue and capture" FARC members if they enter Ecuador.
    More Details Hide Details He also declared that he condemns their kidnappings, violations of human rights and bombings. In addition to his platform on economic and social policy, Correa's ability to communicate with a large majority of Ecuador's indigenous population in their own language also differentiated him from other candidates. He learned Quichua in his youth during a year he spent volunteering in a remote highland town.
    However, the Alianza PAIS movement signed a political alliance with the Ecuadorian Socialist Party, which did present candidates for Congress. On 31 July 2006, Alianza PAIS also signed a Programmatic Political Agreement with the Communist Party of Ecuador when Correa was postulated for candidate for president.
    More Details Hide Details Other parties that joined Alianza PAIS coalition in a runoff election included: Democratic People's Movement, Democratic Left, Pachakutik, and the Partido Roldista Ecuatoriano. During his campaign, he traveled to Barinas, Venezuela to spend time at Hugo Chávez's family home, describing the Venezuelan President as a personal friend. On economic policy, Correa called for reform of the petroleum industry, including an increase in the percentage of petroleum revenues spent on social programs for the Ecuadorian poor, following the reforms of the Hydrocarbons Law promoted by former Economy and Finance Minister Diego Borja. He accused foreign petroleum companies operating in Ecuador of failing to meet existing environmental and investment regulations. In an interview, Correa stated: Many of the oil contracts are a true entrapment for the country. Of every five barrels of oil that the multinationals produce, they leave only one for the state and take four... That is absolutely unacceptable. We're going to revise and renegotiate the contracts."
    Correa decided to campaign for the presidency in the 2006 presidential election, although at the time he was a largely unknown figure among the Ecuadorean public.
    More Details Hide Details Employing Vinicio Alvarado as his campaign manager, Correa's campaign emphasised his personality as a macho family man of modest origins who was angry with the country's political elites. During his campaign, he described himself as the head of "a citizen's revolution" against the established political parties and corrupt elites, and depicted himself as the leader of a second independence movement devoted to freeing Ecuador from American imperialism. Touring the country aboard a motorized caravan attending political rallies, he emphasized this opposition using campaign songs such as Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It", as well as through the slogan "Se viene el correazo" ("Here comes a whipping"), a pun on the fact that "Correa" can be translated as whip. Correa established a political vehicle, the PAIS Alliance (Alianza PAIS—Patria Altiva y Soberana, "Proud and Sovereign Fatherland Alliance"), which united a disparate group of leftist groups. However, in an unusual move he announced that the PAIS Alliance would not put forward any congressional candidates during the election, thus reflecting his opposition to the established political system. During the campaign, Correa stated that if elected he would use an executive decree to introduce a national referendum on the establishment of a constituent assembly which could rewrite Ecuador's constitution. He presented this as a process necessary to overthrow the established political elites, whom he termed the partidocracia ("partyarchy"), and redistribute political power.
    Correa won the presidency in the 2006 general election on a platform criticizing the established political elites.
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  • 2005
    Age 41
    In 2005, Correa was appointed to the position of economy and finance minister in the government of President Alfredo Palacio, having previously advised Palacio before his ascension to the presidency.
    More Details Hide Details As finance minister, Correa met with a number of Latin American presidents, including Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Argentina's Nestor Kirchner, and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez. In this position, he also publicly criticized the U.S., describing U.S. President George W. Bush as "dim witted", and stating that Chávez's comparison of Bush with the Devil was unfair to the latter. He therefore established himself as both a political maverick and a staunch critic of economic neoliberalism.
    Born to a lower middle-class mestizo family in Guayaquil, Correa studied economics at the Universidad Católica de Santiago de Guayaquil, the Université catholique de Louvain, and the University of Illinois, where he received his PhD. Returning to Ecuador, in 2005 he became the Minister for the Economy in President Alfredo Palacio's government, successfully lobbying Congress for increased spending on health and education projects.
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  • 2002
    Age 38
    Correa argued for reforms to be made to a fund that had been established on the advice of the International Monetary Fund in 2002 to collect and distribute Ecuador's oil revenue.
    More Details Hide Details Correa believed that the fund unjustly allocated the wealth generated by the country's oil; 70% of it went to pay back foreign debt, while 20% was set aside to stabilize oil revenues and 10% was spent on health and education programs. Given that over half of Ecuador's population were deemed to be living in poverty, Correa convinced Congress that a greater share of the fund should be spent on social programs to alleviate the effects of poverty; as a result, the portion spent on debt repayment was reduced to 50% and that allocated to health and education was increased to 30%. The World Bank responded by cancelling its previously approved loan to Ecuador, with Palacio holding Correa responsible for this action. Correa resigned from Palacio's government. Correa had also proposed the issuance of government bonds at a lower interest rate than the 8.5% prevailing one at that time. Venezuela's government was to purchase half of the new bond issue. Correa claimed in his resignation letter that the sale was done with full presidential authorization, but cited lack of support from the president as a factor in his decision to resign. When Correa resigned as minister, polls showed he had the highest credibility of any official in the administration at the time, with 57% of Ecuadorians saying that they trusted him.
  • 2000
    Age 36
    Correa has criticized the neoliberal policies of previous presidents, particularly former president Mahuad's adoption of the U.S. dollar as Ecuador's domestic currency in 2000 to combat the country's inflation.
    More Details Hide Details Correa has characterized American dollarisation as a "technical error" which has effectively eliminated Ecuador's ability to set its own currency and exchange policy. However, Correa has also acknowledged that it would be politically and economically impossible to abandon that policy now.
  • 1998
    Age 34
    He established a committee to investigate any alleged crimes within the banking sector that took place between 1998 and 2002 and which led to the country's banking crisis and bailout.
    More Details Hide Details At the time of Correa's inauguration, 38% of Ecuador's government revenue went toward external debt repayment, with Correa intending to reduce this by 75%. He stated his plan to spend the additional money on funding public services in health and education. During his first months in office, Correa's government doubled the monthly poverty assistance payments to $30, as well as doubling the credits for housing loans and reducing the electricity rates for individuals on low incomes. He described these wealth redistribution policies as "21st century socialism", a term borrowed from Chávez. Correa's rhetoric and policies alarmed both foreign investors and Ecuador's wealthier classes. Correa refused to sign a free trade agreement with the US, believing that it would have a negative impact on Ecuador's economy. Correa proclaimed his intention of signing Ecuador to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA).
  • 1993
    Age 29
    In 1993 he was a director at the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) in Ecuador, with administrative oversight and supervision of improvement programs for the national educational system.
    More Details Hide Details The improvement programs were funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Correa was able to afford a university education with the aid of funding grants. He later studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a Master of Science in Economics in May 1999, and a PhD in Economics in October 2001. During graduate studies, he came under the particular influence of the left-leaning economist Joseph Stiglitz. Correa's adviser at the University of Illinois was Werner Baer, who later commented that at the time Correa did not seem anti-capitalist but was concerned by uneven income distribution in society. Returning to Ecuador, Correa secured a position at the University of San Francisco in Quito, where he taught economics. At the same time, he worked as an economic adviser to state and international agencies. During this period, Ecuador experienced a banking crisis, and the government of President Jamil Mahuad replaced the Ecuadorean sucre currency with the U.S. dollar. Correa was highly critical of this dollarisation policy, arguing against it in various academic publications that he produced at the time.
  • 1991
    Age 27
    He received a Master of Arts in Economics from the Université Catholique de Louvain in June 1991.
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  • 1986
    Age 22
    When attending UCSG, he was elected President of the Association of Students of Economy, Audit and Administration (AEAA) and, later on, President of the Federation of Students (FEUC) of the same education center, a position which in 1986 allowed him to preside over the Private Universities Students Federation of Ecuador (FEUPE in Spanish).
    More Details Hide Details Following the conclusion of his studies at UCSG, he worked for a year in a mission at a kindergarten run by the Salesian order in Zumbahua, Cotopaxi Province, where Correa taught Catholicism and mathematics. It was here that he furthered his faith in Catholicism, and developed a working understanding of the Quechua language spoken by most of Ecuador's indigenous people. In Zumbahua he became aware of the widespread poverty that afflicted Ecuador's indigenous population. He then secured a scholarship to study economics further at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium; there he met fellow student Anne Malherbe Gosselin, whom he married and with whom he later had three children: Sofía, Anne Dominique and Miguel.
  • 1979
    Age 15
    Correa was the first leftist to assume the presidency since Ecuador's transition to representative democratic governance in 1979.
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  • 1963
    Born on April 6, 1963.
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