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Presidente Rafael Correa

Econ. Rafael Correa Delgado
Presidente del Ecuador

   
 
Elected Presidente 2006 – 2009; 2013; Reelected February 2013

Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado
(born 6 April 1963), 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.

Education: Catholic University of Guayaquil; Catholic University of Louvain & University of Illinois, Urbana - Champaign

Correa's first term in office had been due to end on 15 January 2011, but the new approved constitution written by the new National Assembly mandated general elections for 26 April 2009. In that election, Rafael Correa won in the first round with 51.9% of votes counted. It was the first time since 1979 in which a representative was elected without having to face a second round.

Correa was re-elected in 2013 with over 57% of the vote. On 17 February 2013, Correa won his country's presidential election for a third time, defeating Guillermo Lasso, and was elected for another four-year term.

Economic Policy
Socialism will continue. The Ecuadorian people voted for that. We are going to emphasize this fight for social justice, for regional justice. We are going to continue the fight to eliminate all forms of workplace exploitation within our socialist conviction: the supremacy of human work over capital. Nobody is in any doubt that our preferential option is for the poorest people, we are here because of them. Hasta la victoria siempre! (Until victory, forever)

— Rafael Correa, April 30, 2009
Correa's administration has suggested that the new government will not sign an agreement allowing the International Monetary Fund to monitor its economic plan. 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 undertaken.

Market Manipulation

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. 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 that profited from the market swings. Correa referred to the allegations as a conspiracy from a powerful banker. On 26 July 2007, Rafael Correa replaced finance minister Patiño, due to Patiño's appearance in a video recording, apparently discussing the market manipulation. 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.

Dollarization

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. Correa has characterized dollarization as a "technical error" which has effectively eliminated Ecuador's ability to set its own monetary and exchange policy. However, Correa has also acknowledged that it would be politically impossible to abandon that policy now. After his election victory of 15 April 2007, he pledged to maintain dollarization during the four years of his administration, though he also indicated his support for the idea of replacing the dollar with a regional South American currency at some point in the future.

Bond Repurchase

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.

Concessions of Mobile Telephony

In May of the 2008, under direct administration of Rafael Correa, it was possible to re-negotiate the concessions of radio spectrum of cellular operators Porta and Movistar for a total amount of 700 million dollars, a higher sum than the established one on studies carried out in previous governments, in which it was recommended to give the same concessions for 70 million dollars.

Foreign Policy

Presidents of South American countries meet in Rio de Janeiro. From left to right: Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Evo Morales (Bolivia), Luís Inácio Lula da Silva (Brazil), Michelle Bachelet (Chile), Hugo Chávez (Venezuela) and Nicanor Duarte (Paraguay)
During Rafael Correa's tenure as presidency 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, a 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.

Tension with Colombia

On 1 March 2008 at 00:25 local time (05:25 UTC), Colombia launched a military operation, 1.8 kilometers (1.1 mi) into Ecuador. According to Colombian authorities, the guerrillas responded militarily to this initial bombardment from a position in the vicinity of Santa Rosa de Yanamaru, on the Ecuadorian side of the border, killing a Colombian soldier, Carlos Hernández. A second bombardment was then carried out, resulting in the deaths of Raúl Reyes and at least 20 more FARC members. Two bodies, several documents and three laptops found in the guerrilla camp were returned to Colombia. This was the first time the Colombian military had killed a member of FARC's leadership council in combat. After this operation, the Colombian authorities increased its security measures nationwide, fearing FARC retaliation.
President Uribe of Colombia spoke by telephone with his Ecuadorian counterpart, Rafael Correa, early on the morning of the raid, to inform him of the incident. In a press conference that evening, Correa denounced the attack as "aggression" against Ecuador, calling it a "massacre," and claiming that the rebels had been killed in their sleep using "advanced technology". He announced that he was summoning his ambassador in Colombia for consultations. On Sunday, 2 March, Correa said that a diplomatic note would be sent in protest at the incursion, claiming that the action had been a violation of Ecuador's airspace. Ecuador formally recalled its ambassador from Colombia and expelled the Colombian ambassador from Quito.
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.
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.

At a Rio Group summit held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on 7 March 2008, after a heated exchange of accusations between Correa and Uribe, the diplomatic crisis was temporarily resolved with Colombia's apologies for the attack and reassurances that it won't be repeated. Correa said that with this resolution Latin America was starting a new era where international principles of justice will have preeminence over power.
 
Relations with United States

Correa did not renew United States Southern Command's lease of Eloy Alfaro Air Base in Manta, ending U.S. occupancy of this military base in September 2009.
Relations with Venezuela
Presidents Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, Evo Morales of Bolívia, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brasil, Rafael Correa of Ecuador, and Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, in Fórum Social Mundial for Latin America
In June 2009, Correa joined the Chávez-backed Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), together with Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and other countries. Correa considered Chávez a personal friend and also said that "there is really no one that is a more admiring Hugo Chávez fan than me. I am the hugest fan personally and professionally, I think he is a great politician."

2008 Constitution

Conflicts with Congress

In February 2007, Correa's plan to have a referendum on the convening of a constituent assembly was approved by Congress. 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..
On 22 March 21 alternate deputies were sworn in, allowing the Congress to regain quorum, and on 23 and 24 March a further 20 deputies were sworn in. The new majority (formed by 28 alternate deputies and 31 deputies from parties that support the referendum and Assembly) pledged to support the referendum on the Constitutional Assembly. On 23 April, the Constitutional Tribunal decided to try to reinstate 51 of the 57 Congressmen who had been fired by the Electoral Tribunal. The Constitutional Tribunal claimed that it was illegal to remove them in the first place, and approved a petition by the 51 requesting their reinstatement. But before the congressmen had the chance to reenter Congress, Congress voted to fire all nine judges of the Constitutional Tribunal for their "unconstitutional actions".

Constituent Referendum

On 15 April 2007, Ecuadorians voted overwhelmingly (81.72% in favor) to support the election of a constituent assembly.

Assembly Election

On 30 September 2007, due to the extraordinarily large number of candidates and lists (26 national lists, 428 provincial lists, 44 emigrant lists) the Ecuadorian Constituent Assembly election, 2007 was the most complex in Ecuador's history. As a result in the national election, President Correa won backing for his plans to rewrite Ecuador's constitution and expand state control of the nation's economy. Correa's faction won approximately 61% of the seats in the National Assembly (80 of 130 Assembly Members).

Constituent Assembly

The Ecuadorian Constituent Assembly first convened on 29 November 2007 in Montecristi, and was given six months to write a new constitution, with a possible two-month extension. In June 2008, the president of the CA, Alberto Acosta, resigned due to his opposition to speeding up the debate on the remaining articles to meet the deadline of 26 July 2008. He was replaced by Fernando Cordero Cueva on 24 June 2008. When Ecuador began the process of writing a new constitution, they received help from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to draft environmental laws giving nature and ecosystems rights.
In late July, 2008, the assembly approved a draft constitution with 494 articles.

Constitutional Referendum

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. Partial results show that 64% of voters voted to approve the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador.

Public Media

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). They were also created: Radio Pública, El Ciudadano, ANDES and PP,which are administered by state instances.

Environmental Conservation

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 million 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.
Correa announced that it will allow the export of shark fins, in case the sharks are captured accidentally. Several organizations environmentalists, as a sector of Ecological Action, Black Shepherd and Global Activism criticized this decision strongly.

Yasuní-ITT Initiative

Yasuní-ITT Initiative, The aim of the initiative is to provide a creative solution for the threat posed by the extraction of crude oil in the Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha (ITT) oil fields, which are located in the highly vulnerable area of Yasuní National Park. The proposal would contribute to preserving biodiversity, reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and their way of life.
President Correa has stated that Ecuador’s first option is to maintain the crude oil in the subsoil. The national and international communities would be called on to help the government implement this costly decision for the country. The government hopes to recover 50% of the revenues it would obtain by extracting the oil. The procedure involves the issuing of government bonds for the crude oil that will remain “in situ,” with the double commitment of never extracting this oil and of protecting Yasuní National Park. If Ecuador succeeds in receiving the hoped for-amount – estimated at 350 million dollars annually – it would only be for a period of ten years beginning after the sixth year, since production, and thus potential revenues, would progressively decline after those ten years.
A more promising alternative would be a strategy to provide the government with the 50% of resources in such a way as to provide a consistent income for an indefinite period of time. This resource would be channeled towards activities that help to free the country from its dependency on exports and imports and to consolidate food sovereignty.

Sea Conservation

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.
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. 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.

Other Policies

Reformations of Ministries

Correa's administration began 15 January 2007 with the execution through its first two ordinances of two of its campaign proposals: the convocation of a popular consultation so that the citizenship decided if wanted a Constituent National Assembly, and the reduction halfway the wages of the high positions of the Estado19 beginning with the retribution of the own President that was diminished to 4.250 monthly dollars (25 minimum living wages). At the moment officials of the judicature wages have been awarded for on the 5.000 dollars.
The President also looked for the gender balance and its Executive had to the beginning of his administration 40% of the wallets occupied by women. Likewise, it prohibited their minister and other public employees to receive gifts and agasajos20 for their work. Nevertheless, the candidates of the Alianza PAIS to the Constituent Assembly have participated in official events, such as the inauguration of the hydroelectric power station San Francisco (Alberto Acosta), and the beginning of the construction of the headquarters for the Constituent Assembly (Trajano Andrade), both when they carried out the positions of Secretaries of Energy, Transport and Public Works respectively, previous to the convocation to elections.

Social Investment

According to the Office of Press of the Presidency, the Government's realizations in the first weeks of activity were the increment in a 15%44 of the social investment of the State, the committed duplication of the Voucher of Human Development, dedicated to helping families with less economic resources and in situation of poverty; as well as an increment of 100% in the voucher of housing to facilitate the construction, buying and rehabilitation for housing the financially disadvantaged. The Government has also begun to distribute medications free of charge.

Energy Politics

Their government has put special emphasis in developing the energy system. During their period, the construction of the Hydroelectric of Mazar culminated that takes advantage of the flow of the river it Averages that you dilute up it is used in it dams it well known as Amaluza. it was also awarded the construction of the project Coca Codo Sinclair, the most ambitious hydroelectric project in the history of the Ecuador. Is also projected the construction of it dams it of the rivers Toachi and Pilatón. During November 2009, Ecuador should ration energy, in view of a deficit that was overcome after the installation of thermal generators. Is projected the growth of the capacity of generation of the Ecuador, country that he/she will stop to depend on the energy that Colombia or Peru consent to sell him.

One of the most serious problems that Correa's Government has faced has been the inability to lower the criminal indexes significantly. To this end, the police were equipped with weapons, and a weapons control plan was instituted.
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.
Correa proposed the Plan Ecuador, which according to him emphasizes development, justice and peace to the militarism proposed by the Plan Colombia, financed by the United States.

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