Rafael Correa

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Rafael Correa
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Vice President(s)   Lenín Moreno
Preceded by Alfredo Palacio

Born 6 April, 1963
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Political party Alianza PAIS
Spouse Anne Malherbe

Rafael Correa Delgado (born 6 April 1963) is an Ecuadorean economist, a former Finance Minister and currently the president-elect of Ecuador. In the 15 October 2006 general election he obtained second place (22.84%) behind banana tycoon Álvaro Noboa (26.83%). In the 26 November 2006 runoff election, partial results showed Correa won the election with 57.2% of the vote.<ref>"Correa wins Ecuador's presidential vote: official" Reuters</ref>


[edit] Biography

[edit] Background

Correa received a Master's degree in Economics from the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (United States) in 2001. In addition to Spanish, he is fluent in French, English and Quechua – the language of the majority of the native Indian population concentrated in the Andes region. According to The Washington Post, Correa's adviser at the University of Illinois, Werner Baer, supports his former student. "He appreciates the market to a certain point, but he knows that the market left alone concentrates wealth," he said. "He is not going to do anything foolish... because he is a fairly open-minded person."<ref>Markey, Patrick. Ecuador's Correa leaps from outsider to take lead, Washington Post, October 11, 2006 </ref>

In 2005 Correa served as the economy and finance minister under the current president, Alfredo Palacio. During his four months in office he advocated for poverty reduction and economic sovereignty. Correa was skeptical of a free trade deal with the U.S, defied the advice of the International Monetary Fund and worked to increase Ecuador's cooperation with other Latin American countries. He resigned from Palacio's government after the World Bank withheld a loan (citing the changes to the oil income stabilization fund), and also for proposing the issue of bonds at a lower interest rate than existing bonds (8.5%), of which Venezuela was to purchase half of the 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.<ref>A translation of Correa's letter of resignation into English</ref>

The decision by Palacio to ask for his resignation was seen by some political analysts as a concession by Palacio to U.S. pressure. When Correa resigned, polls showed he had the highest credibility of any official in the administration, with 57% of Ecuadorians saying they trusted him.<ref>Solo, Tony. Sovereignty Takes One Step Backwards, Znet, 15 August 2005</ref>

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Rafael Correa chatting with an American boarding student in Cuenca, Ecuador

[edit] Platform

Correa, a professional economist, describes his five key areas of reform as: constitutional revolution, ethical revolution, economic and productivity revolution, education and health revolution, and dignity, sovereignty and Latin American integration revolution.

Correa founded the Alianza PAIS. The party did not run any congressional candidates, as Correa has stated that he will call for a referendum to call for a Constitutional Assembly. However, the Alianza PAIS movement signed a political alliance with the Ecuadorian Socialist Party, which did present candidates for Congress. <ref>Alianza PAIS and Socialist Party sign alliance on Alianza PAIS website (spanish)</ref> The constituent assembly would rewrite the Constitution.<ref>McDermott, Jeremy Man of the people closes in on presidency, The Scotsman, 14 October, 2006.</ref>

Correa has promised reform of the oil industry, including an increase in the percentage of oil revenues for Ecuador, following the reforms enacted by former Economy and Finance Minister Diego Borja. He has accused foreign oil companies operating in Ecuador of failing to meet existing environmental and investment regulations. MarketWatch quoted him as telling reporters, "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." He also advocates reform of the financial sector, including limiting offshore deposits by local banks to no more than 10% of their holdings.<ref>Ecuador candidate Correa to redraw private oil contracts. MarketWatch, 13 October 2006.</ref>

Correa defines himself as a humanist, a Christian of the left (he is a Roman Catholic), and an advocate of political sovereignty and regional integration. He is a critic of the decision by President Jamil Mahuad in 2000 to adopt the U.S. dollar as the official currency of Ecuador, but he admits that it would not be feasible to abandon this policy at this juncture (and advocated eventually joining a common currency area for Latin America, similar to the Euro in Europe). He advocates increasing the participation of the State in the oil revenue. He opposes the draft Free Trade Agreement as currently negotiated with the United States, although he does advocate expanding trade and opening markets with other countries.<ref>Rafael Correa article on Spanish wikipedia</ref>

In August 2006, Correa told the Ecuadorean press that he is not part of the Venezuelan Bolivarian movement, although he considers Hugo Chávez a personal friend.<ref> Rafael Correa reconoce que se reunió con Hugo Chávez El Universo 21 August 2006 </ref>

Correa has pledged to shut down the U.S. military base in Manta, where 400 U.S. soldiers are stationed as part of the Eloy Alfaro Air Base – though he has also jokingly stated that “We can negotiate with the U.S. about a base in Manta, and if they let us put a military base in Miami, if there is no problem, we’ll accept".<ref>Early Returns Point to Runoff in Ecuador New York Times, 15 October 2006</ref> He also expressed his intention to reduce the burden of the debt service, through compulsory debt restructuring, saying he will give priority to social development.<ref>Ecuador Sigh of Relief Latin Business Chronicle </ref>

Correa has stated that he does not consider the Colombian FARC guerrilla group to be a terrorist organization, believing that it would amount to declaring war on the group and further involving Ecuador in Colombia's internal conflict. <ref>Correa cambia de discurso de campaña: dice que rompería con Chávez y perseguirá a las FARC Diario El Comercio, 19 October 2006</ref> In October 2006, Correa added that he would "pursue and capture" FARC members if they enter Ecuador. He also declared that he condemns their kidnappings, violations of human rights and bombings. <ref>(Spanish)Correa cambia de discurso de campaña: dice que rompería con Chávez y perseguirá a las FARC Diario El Comercio, 19 October 2006</ref>

Correa's ability to communicate with Ecuador's indigenous population in their own language differentiated him from the other presidential candidates. He learned Quichua in his youth during a year he spent volunteering in a remote highland town.<ref>Weitzman, Hal. Rafael Correa: Chavista with a whip hand, Financial Times. 9 October 2006.</ref> However, in the 15 October election, a large percentage of the votes in areas with high concentration of indigenous people went to candidate Gilmar Gutiérrez, brother of former president Lucio Gutiérrez, although Correa generally ran second in these areas (and a smaller proportion to Luis Macas, of the Indigenous movement Pachakutik). <ref> Un Ecuador que pocos ven se tomó tercer lugar El Universo 20 October 2006</ref>

[edit] Footnotes


[edit] External sites

Preceded by:
Alfredo Palacio
President of Ecuador
Succeeded by:

be:Рафаэль Карэа

br:Rafael Correa ca:Rafael Correa de:Rafael Correa es:Rafael Correa fi:Rafael Correa fr:Rafael Correa id:Rafael Correa ja:ラファエル・コレア nl:Rafael Correa pl:Rafael Correa pt:Rafael Correa sv:Rafael Correa zh:拉斐尔·科雷亚

Rafael Correa

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