Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado Biography

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2009-01-09 | 09:42:49 EST
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Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado (born 6 April 1963 in Guayaquil) is the President of the Republic of Ecuador and a self-described "humanist and Christian of the left." An United-States educated economist, he previously served as the country's finance minister. In December, 2008, he repudiated Ecuador's national debt calling it "immoral" and tainted by bribes, and pledged to fight creditors in international courts.

 

Correa earned an Economics degree at the Universidad Católica de Santiago de Guayaquil in 1987. Following his degree, he worked for one year in a mission at a welfare center run by the Salesian order in Cotopaxi Province, where he acquired some knowledge of Kichwa, the language of the majority of the native pre-Columbian population concentrated in the Andes region. In addition to Spanish, he speaks French and English.

In June 1991, he later received a Master of Arts in Economics from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. He later studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned a Master of Science in Economics in May 1999, and later a Ph.D. in Economics in October 2001. 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."

In 2005, Correa served as economy and finance minister under his predecessor, President Alfredo Palacio. During his four months in office, he advocated poverty reduction and economic sovereignty. Correa was skeptical of a free-trade deal with the U.S.A., did not take 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). Correa had also proposed the issue of bonds at a lower interest rate than was current at the time (8.5%); Venezuela 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, polls showed he had the highest credibility of any official in the administration, with 57% of Ecuadorians saying that they trusted him. His grandfather, Valentin Delgado, a resident of Orange County, California, died August 2, 2008 at the age of 102.

2006 presidential campaign

At the start of 2006 presidential campaign, Rafael Correa founded the Alianza PAISPatria Altiva y Soberana ("Proud and Sovereign Fatherland Alliance"). The new party espouses political sovereignty and regional integration, and economic relief for Ecuador's poor. Correa, an observant Roman Catholic, describes himself as a humanist, a Christian of the left, and a proponent of socialism of the 21st century.

During the campaign, Correa proposed a constituent assembly to rewrite Ecuador's constitution. Alianza PAIS did not run any congressional candidates, as Correa had stated that he would call for a referendum to begin drafting a new constitution. However, the Alianza PAIS movement signed a political alliance with the Ecuadorian Socialist Party, which did present candidates for Congress.

On economic policy, Correa called for reform of the oil industry, including an increase in the percentage of oil revenues for the Ecuadorian poor, following the reforms of the Hydrocarbons Law promoted by former Economy and Finance Minister Diego Borja. He accused foreign oil 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." He advocated reform of the financial sector, including limiting offshore deposits by local banks to no more than 10% of their holdings.

Correa also proposed strategies for reducing the burden of Ecuador's foreign debt service, through compulsory debt restructuring; however, he stated he would favor giving priority to social development.

Correa criticized the neoliberal policies of recent Ecuadorian presidents, especially Jamil Mahuad. He criticized the decision by President Mahuad in 2000 to adopt the U.S. dollar as the country's official currency but, in late 2006, he acknowledged that it would not be feasible to abandon that policy.

Correa also criticized Ecuador's draft free trade agreement as currently negotiated with the United States, although he does advocate expanding trade and opening markets with other countries, urging in particular the integration of South American economies.

On foreign policy, Correa commented on Ecuador's relations with its neighbor Colombia. Correa stressed Ecuador's interest in staying uninvolved in internal conflict in Colombia.[13] 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.[14]. Later, during his presidency Colombia's police accused Correa of ties with the FARC. Correa denied the accusations. See Presidency.

Correa also commented on Ecuadorian-Venezuelan relations. In August 2006, Correa told the Ecuadorian press that he is not part of the Venezuelan Bolivarian movement, although he considers Hugo Chávez a personal friend. In response to Chávez's comparison of President Bush with Satan, Correa said it was unfair to the devil.

On U.S.-Ecuadorian relations, Correa pledged to shut down the U.S. Forward Operating Location (often referred to as a "military base") in Manta, where 400 U.S. soldiers are stationed as part of the Eloy Alfaro Air Base.

In addition to his platform on economic and social policy, Correa's ability to communicate with Ecuador's indigenous population in their own language also differentiated him from the other presidential candidates. He learned Quichua in his youth during a year he spent volunteering in a remote highland town. 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.

In the 15 October 2006 general election Correa obtained second place (22.84%) behind banana tycoon Álvaro Noboa (26.83%). Correa won the subsequent 26 November 2006 runoff election with 56.67% of the vote. He took office on 15 January 2007.

 

Presidency

Rafael Correa was officially declared president of Ecuador on 4 December 2006 by the country's electoral court. 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 devastated the country. His inauguration was attended by most regional leaders, as well as the Iranian President and Spanish Crown Prince.

Since 2007, President Correa has been the Vice President of the International Parliament for Safety and Peace, an intergovernmental organisation based in Italy.

 

Economic policy

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.

 

Repudiation of Ecuador's National Debt

Correa has called for a renegotiation of Ecuador's $10.2 billion external debt, at 25% of GDP Dudley, Steven, following the example of Argentine President Néstor Kirchner. In his inaugural address on 15 January, Correa stated his belief that part of Ecuador's external debt is illegitimate, because it was contracted by military regimes. He also denounced the "so-called Washington Consensus." Correa has threatened to default on Ecuador's foreign debt, and to suspend review of the country's economy by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; indeed, on 26 April 2007, he ordered the expulsion from Ecuador of the World Bank's country manager.

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. [26] A fall in Ecuador bond prices, ignited by aggressive default rhetoric, would then 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. On 26 July 2007 Rafael Correa, replaced Patiño -who appeared in video recordings discussing the market manipulation- as his finance minister, after being censured by the then country's Congress. Patiño assumed a newly created position responsible for the economically important Pacific coast region.(Taken fron Wikipedia)

 

 


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