Rafael Correa

This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Correa and the second or maternal family name is Delgado.
Rafael Correa
President of Ecuador
Assumed office
15 January 2007
Vice President Jorge Glas
Lenín Moreno
Preceded by Alfredo Palacio
President pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations
In office
10 August 2009  26 November 2010
Preceded by Michelle Bachelet
Succeeded by Bharrat Jagdeo
President pro tempore of CELAC
In office
28 January 2015  28 January 2016
Preceded by Luis Guillermo Solís
Succeeded by Danilo Medina
Chairman of the PAIS Alliance
Assumed office
3 April 2006
Preceded by Position established
Minister of Finance
In office
20 April 2005  9 August 2005
President Alfredo Palacio
Preceded by Mauricio Yepez
Succeeded by Magdalena Barreiro
Personal details
Born Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado
(1963-04-06) 6 April 1963
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Political party PAIS Alliance
Spouse(s) Anne Malherbe Gosselin
Children Sofía
Anne Dominique
Rafael Miguel
Residence Carondelet Palace
Alma mater Catholic University of Guayaquil
Catholic University of Louvain
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Official website

Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado (Spanish: [rafaˈel biˈsente korˈea]; born 6 April 1963) is an Ecuadorian politician and economist who has served as President of the Republic of Ecuador since 2007. The leader of the PAIS Alliance political movement, Correa is a democratic socialist and his administration has focused on the implementation of left-wing policies. Internationally, he served as president pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations.

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. Correa won the presidency in the 2006 general election on a platform criticizing the established political elites. 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. 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%.[1]

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. He oversaw the introduction of a new constitution, and was re-elected in 2009. Correa was re-elected in the 2013 general election.

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.[2][3]

Early life

Childhood: 1963–87

Aerial view of Guayaquil, the city where Correa was raised

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).[4] He had three siblings: Fabricio Correa, Pierina Correa and Bernardita Correa. Having grown up in the coastal city of Guayaquil,[5] he has described his family background as being that of the "lower middle class".[5]

When Correa was five, his father was arrested and imprisoned for three years after attempting to smuggle illegal narcotics into the United States.[6][7] Publicly acknowledging this incident while president, Correa stated that "I do not condone what he did (but) drug smugglers are not criminals. They are single mothers or unemployed people who are desperate to feed their families".[6] Correa was 18 years of age before he was told about his father's actions.[7]

Correa's family faced financial hardship when he was 17, but a family friend paid for him to be educated at an elite local school, where he excelled.[7] During his secondary studies he was president of the Lasallian Student Cultural Association ("ACEL" in Spanish). Correa then obtained a scholarship to study at the Catholic University of Santiago de Guayaquil (UCSG), a private higher education institution in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he obtained an undergraduate degree in economics in 1987.[7][8] 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).[8]


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.[5] It was here that he furthered his faith in Catholicism,[7] and developed a working understanding of the Quechua language spoken by most of Ecuador's indigenous people.[9][7] In Zumbahua he became aware of the widespread poverty that afflicted Ecuador's indigenous population.[10] 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.[7][11] He received a Master of Arts in Economics from the Université Catholique de Louvain in June 1991.[12] 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. The improvement programs were funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).[13]

Correa was able to afford a university education with the aid of funding grants.[5] 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.[12] During graduate studies, he came under the particular influence of the left-leaning economist Joseph Stiglitz.[14] 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.[15]

Returning to Ecuador, Correa secured a position at the University of San Francisco in Quito, where he taught economics.[7] At the same time, he worked as an economic adviser to state and international agencies.[7] 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.[7] Correa was highly critical of this dollarisation policy, arguing against it in various academic publications that he produced at the time.[7]

Minister of Finance: 2005

In 2005, Correa was appointed to the position of economy and finance minister in the government of President Alfredo Palacio,[16] having previously advised Palacio before his ascension to the presidency.[7] 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.[14] In this position, he also publicly criticized the U.S., describing U.S. President George W. Bush as "dim witted",[14] and stating that Chávez's comparison of Bush with the Devil was unfair to the latter.[14] He therefore established himself as both a political maverick and a staunch critic of economic neoliberalism.[17]

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. 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.[15] 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%.[15] The World Bank responded by cancelling its previously approved loan to Ecuador, with Palacio holding Correa responsible for this action.[15]

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.[18] 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.[19]

Prior to becoming President, Correa denounced the "sophistry of Free Trade," in an introduction he wrote for a book titled The Hidden Face of Free Trade Agreements. One of the authors of that book is his ex Minister and congressman Alberto Acosta. Citing as his source the book, Kicking Away the Ladder,[20] written by a Korean economist based at Cambridge University, Ha-Joon Chang, Correa identified the difference between an "American system" opposed to "a British System" of free trade. The latter, he says, was explicitly viewed by the Americans as "part of the British imperialist system." Correa wrote that Chang showed that it was Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, and not Friedrich List who was the first to present a systematic argument defending industrial protectionism. (Correa includes List's National System of Political Economy in his bibliographic references.)

Presidential campaign: 2006

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.[21] 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.[22] During his campaign, he described himself as the head of "a citizen's revolution" against the established political parties and corrupt elites,[23] and depicted himself as the leader of a second independence movement devoted to freeing Ecuador from American imperialism.[23] 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.[22]

Correa established a political vehicle, the PAIS Alliance (Alianza PAISPatria Altiva y Soberana, "Proud and Sovereign Fatherland Alliance"), which united a disparate group of leftist groups.[17] 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.[22] 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.[24][25] He presented this as a process necessary to overthrow the established political elites, whom he termed the partidocracia ("partyarchy"), and redistribute political power.[17]

However, the Alianza PAIS movement signed a political alliance with the Ecuadorian Socialist Party, which did present candidates for Congress.[26] 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.[27] Other parties that joined Alianza PAIS coalition in a runoff election included: Democratic People's Movement,[28] Democratic Left,[29] Pachakutik,[30] and the Partido Roldista Ecuatoriano.[31]

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.[32]

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."[33]

Correa also proposed strategies for reducing the burden of Ecuador's foreign debt service through compulsory debt restructuring. He indicated that his top priority would be spending on social programs rather than servicing Ecuador's debt.[34] On foreign policy, Correa commented on Ecuador's relations with its neighbor Colombia. Correa stressed Ecuador's aversion to becoming involved in Colombia´s domestic conflict.[35] 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.[36] 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.[37]

In the October 2006 general election, Correa obtained second place (23%) behind banana tycoon Álvaro Noboa (27%).[38] 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.[38] Correa won the subsequent November 2006 runoff election with 57% of the vote.[38] Correa was the first leftist to assume the presidency since Ecuador's transition to representative democratic governance in 1979.[5]


First Presidential Term: 2007–09

Rafael Correa during his inaugural speech as president of Ecuador

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 had devastated the country. His inauguration was attended by most regional leaders, as well as the Iranian president and the Spanish Crown Prince.[39] Declaring that "Ecuador had voted for itself",[40] Correa proclaimed that his election meant an end to neoliberalism in the country.[14][41] 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.[9] During the ceremony he wore a shirt decorated with motifs from the prehistoric Jama Coaque culture.[10]

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.[42] Attempting to rein in the power of the Ecuadorean military, he appointed the first civilian to the position of Defense Minister, Guadalupe Larriva.[43]

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.[44]

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%.[45] He stated his plan to spend the additional money on funding public services in health and education.[46]

During his first months in office, Correa's government doubled the monthly poverty assistance payments to $30,[47] as well as doubling the credits for housing loans and reducing the electricity rates for individuals on low incomes.[40] He described these wealth redistribution policies as "21st century socialism", a term borrowed from Chávez.[48]

Correa's rhetoric and policies alarmed both foreign investors and Ecuador's wealthier classes.[49]

Correa refused to sign a free trade agreement with the US, believing that it would have a negative impact on Ecuador's economy.[50]

Correa proclaimed his intention of signing Ecuador to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA).[49]

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.[51] Elections to establish a Constituent Assembly were held in 2007 and were won by Correa's government with over 60% of the vote.[51] The new constitution also increased the powers of the presidency by increasing the number of presidential decrees permitted.[51]

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, for ever)
Rafael Correa, April 30, 2009[52]

Correa adopted a confrontational approach to both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.[40] 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 submitted.[53]

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.[54] 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.[55][56][57] 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.[58] 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".[59] "I have lost sleep over this … this will cost us tears and sweat but I think we are doing the right thing."[60] Correa, who endorses anti-debt NGO Jubilee 2000's slogan "life before debt", is popular among Ecuadorians for his stance against foreign investors.[60]

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. 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. 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.[61]

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.[62]

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.[63]

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)
Rafael Correa with Dmitry Medvedev

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.

Correa adopted a confrontational approach to the governments of both the United States and neighboring Colombia.[40] At the time of his election, Ecuador contained Manta Air Base, the only U.S. military base in South America, with Correa refusing to renew the base's lease when it expired in 2009.[64][65]

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.[66][67][68] 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.[69] Two bodies, several documents and three laptops found in the guerrilla camp were returned to Colombia.[66][68] This was the first time the Colombian military had killed a member of FARC's leadership council in combat.[70] After this operation, the Colombian authorities increased its security measures nationwide, fearing FARC retaliation.[71]

According to the Ecuadorian government, the attack happened 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) inside its own territory, lacked its permission and was a planned strike, intended to be followed by the incursion of Colombian troops by helicopter. It pointed out that the attack had left a total of more than 20 people dead in Ecuadorian territory, many of whom were found to be wearing underwear or sleeping clothes.[72][73] The government of Ecuador concluded that the attack was a "massacre" and not the result of combat or "hot pursuit". Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa had reason to believe that the Colombian warplanes had penetrated 10 km into Ecuador's territory and struck the guerrilla camp while flying north, followed by troops in helicopters who had completed the killings. He claimed that some of the bodies had been found to be shot from behind.[73]

The Ecuadorian authorities found three wounded women in the camp, including a Mexican student who was identified as Lucía Andrea Morett Álvarez.[74][75] Lucía Morett claimed that she was visiting the guerrilla group as part of an academic investigation, refusing to answer other questions about the circumstances surrounding her presence there.[76] Regarding the attack on the camp, she has stated: "I was asleep when we received a first aerial attack. Two or three hours later we were attacked again".[76] Ecuador said that it was cooperating with Mexico to investigate whether any Mexicans had been killed during the raid.[77] According to the director of the Ecuadorian military hospital which treated the three women, they had received some sort of medical attention from both the attacking Colombian forces and the Ecuadorian soldiers who later found them.[78]

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.[79] 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.[79] On Sunday, 2 March, Correa said that a diplomatic note would be sent in protest at the incursion,[80] claiming that the action had been a violation of Ecuador's airspace.[81] Ecuador formally recalled its ambassador from Colombia and expelled the Colombian ambassador from Quito.[79]

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.[82] 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.[83] Correa denied the accusations, calling them lies.[84] 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.[85] 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.[86] During the meeting, Correa dismissed Colombia's president Álvaro Uribe as just a "puppet" while others are the "puppet masters".[87] 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.[88]

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

2008 Constitution

Relations 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.,[89][90] 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.[91] 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.[92][93]

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.[94] 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.[95] 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".[96]

On 15 April 2007, Ecuadorians voted overwhelmingly (81.72% in favor) to support the election of a constituent assembly.[97] 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).[98]

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. 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.[99]

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.[100] Partial results show that 64% of voters voted to approve the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador.[101]

Relationship with the media

Correa was highly critical of the Ecuadorian press,[40] stating that it "does not inform, it defends the pockets of its owners".[102] 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.[103] 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."[104] 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.[102]

The President steps into a Dhruv helicopter

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).[105][106][107]

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. 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."[108] 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."[109]

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."[110] 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.”[111]

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.[112] In August 2007 he signed Ecuador to TeleSUR, the pan-Latin American media service.[112] 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.[113][114]

He has revealed the real identities of a number of his social media-based critics which has led to the individuals concerned being harassed.[115]

Environmental conservation

The President has affirmed that his is a "green" Government for its defense of the environment."[116] In this line, he has decided to return to the Commission International Whaler to impede the reboot in the hunt of these mammals;[117] it has established a prohibition to the extraction of beautiful wood;[118] 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,[119][120] located in a reservation of the well-known biosphere as the National Park Yasuní,[121] in the Amazon Basin. The proposal hopes to collect contributions starting from 2010.

Oil politics

In 2013 Ecuador announced that it will auction more than three million hectares of Amazonian rainforest in the Yasuni Nature Reserve to Chinese oil companies. The indigenous people inhabiting the land protested the deal. They claim that the oil projects would threaten their traditional way of life and devastate the area's environment. Ecuador's Shuar people's women's leader, Narcisa Mashienta, said that the government lied when claiming that the people would have given their consent.[122]

The NGO Amazon Watch claims that the reason for the projects is the government's 7 billion dollar debt to China and the desire to get Chinese funding to build a 12.5 billion dollar oil refinery.[122]

The 11,000-barrel oil spill to Amazon was considered problematic to Correa's desire to win a third term, because he had tried to assure his critics of him being environment-friendly.[123]

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 [124] – 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.[125]

In August 2013, Correa abandoned the initiative and approved oil drilling, blaming lack of support from the international community for the decision.[126]

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.[127]

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.[128] 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.[129] 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.[130]

Security and defense

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.[131]

Second presidential term

Rafael Correa was re-elected for a second term in the April 2009 general election, where he gained 52% of the vote.[51] He was the first Ecuadorian President to serve a second consecutive term since the 19th century.[132] 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).[133] 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.[1]

Correa was sworn into the Presidency on 10 August 2009, the same day as Ecuador's bicentennial.[134][135] 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.[134] 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".[134] He also said the actions of the media were opposing his government.[135] He claims that the continuation of his "The Citizens' Revolution" policy is intended to ensure all citizens are equal.[133]

Closure of Teleamazonas

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."[136]

2009 Ecuador electricity crisis

Beginning 5 November, rolling blackouts took place across Ecuador for two to six hours per day.[137] Government officials also urged citizens to conserve energy.[138] Economic losses from the blackouts are estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars; factory output slowed, and storage of perishables was disrupted.[138][139]

On 6 November, the government declared an emergency in the power sector, which was expected to "allow the Finance Ministry to seek to guarantee fuel imports for thermoelectric plants".[137] The government also agreed to purchase an additional 5,200 MW per hour of electricity from Peru and Colombia.[140] Government officials aimed to end power rationing before Christmas.[140]

The power crisis led to criticism of the Correa administration's management of the power sector as water levels of the reservoirs became depleted.[139]

Mining protests

In January, Ecuador was shaken by mass protests against large-scale mining. Indigenous people were demanding that they not be exploited at all and were blockading highways to make their point. Correa cited a constitutional article that prohibited the blocking of roads.[141] Police officers were also injured in attempting to clear blockades.[142] Eye Witnesses leader claimed "The response from the government was gunfire from the ground and the air," The leader said that police, backed by a helicopter, opened fire on the protesters unprovoked.[143] In an interview with the state-run media on Thursday, Correa said that the police were not armed and had only riot gear to protect them from demonstrators who were wielding shotguns. The Shuar man that died was killed by protesters' own weapons, and police were also injured by the same shotgun pellets that killed the brother Shuar, Correa said.[143]

Hydrocarbon production reforms

Correa announced that on Monday 26 July 2010 Ecuador would enact reforms to a hydrocarbons law that aims to expropriate foreign-company operations unless they sign service contracts increasing state control of the industry. Correa reminded oil companies that if they did not abide by the state's policies, they would have their fields nationalized and would be forced from the country.[144]

Higher Education Law

A debate to modify this and other reforms, specially the one which granted control of the Higher Education System by the government, was practically passed with consensus by the multi-partisan National Assembly on 4 August 2010 but vetoed by the president Rafael Correa,[145] who wanted to keep the law strictly as it was originally redacted by his political party and SENPLADES (National Secretary of Planning and Development). Due to this change, there are many highly educated professionals and academicians under the old structure but estimated that only 87% of the faculty in public universities have already obtained a master's degree and fewer than 5% have PhD (although many of them have already Ecuadorian granted Doctorate degrees).[146] In order to raise the number of Masters and PhDs the Government started a scholarship program to send Ecuadorians to study in the top ranking Universities around the world (around 8.500 scholarships until 2013)[147] and around 820 more have been approved for 2014.

2010 Ecuador crisis

Main article: 2010 Ecuador crisis

On 30 September 2010, the National Police went on strike over the passage of a bill that would end the practice of giving medals and bonuses with each promotion.[148] In what was called an attempted coup d'état, protests included road blockades, storming the National Assembly and state-run television station, and the military seizure of the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito.[149][150][151][152] President Correa went to debate with the rebellious police, but he was unsuccessful and instead challenged them to kill him, saying, "I'm not taking one step back. Gentlemen, if you want to kill the president, here he is, kill him if you have the guts."[148] At this point none of the policemen dared to shoot him, so instead they decided to attack him and take him hostage. While held in the hospital inside the police headquarters, Correa declared a national state of emergency.[148][153] That night, an elite army unit rescued him from the hospital amid violent clashes between the police and the army.[154] The Army then took him to Carondelet Palace, where he announced he would not pardon those responsible.[155][156] Throughout Ecuador, eight people were killed and 274 wounded in the unrest.[157]

After the rescue, Correa immediately was presented in the Palacio of Carondelet in the night of 30 September.

On the same night, eight South American presidents attended an emergency summit of UNASUR convened that night in Buenos Aires[158] to express their full support for Ecuadorean democratic institutions and Rafael Correa.[159] The summit also announced a "democratic clause" to the UNASUR Constitutive Treaty and an agreement to take immediate and concrete steps if further similar attempts should occur.[159]

The United States declared support for Correa through its ambassador to the Organization of American States. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed "full support for President Rafael Correa, and the institutions of democratic government in that country." On 5 October, Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patiño said "I firmly believe that Mr. Obama had nothing to do with this. I hope, and trust that neither his (immediate subordinates) did.[160]

President of Unasur

Correa was a signatory to The UNASUR Constitutive Treaty of the Union of South American Nations on 15 July 2009.[161] Ecuador has ratified the treaty.

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.[162][163] 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.[164]

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. On 29 November 2010, UNASUR's presidency passed from Ecuador to Guyana.[165]

Lawsuit against the El Universo newspaper and Big Brother authors

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..."[166] 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".[167]

"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."[168] According to an editorial published by The Washington Post on 27 July 2011:

Last week the president personally attended the trial while thuggish supporters threw eggs and bottles at the defendants outside the courthouse. To no one’s surprise, the provisional judge hearing the case quickly ruled in the president’s favor, sentencing Mr. Palacio and the three El Universo directors to three years in prison and awarding $40 million in damages to Mr. Correa – an amount that exceeds the total value of the newspaper.[169]

As of 16 February 2012, the National Court of Justice (Ecuador's highest court) confirmed the lower court's award of $40 million in damages, as well as the three-year prison sentences against a journalist and three executives of the newspaper.[170] 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.[171]

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.[172] 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.[173][174] 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.[175]

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,[176] both which the newspaper refused, instead claiming this was censorship,[177][178] including asking Correa what he wanted them to publish.[179] He also said he would drop his case against the authors of "Gran Hermano".[180]

Correa has been accused, in the words of the President of the Inter-American Press Association, of mounting a "systematic and hostile campaign to do away with the independent press and establish, by law or through the courts, ownership of the truth that all the Ecuadoran people must swallow."[169] These complaints relate both to a series of lawsuits against journalists and to government takeovers of many media outlets.

The Washington Post reported in July 2011 that, according to a report for the National Endowment for Democracy, the government had controlled one radio station when Mr. Correa became president in 2007, but that by the time of the report it owned five television channels, four radio stations, two newspapers and four magazines.[169]

Ecuadorian constitutional referendum, 2011

Correa announced a constitutional referendum, which took place on 7 May 2011. 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.[181] Although an Exit poll driven by the "Santiago Perez" pollster showed that the 10 questions won with the 62% of the votes,[182] 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.[183] At the end the "yes" won all 10 questions but only the first question got more than the 50% of the votes. [184][185][186] This was the eight election to pass during Correa's term in office.[187]

Chinese credits

In 2010 and 2011, Ecuador received Chinese credits for around US$5 billion. One of this financing model's projects is the hydroelectric Coca Codo Sinclair that the Asian giant builds and it finances with something more than US$2 billion.[188]

Correa pointed out that China gives credits to Ecuador at 7.0 percent, but the credits are to finance projects with 23 or 25 percent of profitability, that is extremely good business, when referring to two thousand million dollars which will be dedicated to public investment initiatives. The Chinese credits are a "good business" with interests of 7 percent to finance projects with a profitability that goes from 23 to 25 percent.[189] Correa discarded the idea that Ecuador is delivered to or have mortgaged its petroleum to China.

On this point he mentioned that in the year 2006 75% of the Ecuadorian petroleum went to United States, in exchange for nothing. "Now we have 50% of the committed petroleum with China, in exchange for thousands of millions of dollars to finance the development of this country.[190]

Restructuring of the justice

After the results of the popular consultation[191] was created the Council of the Transitory Judicature integrated by three members Tania Aryans (delegate of the Legislative), Paulo Rodríguez (delegate of the Executive) and Fernando Yávar (delegate of the Function of Transparency).[192] This advice has 18 months to restructure the Judicial Function Among its functions it was the one of creating the new National Court of Justice whose possession was given January 2012,[193] 21 whose members will be in the positions for nine years.[194] The court of justice was created through a competition of merits and opposition. Correa who participated of the act of possession of the new domestic magistrates,[195] said that the administration of justice is an imperium of the state and at the same time, it is a public service, also it expressed his total back to the new judges of the National Court of Justice (CNJ)[196]

2012 Ecuadorian protests

Ecuador's largest advocacy group for Indians, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, planned a two-week march to Quito beginning on Thursday to protest Correa's land and water policies that they say were hurting their way of life. Correa condemned the action and accused them of being hypocrites for having allied with the extreme right,[197] of seeking to exploit mining for themselves[198] and of trying to destabilize his government, urging his followers to mobilize against them. The Indians were supported by the Popular Democratic Movement, a leftist party, the National Union of Educators and CONAIE, which supported Correa at the start of his administration in 2007 but soon moved to the opposition.[199]

The support march on the Government concentrated on thousands of demonstrators coming from different zones that met in a park where they enjoyed artistic shows put on to celebrate the Woman's International Day.[200] The march began in an Amazon region to the southeast and it arrived in Quito on 22 March. It had the support of the teachers' organizations and students.

Correa declared that the protests were intended to destabilize his government and he encouraged his followers "to keep mobilized until March 22"... "to resist peacefully. Those in favor of the Government also announced countermarches in various localities,[201] such as in Cuenca where they had a concentration that gathered around fifteen thousand people.[202]

General Balance (proposal/achievement) 2006–2016

The achievement of 2006[203] and 2007[204] campaign offers is shown in the next table:

Offer Offer detail Achievement Achievement detail
Health To increase the health budget. To massively produce and distribute medicine. To create preventive health campaigns. To increase the number of public doctors and nurses. To implement mobile medical brigades.  Done The health budget was $561 million in 2006 and was increased to $1774 million in 2012, which is 6.8% of the national budget.[205][206][207][208] The Ecuadorian government signed an agreement with the Cuban government to allow public company Enfarma to massively produce medicine at low cost.[209][210] Working hours for doctors were increased to 40 hours/week and their salaries were also increased.[211] Mobile hospitals have been implemented.[212] Another program has been implemented in order to increase the rate of return of medics amongst Ecuadorian emigrants.[213]
Education To increase the education budget to 6% of the GDP. To coordinate free basic education with public health, nutrition and production programs. To train functionaries and teachers. To implement a national literacy program.  Done The education budget increased from 2.5% of GDP in 2006 to 6% of GDP in 2013.[214][215] Students around the country have received medical and nutritional attention in addition to free uniforms and lunch.[216][217][218] Literacy programs have been implemented[219] and public functionaries and teachers have been trained.[220][221]
Housing To increase the housing grant from $1800 to $3600 for houses priced below $20, 000.  Done Housing grant increased to $3600 in 2007; in 2008, it increased again to $5000;[222] for returning immigrants the housing grant is $7000[223] and $6000 for people with disability. The maximum price of the houses in order to receive the grant has also been increased to $60, 000. Up to 2011, 205, 000 families have been benefited with a total amount of $750 million.[224] The total investment is about $900 millions.[225]
Employment To implement a fund of $300 millions for five-year term micro-credits of $5,000 with 5% of interest in order to benefit 60, 000 people.  Done Foment's National Bank BNF, from April 2007 to July 2008 has given around 140 million US Dollars in microcredits through the 5-5-5 program.[226][227] During 2009 and 2010 the amount given for credits reached $33 and $40 millions respectively.[228] For 2011 BNF indicates that it has given around $43 millions in credits.[229][230] For the first quarter of 2012 $12 millions have been delivered in credits.[231][232] The 5-5-5 Program has been established as a permanent product in the credit offer of BNF.[233]
Political reform To call elections to create a constituent assembly in order to create a new constitution. To elect congressmen based on districts. Implementation of "cross death" where the congressmen or the president can call elections, just for once, after the first year of government.  Done Ecuador's Constitutional Referendum of 2008 approved a new constitution replacing the 1998 constitution. In 2008, as stated in the new constitution, the Council for Citizen Participation and Social Control was created, which designates the main authorities as the State Attorney General Office, Superintendents, Ombudsman Office, Public Defender Office, State Prosecutor General Office, State Comptroller General Office; members of National Electoral Council, Electoral Contentious Court and Judicial Council. The Cross Death mechanism was instituted which allows for a single dissolution of the National Assembly (formerly Congress).
External Debt To limit the external debt payment to 3% of the GDP (It was at 6%). To renegotiate the debt or look for remission agreements through exchange mechanisms (e.g. ecological protection funds to protect forests, Galapagos islands, etc.)  Done External debt servicing to GDP in 2011, was 2.24%.[234] External debt was renegotiated to reduce the share capital by $2 billion,[235][236] if the interest is taken into account that the profit would have generated amounts to more than $7 billion.[237] Through projects such as the Yasuní-ITT Initiative, Ecuador sought to obtain $3,600 million from the international community.[238] Countries have studied and made debt swaps to support the initiative.[239][240][241]
Free Trade Agreement (FTA) To not sign the Free Trade Agreement FTA with the U.S.A. To extend the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act ATPDEA. To intensify integration with Latin American countries. To reduce the use of local or extra-regional currency for exchange and, instead, implement a regional currency.  Done Ecuador has insisted that it will not sign an FTA with the United States, or the European Union or, even if it agrees with the signing of trade agreements.[242][243] It has managed to extend ATPDEA preferential tariffs up to 2013.[244] As a step towards regional and currency integration it has made use of SUCRE in trade relations with countries within the region.[245]
OIL To make Petroecuador a limited company and strengthen it in order to compete with private oil companies. To apply the current hydrocarbons law in order to not renegotiate oil contracts. To develop big extraction projects such as the ITT and the south-east areas of the country. To build new refineries.  Done In April 2010, Rafael Correa recreated Petroamazonas and Petroecuador as limited companies, with their own funding and budgetary, financial, economic, administrative and management autonomy, but not as a public company.[246] He increased investment in 2009 alone by $618 million reaching nearly $1.7 billion in investment.[247] The approval of the new law on hydrocarbons resulted in renegotiated oil contracts with 17 companies to enforce the law, he concluded the renegotiation with the departure of seven companies from the country.[248][249] The projects in ITT were suspended by the Yasuní-ITT Initiative and others were developed such as Pañacocha in 2010.[250] In 2008 he began the construction of the Refinería del Pacífico (Pacific Refinery) together with Venezuela and its operations were scheduled to start in 2013.[251]
Social security To unify the social security systems, grouping the current systems (civil, police, Navy, Army, etc.). To develop a computer system in order to allow the crossing of accounts between systems and increase coverage to 100% of the population. To increase the salary for pensioners. To pay the historic 23-year $888 million debt with the Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security (IESS).  Done Institutions such as the Instituto de Servicio Social de las Fuerzas Armadas (ISSFA) (the army's social security agency) and the El Instituto de Seguridad Social de la Policía Nacional (ISSPOL) have not been unified to IESS, neither have there been reforms of the social security law of the Armed Forces and Police. There are still discrepancies for former members with respect to civilians.[252] Although insurance coverage is not 100%, universal insurance has had a big push to reform the law to include benefits to spouses and children under 18 years in addition to increasing pensions for retirees.[253] The $888 million debt held for 23 years with the IESS was totally canceled in 2008, transforming the IESS into the institution with the largest portfolio in the country at the moment.[254]
Public safety To separate the functions of the police into four areas: narcotics, border, transit and public safety. To increase salaries and to improve the training of police staff. To develop reemployment programs in order to rehabilitate criminals. To create a public safety ministry.  Done After the events of 30 September 2010 the restructuring of the National Police was accelerated but not in the areas proposed.[255] The National Police and Armed Forces received a significant increase in their salaries in 2010 and 2012.[256][257][258][259] Inmates have access to higher education for free[260] and the need to present a certificate of arrests to aspire to a public or private office has been removed.[261]
Taxes To decrease the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 12% to 10%. To restructure the Internal Revenue Service SRI in order to improve tax collection.  Done/partial The VAT has not been reduced by any amount, but for some consumer goods and persons it is reintegrated or returned.

[262] The SRI (Ecuador's Internal Revenue Service) has significantly improved tax collection. In 2010 it raised nearly double the amount collected in 2006 by the Lucio Gutierrez government representing more in the 4-year period than the 8 years combined.[263]

International Relations To resume control of the military base of Manta (Manta Air Base), the only US air base in South America, which was leased rent-free for 10 years.  Done After failing to renew the agreement with the United States, the Ecuadorian government assumed control of the base and took measures against drug trafficking.[264] With respect to the Plan Colombia, Ecuador has refused to be part of it[265] and does not recognize the FARC as terrorists.[266]
Human Development Grant To double the human development grant from $15 to $30 using the money gained from the limitation of the external debt payments and the renegotiation of contracts with private oil companies.  Done On 30 January 200715 days after taking office, the Rafael Correa government increased the grant to $30 for mothers from poor families, the elderly and the disabled, which at that time benefited more than 1.2 million people.[267] In August 2009 it was increased to $35 benefiting 1.5 million people.[268][269] In January 2013, It increased to $50

Third Presidential Term

Rafael Correa with Pope Francis, 6 July 2015

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. Correa was reelected president, winning by a large margin in the first round of the presidential election.[270] 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.[271] 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[272]


Correa's government accepted a US$364 million loan from the IMF for earthquake reconstruction.[273] Notable for his prior antagonism toward the IMF.

Edward Snowden

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."[274]

President Correa responded by offering a multimillion-dollar donation for human rights training in the United States. "Ecuador offers the United States economic aid of US$23 million annually, similar to what we received with the trade benefits, with the intention of providing education about human rights,” said a government spokesman. "Ecuador does not accept pressure or threats from anyone, nor does it trade with principles or submit them to mercantile interests, however important those may be."[275]

Ecuador, which had originally offered Snowden a temporary travel document, withdrew it because it did not meet the requirements of being in an Ecuadorian Embassy by that time.[276] President Correa said the decision to issue it was "a mistake".[277]

2015 Ecuadorian protests

The 2015 Ecuadorian protests are a series of protests that were initiated against Ecuadorean President Correa. The protests began during the first week of June; becoming more organized to hundreds of people on 8 June 2015.[278] Since then, hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorians protested throughout Ecuador against President Correa and the controversial inheritance tax laws he introduced.[279] The opposition and demonstrators protested stating that Correa wanted to follow "the same path of Venezuela’s government", creating a "criminal war of classes" while President Correa stated that the protests were aimed at destabilizing the government and such measures were for combatting inequality.[280]

Public image and personal life

Rafael Correa in Otavalo

According to the Cedatos, Correa began his presidency with a 73 percent approval rating.[281] 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.[282] According to the Mitofsky of April 2012, as regards the "approval of leaders in America and the world", President Correa possesses an excellent evaluation.[283] His popularity even increased from 75% to 81% from August 2011 to January 2012.[284] 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%.[285]

Presidential aircraft Embraer Legacy 600 arriving at Camilo Ponce Enríquez Airport in Loja, Ecuador in September 2013.

Correa is a devout Roman Catholic, and keeps a photograph of the Pope on his desk.[7]

Political ideology

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.[48] The Economist described Correa as "a left-wing populist",[286] while The Washington Post has characterized Correa's ideological approach as being "economically populist, socially conservative, [and] quasi-authoritarian".[287] 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,[288] 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."[289]

Honours and awards

Award or decoration Country Date Place Note Ref
Grand Collar of the Order of the Liberator  Venezuela 11 October 2007 Caracas Former Venezuelan highest distinction. [290]
Collar of the Order of the Liberator General San Martín  Argentina 21 April 2008 Quito Argentinian highest decoration. [291]
Grand Cross of the Order of Francisco Morazán  Honduras 31 May 2009 Tegucigalpa [292]
Grand Collar of the Order of the Sun  Peru 9 June 2010 Lima Peruvian highest award. [293]
Order of Augusto César Sandino  Nicaragua 15 November 2010 Quito Highest honour of the Republic of Nicaragua. [294]


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.[295] Order Great Marshal of Ayacucho of Venezuela for the bolivarian character of his administration in Ecuador, February 2009.[296] Medal of Honor in the Grade of Grand Cross, highest honour of the Congress of Peru, 12 June 2010.[297] Great Necklace of the Ecuadorian Federation of Soccer in November 2010 in gratitude for the expedition of the Law of the Sport.[298] Medal of "Distinguished Visitor", by the UCSG in the inauguration of the III International University Congress, Development and Cooperation.[299] Highest honour on the part of the Association of retired Generals of the National Police to have brought about the approval of pensions to almost 20,000 former uniformed officers.[300]

Honorary degrees

Also, in April 2010 he received the Prize for Exceptional Academic Achievement 2009 of the University of Illinois.[310] On 3 December 2010, the UBA Cultural Center of Buenos Aires gave him the Faces and Masks Democracy Prize.[311]

Work published


Academic articles



  1. 1 2 "Avenger against oligarchy" wins in Ecuador The Real News, 27 April 2009.
  2. "Correa's and Ecuador's Success drive The Economist Nuts". New Economic Perspectives.
  3. Correa wins re-election and says banks and mass media don't rule anymore. The Real News. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  4. "Rafael Correa Icaza". GeneAll.net. 23 March 1934. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Kozloff 2008, p. 13.
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Becker, Marc (2013). "The Stormy Relations between Rafael Correa and Social Movements in Ecuador". Latin American Perspectives. 40 (3): 43–62. 
Colloredo-Mansfeld, Rudi; Mantilla, Paola; Antrosio, Jason (2012). "Rafael Correa's Multicolored Dream Shirt: Commerce, Creativity, and National Identity in Post-Neoliberal Ecuador". Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies. 7 (3): 275–294. doi:10.1080/17442222.2012.723907. 
Conaghan, Catherine; De La Torre, Carlos (2008). "The Permanent Campaign of Rafael Correa: Making Ecuador's Plebiscitary Presidency". Press/Politics. 13 (3): 267–284. doi:10.1177/1940161208319464. 
Kozloff, Nicholas (2008). Revolution!: South America and the Rise of the New Left. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-61754-4. 
Philip, George; Panizza, Francisco (2011). The Triumph of Politics: The Return of the Left in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. Cambridge: Polity Press. ISBN 978-0-7456-4749-4. 

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Wikiquote has quotations related to: Rafael Correa
Political offices
Preceded by
Mauricio Yépez
Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Magdalena Barreiro
Preceded by
Alfredo Palacio
President of Ecuador
Party political offices
New office Chairman of the PAIS Alliance
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Michelle Bachelet
President pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations
Succeeded by
Bharrat Jagdeo
Preceded by
Luis Guillermo Solís
President pro tempore of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States
Succeeded by
Danilo Medina
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