‘Latin America is Experiencing an Onslaught of the Neoliberal Past’ an Interview with Rafael Correa

By Deisy Francis Mexidor on May 27, 2018

Photo: Yaimí Ravelo Rojas

Rafael Correa is charismatic man who knows how to communicate. Two qualities that helped him to reach the presidency of Ecuador in 2007, a nation that up to that point had been on unstable political ground.

Before Correa at least seven presidents had alternated between scandals, popular protests and replacements – until the Palace of Carondelet had as its occupant this economist turned leader. During the 10 years of his tenure in office he promoted a Citizen Revolution which improved the conditions of the poorest Ecuadorians with a vast improvement of social programs.

Working now as journalist with Russia Today Correa has been able to reflect on what it takes to be a strong decisive leader. “It isn’t about if someone dislikes me or not, I have no control over that. I never looked at my job as President as trying to please everyone it was about what was needed to move the country forward.”

With that same clarity Correa warned during our interview in Caracas that,” what we have in Latin America now is an onslaught; an aggressive return of the neo liberal past. It is a terrible neo conservatism that respects absolutely nothing, neither democracy nor human rights, nor constitutional order and with an impressive double standard at the inter-Americanism at the world level.”

He condemned the imprisonment of former President of Brazil Lula da Silva and used that country as an example; “They pulled off a brazen coup d’etat and Latin America looked the other way. And in Argentina it was lost supposedly in a democratic way; in Ecuador we won but there was terrible betrayal, the constitutional order is broken and decisions are made outside of any legal, constitutional context, and nobody says anything.  I believe that if the left governments had done anything similar to how they are acting in Ecuador we would have been invaded.“

Like Lula, Correa views the former vice- president of his country, Jorge Glas, who is appealing a 6 year prison sentence on phony corruption charges, as being political prisoners. “Lula and Glas have been convicted without any proof. If that had been done to any Venezuelan opponent we would have seen a worldwide scandal. Like I said there is a terrible double standard that we are witnessing and actually our biggest opposition party is the party of the media that creates the scenario”.

Correa went on to explain that the conservative restoration is like a new Operation Condor that up to this point has not had the thousands of murders associated with it but they have smeared the reputation of innocent people in an attempt to exterminate the left, their movements and their ideas. Their agenda is to stamp it out in all its forms so it will never happen again.

When asked why he had travelled to Venezuela Correa replied that he had been invited to accompany these elections (May 20). “I reiterate I am accompanying this election because sovereign countries do not need observers. The observers are their people. I do not understand how they can accept the illegal parliamentary- judicial coup that took place in Brazil and condemn, even before it took place, the election here in Venezuela. They say this is a dictatorship after 24 verified elections have taken place here since the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolution.”

About his  political future he answered, “ I said that I was retiring from politics and that I was going to live in Belgium where my wife is from, where my daughters are studying, but what I never imagined  that such a betrayal would take place against the people of Ecuador. President Lenin Moreno has abandoned the Citizen Revolution and adopted the program of the right and no one should believe anything to the contrary. Ecuador is now on the axis of the hardest right. I apologize to the peoples of the Americas. I feel responsible but we were deceived. Now is not the time of regretting but of organizing to win. These are hard times but it is important not to forget the example of Fidel, of Che, of Raúl, and of all the great heroes of the Cuban Revolution. We have to keep fighting. We have to win.


Source: Resumen Latinoamericano, translation by Resumen Latinoamericano North American Bureau