EspañolPresident of Ecuador Rafael Correa begins his tour today to several universities and technology centers in the United States. Tomorrow he will present a live-streamed lecture at the John F. Kennedy Center at Harvard University. The tour then ends on Saturday, April 12, in New York, but the agenda, however, does not include meetings with any US officials.
As a way to improve bilateral cooperation and unite the academic experiences of both countries, Correa will provide students and academics at Harvard with a lecture titled, “Development as Political Process: the Ecuadorian Dream.” Correa then plans to meet with the president of Harvard, Drew Faust.
According the university’s communications secretary, the event is being held “with the intention of strengthening opportunities for bilateral cooperation between academic institutions in the United States and flagship initiatives in Ecuador.”
Correa’s tour will continue on Thursday with a visit to the city of New Haven, where he will speak at Yale University. He also plans to meet with several professors at the Center for Engineering, Innovation, and Design. The goal is to share in academic experiences that will benefit Ecuador — “to deepen academic contacts,” says the president of Ecuador.
Rafael Correa holds a doctorate degree in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign — the only Latin-American president able to boast this achievement — and wrote a thesis demonstrating how liberal market policies hurt Latin-American countries. He will now hold a series of press interviews in the United States to relay the “Ecuadorian experience.” Paradoxically, the president has stated that the international press “has no plurality and is usually in the hands of right-wing groups who are anti-government.”
The journalists and media outlet that will have the opportunity to chat with Correa — one of the presidents who hoisted the banner of 21st Century Socialism — include Charlie Rose, Bloomberg Television, Andrew Marantz of the New Yorker, and Adam Klasfied of the Kourthouse News Service.
The tense relationship between Correa and the Ecuadorian press, as well as Ecuador’s relationship with Belarus, are among the reasons why Barack Obama’s administration have distanced themselves from Ecuador.
The tour will conclude on Saturday, April 12, in New York, where Correa will broadcast his weekly radio and television program, Enlace Ciudadano (Citizen Link), and meet with Ecuadorian migrants living in the United States.
Correa and Socialism of the 21st Century
The Ecuadorian president has expressed his support for the communist government of Nicolás Maduro and his response to the ongoing street protests of Venezuelan students.
“We know very well what is happening in Venezuela; we know very well where this violence comes from: the fascist right,” Correa stated in response to demonstrations from students.
Correa has been in power since winning his election in 2006, and now presides over this third consecutive term. On Sunday, the president also suggested he was open to the idea of a proposed constitutional amendment to end term limits. He says it is something that the people will have to decide at the polls.
“It could mean the lesser of two evils. The right wing, which depends on the complicity of the media, could end this historic project [called the Citizen Revolution],” said the president.*
Cristina Kirchner, a Fellow Harvard Guest
The President of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, previously spoke before a gathering of students at Harvard University in September of 2012. Among other things, the current head of state declared there were no currency exchange issues in Argentina and that her country enjoyed total press freedom. Kirchner, who has gone five years without providing an official press conference, was booed by students in attendance.
* Two members of EsLibertad, the Latin-American section of Students For Liberty, have published an open letter denouncing the presidency of Rafael Correa on the blog of the PanAm Post: “Correa and the Reality of Life in Ecuador.”