What Correa Didn’t Say at Harvard: The New Partidocracy and Its Waning Popularity

EspañolDuring his visit to Harvard University on April 9, President of Ecuador Rafael Correa participated in a private round of questions with a group of students. At the meeting, students questioned him on three topics: challenges and opportunities of the country, the popularity of his decisions with his citizens, and the relationship between Ecuador and the United States.

Correa said that the main challenge of his government has been to change the relationship of power in the country, traditionally controlled by “small but very powerful elites.” With regard to opportunity, Correa said that the Ecuadorian national spirit has returned. After finding a country destroyed, Correa believes Ecuadorians have regained their lost hope and pride.

However, the president conveniently forgot to mention that while the “partidocracy” has lost much of its influence, there is a new power elite in Ecuador: the bureaucrats. It is common knowledge in the country that the highest wages now are offered by the public sector, resulting in a growing wave of nouveaux rich sprung from the Citizen Revolution.

Correa later said that despite having made ​​tough and unpopular decisions, people trust him and his government and continue to support him. Is this true? Considering the results of the most recent local elections in Ecuador, I have my doubts. A loss of support for the ruling party was evidenced by the defeat of several mayoral candidates sponsored by Correa in Ecuador’s major cities. It appears that this trust from the people that Correa was referring to has actually been fading over time.

Fuente: Miguel Ángel Romero.
President Correa at Harvard University, April, 2014. Source: Miguel Ángel Romero.

The last question answered by the president was based on the relationship between the United States and Ecuador. While Correa assures that the two countries are very close, he notes that the United States maintains a faulty foreign policy, and that conflicts arise when it tries to impose its own values on the rest of the world.

“America is a very successful country, the most powerful in the history of mankind, with important values. But these values ​​are not universal necessarily,” he said.

Among the values that Correa referred to are fundamental liberties — particularly freedoms of press and expression — which are highly respected in the United States. For example, Correa does not understand how people in the United States can “slander” the president of the republic so freely. Likewise, I do not understand how, in Ecuador, politicians can force people to apologize when they are criticized — “attacks against the honor and reputation” is what they call it. Being forced to apologize for having an opinion that is not in accordance to what the regime has established must be a joke — only no one’s laughing.

It is wrong for a country to influence the internal affairs of other governments or to impose its values by force. However, contrary to what President Correa believes, these “values” are not exclusively US American. Individual liberties are, in fact, universal, and must be respected regardless of geographic location, ideology, or type of government. This is what Correa either fails to understand or does not want you to know.

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