Ecuador, a small, oil-producing country in the Andean region of South America, has experienced ten years of political and economic instability. On January 15, 2007,
Rafael Correa, a left-leaning, U.S.-trained economist, was inaugurated to a four-year
presidential term, becoming the country’s eighth president in ten years.
President Correa has fulfilled his campaign pledge to call a constituent assembly to reform the country’s constitution. The assembly, which is controlled by representatives from Correa’s party drafted a new constitution.
I’m going to post something that was in the NY Times on September, 28th, 2008, It will tell all the Willamette Community and the rest of our readers a little brief about Ecuador’s situation right now.
“Ecuador’s president, the leftist Rafael Correa, won easy approval of a new Constitution on Sunday that enhances his power in the chronically unstable Andean country while introducing a range of other measures, including raising pension payments for the poor and prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Following a huge spending campaign by Mr. Correa’s government, voters approved the Constitution by 63 percent to 29 percent, according to early unofficial returns.
The victory reflects festering resentment against Ecuador’s traditional political class and hopes that Mr. Correa, an American-educated economist, can broaden the reach of antipoverty programs. Repeated economic crises in Ecuador have prompted more than 10 percent of the population to emigrate.
“I voted for the Constitution because of social benefits like the inclusion of housewives in social security,” said Patricia Andrade Tenemaza, 26, a small-business owner in Quito. “Better times are coming for the poor in this country.”
In a sharp turn from a chaotic decade in which Ecuador had eight presidents before Mr. Correa took office in 2007, the Constitution creates the potential for uninterrupted rule. If his popularity holds, he could remain in office until 2017 by running for two more four-year terms, as permitted in the new charter.
Mr. Correa faced less resistance to constitutional changes than leftist leaders elsewhere in Latin America have, partly because his measures were considered less radical than overhauls in Venezuela, where voters rejected a proposal in December, and Bolivia, where the opposition is chafing at a proposed charter.
While cultivating ties to Venezuela, Mr. Correa has also kept its president, Hugo Chávez, at arm’s length, avoiding large infusions of Venezuelan aid while showing an independent streak that has put him at odds with the hemisphere’s largest countries, the United States and Brazil.
For instance, a ban on foreign military bases drafted into the Constitution effectively expels the American military from the coastal city of Manta, where it keeps a fleet of antidrug surveillance aircraft.
In the days before the vote, Mr. Correa stoked nationalist sentiment by sending troops to seize projects overseen by Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company. The move came after a dispute between Mr. Correa’s government and Petrobras, the Brazilian state energy company.
The new Constitution hands even greater power over economic policy to Mr. Correa, 45. Monetary policy shifts to the executive from the central bank, and while private property is protected, the government gains more expropriation powers.
Foreign investment plunged more than 30 percent last year, giving Ecuador the lowest level in Latin America after Venezuela. This decline has added to fears that the ambitious programs Mr. Correa laid out in the new Constitution could fail to alleviate poverty if revenue from oil, an important export, sharply declined.”
As any person who now a little about democracy, this is really sad news for our people who had enough already and who cannot stand anymore problems. It is sad how South America and especially Ecuador being a really wealthy country in natural resources still cannot develop in the way that it supposed to.
As in America (USA) the people who choose their leaders are the ones who do not have any education, and we are starting to see the consequences of those bad decisions. It is really necessary to create awareness in the people and to start investing in more programs that can educate our people. Without education we would never change a country’s faith. It is bad to say it but a good friend of mine once told me something that he read somewhere and was that “A COUNTRY DESERVES THE LEADERS THAT THEY HAVE” I’ll leave you with this last thought.