President Rafael Correa is back in the international news again but you’ll need to check the “weird news” column to find out the latest.
As the story goes, the presidential motorcade was traveling through Quito’s historic district last Friday, when a 16-year-old student made an obscene gesture as it passed. Reports vary as to whether the gesture was a middle finger salute, commonly known as the bird, or simply a thumbs down motion.
In any case, Correa ordered the motorcade to stop, jumped out of his limousine, and confronted the student on the sidewalk. Correa says he delivered a stern message about not disrespecting the country’s commander-in-chief.
The boy, identified only as Luis, told newspapers that Correa grabbed his shirt during the confrontation. Correa denies touching the boy, calling him a “spoiled liar.” A video of the incident is inconclusive on the matter.
Correa justified his actions, saying that his wife was in the limosine and that the boy needed to be “taught a lesson.” The president claimed the boy was a member of the Revolutionary Youth of Ecuador, a group opposed to the government.
Although the video doesn’t show the alleged touching, it clearly shows the boy’s mother slapping one of Correa’s bodyguards.
When asked in an interview about the wisdom of his action, Correa said he was under stress at the time of the incident due to an accident involving a friend. He added, however, that the insult needed to challenged.
“If you want to dehumanize the President of the Republic, you need to find another president. I will not tolerate it,” he said.
In February, Correa made the “weird news” when he engaged comedian John Oliver on Twitter in reaction to Oliver’s comments about the presidential clown, Tiko Tiko. Oliver, responded to Correa’s Twitter on his television show, Last Week Tonight, asking, “Don’t you have a country to run?”