In an interview with journalists from Panama, Brazil and Argentina that covered a wide range of subjects, President Rafael Correa said he has not decided whether to run again for president, saying that his main interest is to see the work of his “Citizen’s Revolution” continue.
Before he can seek a third full term in office, Ecuador’s Nation Assembly must pass a constitutional amendment allowing indefinite reelection. The Assembly is expected to begin debating the amendment, along with 15 others, within weeks.
“I want Ecuador to have the kind of leadership that will continue the progress we have made over the past eight years,” Correa said. “It doesn’t have to be me,” he said, but suggested he would consider running again if a strong candidate did not emerge from the ranks of his Alianza Pais party.
“The worst thing that can happen is that the country returns to a pattern of having a new president every year and a half,” he said. “To continue the work of reducing poverty and wealth inequity, and improving our educational system, we must have continuity in leadership.”
When asked about Ecuador’s debt to China said the country has not “sold out” or “mortgaged the future” to the Chinese, as some political opponents have charged. “China is the new world power and we work with them as we did with the U.S. in the past, and they provide assistance to us by funding infrastructure projects in Ecuador.” he said. “If you want to talk about the debt to China, look at the debt the United States has with China.”
Even with Chinese assistance, Correa conceded that the past year has been difficult economically due to the drop in oil prices. “Because of lower prices we have had to renegotiate contracts with oil companies that are not as beneficial to the country as they have been in the past. This is the reality that we have to face.”
On the question of Ecuador’s use of the U.S. dollar as its official currency, Correa said there are no plans for a change even though it has put Ecuador in what he calls a financial strait jacket. “Ecuador has done well in spite of the dollar, especially in these difficult times, but to abandon it now would create chaos, and I don’t see an alternative in the foreseeable future,” he said.
Correa repeated his claim that many of the protesters of his tax plans and other government policies want to destabilize the country and force a “regime change,” adding that he will not allow a shut-down of highways, public services, and commerce due the August 13 strike being called by indigenous and labor organizations. “I will not allow them to paralyze the country,” he said.