ECUADOR DIGESTPresident says that bureaucracy is an attack on human rights; in a Tweet, he threatens the country’s newspapers

Aug 19, 2013

A cumbersome and demanding bureaucracy is an attack on the rights of Ecuadorians, President Rafael Correa said Saturday in his weekly televison broadcast.

He said his government is developing a top to bottom plan to improve “customer service” to citizens, from a national to local level.chl correa 6

“Why should a family be forced to provide a birth certificate for their child to go to school every year? The child was only born once,” Correa said, as an example of policies that require extra work for citizens. “Why should people have to go back and forth to the civil registry office to prove what they have already proven? This is a waste of time and is not fair to our people.”

Correa said a special task force is looking into ways of streamlining various government bureaucracies by eliminating redundant and unnecessary procedures. He also said that more functions should be processed over the Internet.

Correa said his plan covered all areas of citizen – government interaction, from starting a business to receiving medical care in a state-run hospital. “One thing we have to do is to start trusting people instead of assuming that they are lying. Now, we are killing them with paperwork.”

In earlier statements, Correa has said that Ecuador should look at government procedures in Europe and the United States as examples of making systems work more efficiently.
Correa threatens newspapers in Monday Tweet

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President Rafael Correa is threatening to force the country’s newspapers to go all-digital as a way to save trees. He said he might propose a national referendum on the plan, in a post on his Twitter account Monday.

The Tweet was in response to newspaper support for a national referendum on the plan to extract oil from Yasuni National Park in the Amazon region.

A number of political oberservers said that the suggestion was probably a joke and, if it wasn’t, should not be taken too seriously. “I think this is a case of the president firing from the hip to get people excited — in this case, the newspaper  people,” said Gustavo Wilson, a journalist for several Latin American news services. “It’s a Tweet, afterall and it’s not going to happen anyway.”

Correa announced last week that he’s asking the national assembly to support drilling in Yasuní. Rich nations had refused to fund a plan he proposed to protect the biodiverse Amazon preserve as a hedge against global warming.

In his Tweet, Correa said if the necessary signatures are gathered to force a vote on Yasuní, he’ll propose that newspapers be published only in digital format, “to save paper and avoid so much indiscriminate cutting of trees.”


Yachay University sponsors first tech conference

In one of its first public functions, Ecuador’s ambitious Yachay University is sponsoring a conference to explore ways to connect the physical and digital worlds.

The conference, September 18 to 22 in Quito, will focus on ways to integrate various automation systems, particularly the Internet, into everyday life. One topic will be the development of Smart Green Cities.

Yanchay, which means “city of knowledge” is under construction north of Quito and will hold its first classes this fall. The university’s developers have said that they want to create a “Silicon Valley of South America” at Yanchay.

Speakers at the conference will include a number of international tech experts, including Atari founder, Nolan Bushnell.

Photo caption: Rafael Correa

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