The Ecuadorian government’s National Secretariat of Communications (Secretaría Nacional de Comunicación) has asked for space to respond to a column by David Morrill, posted on this website on May 11.
The column, titled The report card on Correa after eight years: Some remarkable accomplishments but storm clouds gather on the horizon, was generally supportive of Correa and his achievements, but pointed out potential political obstacles as well as presidential personality traits that the author believes have negatively affected the quality of his governance.
The column reflects the personal opinion of the author and is not intended as a statement of fact. CuencaHighLife welcomes the response of the Secretaría Nacional de Comunicación, as well as anyone else who wishes to post a comment under the column.
Here is the government’s response to the column. To see the original column, click here.
In reference to the article entitled “The report card on Correa after eight years: Some remarkable accomplishments but storm clouds gather on the horizon“, written by Mr. David Morrill and published in the website that you manage on May 11, 2015, I allow myself to make the following clarifications:
Qualifying the Ecuadorean Chief of State as “megalomaniac”, “a loud-mouth”, “a control freak”, “a religious fanatic”, “a muzzler of free speech”, among other demeaning nicknames to any human being — and even more if it is the leader of a free and sovereign nation that received you with warmth and consideration — is not proper of a responsible and ethical journalism. Moreover, repeating these expressions used by the government opposition reveals that Mr. Morrill did not conduct an adequate investigation, but that he simplified his analysis and limited himself to transcribe these terms.
Ecuador has gone through great transformations due to the Citizens Revolution commanded by President Rafael Correa, whose administration has turned our country in a pioneer in this matter in Latin America, as Morrill mentions. These changes have been directed towards the reduction of poverty and the consecution of more equality among the population. As the article mentions, the National Government has effectively ended with the reign of the status quo. Nevertheless, moving forward with this structural transformation has generated critiques and attacks from the oligarchy, aimed to diminish the image of the Chief of State and foisting him adjectives as the ones used in the article.
Regarding the concerns referred by Morrill on the attacks perpetrated through social media, the President of Ecuador (during Citizens Link No. 408, broadcasted on January 24) showed how several social networks users have used these spaces to insult, defame and aggress, hiding in the anonymity of social networks and even threatening against the integrity and life of the Chief of State. In this link, you can see for yourself some examples so that you and your readers can judge this behavior.
For your information, the Ecuadorean government promotes social networks as spaces that favor civilized debate, with ideas and proposals, and not incurring in grievances or threats between individuals. The remarks made by President Correa aimed to, among other things, defend the “right to honor and good name” that all Ecuadoreans have under Article 66, Number 18 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador. Precisely, to counter those who use social networks with offensive purposes, the Government of Ecuador created the website www.somosmas.ec. This site has contributed to the empowerment of citizens in the defense of its rights, warranting a true freedom of expression in social networks.
Another issue referred by Morrill with imprecision in the article is the alleged suppression of the contribution of 40% to the Social Security Program. It must be clarified that this amount was substituted by the warranty of the State, who will contribute even in a 100% if the Ecuadorean Institute of Social Security needs it. However, the political opposition and the mercantilist media outlets, despite that they constantly complain of not having any freedom of expression, publish wrong information about this and other issues in order to confuse the national and international public opinion.
About the incident mentioned by Morrill regarding the teenager who procured obscene gestures towards the Chief of State last May 1, it should be reiterated that this was clarified by the broadcast of a video recorded by a camera installed on one of the vehicles of presidential security. President Correa explained (during Citizens Link No. 423) that, seeing the teenager’s gesture, he went out of his car and asked him “Why do you do that?” to which the youngster replied “I didn’t do anything”. There was no confrontation of any kind as the press wanted to portray. What the article omits is that the person who broadcasted the video in which the teenager makes some declarations about the incident violated Article 251 of the Code of Childhood and Adolescence and Article 180 of the Penal Code.
Finally, it should be noted that the President of Ecuador has maintained a high position in the popularity chart published by the Association of Political Communication that ranks presidents worldwide. Unfortunately, in our country as in the rest of Latin America, oligarchic groups have orchestrated attacks against all the progressive governments in the region. For this reason, a serious news outlet as CuencaHighLife.com should not enter the game of the region’s right wing.
For the aforementioned, I respectfully request the publication of this letter in your media outlet in order to inform your distinguished audience of the official position of the Government of Ecuador on this matter.
Torffe Quintero Touma
SUBSECRATARY OF INFORMATION
NATIONAL SECRETARIAT OF COMMUNICATION