Friday, January 19, 2007

Ecuador's Correa calls for socialist Latin America

On January 15, Ecuador's new president, Rafael Correa Delgado, was sworn in, promising to build "socialism of the 21st century" to overcome the poverty and instability of the small Andean country.

The previous day, Correa attended an indigenous inauguration ceremony in Zumbahua, the small Andean town where he did volunteer social work in his twenties. The presidents of Venezuela and Bolivia — Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales — were present as special guests.

Correa, a 43-year-old economist, used his inauguration to call for a "citizens' revolution", using wealth to meet social and environmental needs, rather than maintaining the current "perverse system" that has led to over 60% of Ecuador's 13 million people living in poverty and forced more than 3 million to emigrate in search of jobs.

"The long night of neoliberalism is coming to an end", said Correa, "A sovereign, dignified, just and socialist Latin America is beginning to rise."