Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa came to Havard to give a speech I tried to avoid hearing, let alone paying attention too, but when I learned off-hand that what the focus was, I had to laugh, then I got pissed: The The Harvard Gazette says that Correa called his country’s economic condition an ‘ecuadorian miracle.’
That’s a freaking joke, and I’m sure John F. Kennedy Jr. is not laughing that this man, a staunch attacker of human rights, gave such a speech at, of all places, the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
While the ‘ecuadorian miracle’ has brought what Correa claims is a decrease in unemployment from 16.9 percent to 8.6 percent, given his penchant for jailing media voices who tell the truth, we have a right to question his claims. A recent report from the World Bank refers to the same 1 million that Correa said had been lifted from poverty, and writes:
“One and a half million Ecuadorians live in extreme poverty and cannot meet their nutritional requirements even if they spend everything they have on food. Poverty is higher in rural areas, where two out of three poor people live….Rural poverty is associated with lack of education, little access to land, a low degree of market integration, and lack of employment in the vibrant off-farm rural sector. Furthermore, poverty among the many indigenous people, who live predominantly in the rural highlands (Sierra) and the Amazon region, is much higher than for the nonindigenous population. This population group also shows alarming levels of malnutrition and child mortality and has much less education than the nonindigenous population. Urban poverty, which affects one and a half million people, is linked to a somewhat different set of variables that vary by region. For example, while basic service provision has reached the poor in the urban Sierra, many poor in the urban Costa are without a functioning water supply or sewage system. But the poor in various urban areas also have some characteristics in common. These are, again, low educational achievement, informal sector employment, rented — instead of owned — housing, and low rates of labor force participation by the spouse of the household head.”
The World Bank report goes on to communicate that 35 percent of Ecuadorians live in poverty, and that another 17 percent are “vulnerable” to poverty. Added up, that’s 52 percent of the country that’s in a poverty situation. Where’s the so-called ‘ecudorian miracle’?
If Ecuador’s doing so freaking well, I’d like President Correa to tell me why he backed and arguably helped American Lawyer Steven Donziger mastermind the fraudulent lawsuit against Chevron? Now, after a New York court battle that could not have come soon enough, Donziger’s finally called a racketeer – and by the looks of the case, Correa should wear the same moniker right along with him.
If Ecuador’s doing so freaking well, why did Correa lie to his people and claim that he was trying to preserve Amazon land against oil exploration, while allowing Chinese oil companies to do so?
And if you think that’s bad, check out this statement from his speech:
“Democracy has been firmly established in Ecuador. Not only democracy in the formal sense, but real democracy, in terms of people’s access to rights, equal opportunities, and dignified living conditions. This is the so-called ‘Ecuadorian Miracle.’ ”
Wow. The only ‘Ecuadorian Miracle’ is that the people of Ecuador don’t rise up and take this guy out of office. But then he’s so taken advantage of the uneducated of his population (and probably drugged them with the cocaine sold over there), that they don’t know their can be a better way.
They also don’t know that in a real democracy, they can say what the hell they want to and he can’t do anything about it. But that’s not Correa’s idea of democracy. His version allows him to say what he wants, and you to be jailed for disagreeing with him.
That he’s been able to amass that kind of power, and then fly around the World bragging lies, is the real ‘Ecuadorian Miracle’.
Now excuse me. Listening to Correa’s speech is worse than eating bad Menudo; I’m about to run to the bathroom because I’ve got to throw-up.