Ecuador's Correa Aims For "Citizens Revolution" In 2nd Term

Quito - Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who took office on Monday for his second term, faces the challenges of strengthening the "citizens revolution" and addressing the ongoing international financial crisis.

Correa was the first Ecuadorian president re-elected in the past 30 years after serving two years and eight months in office since he lunched what he called a "new socialism" in 2007.

His first four-year term was to end in 2011, but after winning a constitutional reform earlier this year he gained re-election until 2013.

With his "citizens revolution," Correa plans to strengthen his economic and social policies aimed at achieving social inclusion and equality in the country.

Correa has announced he will strengthen the state's macroeconomic function so as to guarantee the social welfare and defend the country's sovereignty in all aspects.

His new administration vowed to improve the life of the most needed by "creating economic process to confront an economic model that monopolizes the wealth in hands of few."

During his first term, Correa reinforced the state, changed the Constitution and improved the living conditions of the poor by giving them subsidies.

Although the poor in Ecuador see Correa's policies an opportunity to improve their lives, the entrepreneurs do not agree with them as they said his anti-neo-liberalism vision scares away foreign investment in the country.

Correa had forged distant but cordial ties with the United States despite his refusal to renew a lease with Washington to use the Manta military base.

He won re-election amid a Colombian accusation linking him with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) by receiving "U.S. dollar support" from the Colombian largest rebel group during his presidential campaign in 2006.

Ecuador severed diplomatic ties with Colombia in 2008 after the Colombian army crossed the border to crack down on the FARC rebels. However he had close ties with the Venezuelan and Bolivian governments.

During his new term Correa has to decide if he will stop the payments of Ecuador's external debt or if he will re-negotiate the credits that multilateral organizations have given the country in the past.

Correa promised not to tolerate foreign companies and local private economic groups, including media, banks and entrepreneurs, who have "abused" the country.

Ecuador has a credit of some 2.5 billion dollars from different regional multilateral organizations. The crisis could prompt Correa to default on part of its debts because of falling oil revenues and remittances sent by the Ecuadorian migrants.

On Monday, Correa also received the rotating presidency of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) from Chilean president Michelle Bachelet.

The 12 member countries of Unasur agreed to strengthen regional integration.



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