The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ecuador's Rafael Correa Salutes Fidel Castro

January 15, 2007

Elsa Claro and Jose M. Correa. Special Correspondents

QUITO, January 14.- Ecuadorian President-elect Rafael Correa met
Sunday with Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage and sent a greeting to
Cuban leader Fidel Castro wishing him a speedy recovery.


Lage also held talks Sunday with outgoing President Alfredo Palacio.

Correa, who takes office on Monday, spoke with Cuban journalists at
the end of his meeting with Lage. "Cuba and Latin America are one
single nation. The time has come to search for our common destiny."

He then sent a message of gratitude to the Cuban people for the help
provided to Ecuadorians through eye care and literacy programs.

Asked about the future of relations between the two countries, the
Ecuadorian leader spoke about Cuba's generic drug industry. "Here we
euphemistically speak about free healthcare while people die at
hospital doors because they don't have a few dollars. This is going
to end and one of the ways we hope to achieve this is by importing
high-quality generic low-cost medicine such as those produced by
Cuba." Correa also cited other successful Cuban experiences including
a series of initiatives implemented to save energy called the Energy

Shortly after his arrival to Quito, Lage told the Cuban media that
Correa's election is undoubtedly an expression of the changes
occurring in Latin America, "where the traditional party system is
practically dead in the water."

Lage added that new leaders such as Evo Morales, Hugo Chavez and
Daniel Ortega are bringing a totally different approach, "each with
his own particular reality, but without a doubt from a progressive
and leftist point of view that focuses on social issues with a
sincere and profound concern to resolve the needs of the people."

Breaking protocol, Lage walked through a main thoroughfare in Quito
and was surrounded by an enthusiastic crowd of friends of Cuba, who
presented him with flowers and fruits as tokens of gratitude, while
they held placards with slogans alluding to independence heroes Jose
Marti and Simon Bolivar.

"Relations with Ecuador are very good, excellent, of respect and
friendship, and I believe that with the new government these ties
should strengthen," the Cuban vice president told the press.

Carlos Lage heads the Cuban delegation to the swearing-in ceremony of
President Correa. The Cuban entourage also includes Yillian Jimenez
Exposito, vice foreign minister; Benigno Perez Fernandez, Cuba's
ambassador to Ecuador; and Roberto Yepe, an official from the Council
of Ministers.

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