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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Correa: Latin American integration in opposition to neoliberal globalisation is both inescapable and necessary

A conversation with Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador (I)
Heinz Dieterich
Rebellion, September 19, 2007.
A new web page,, has been set up in support of the process of change taking place in Ecuador and Latin America

1. Integration, Latin American currency and Mercosur

H.D.: You have said on many occasions that Latin American integration is fundamental in order to move forward. What importance has?

R.C.: It is fundamental. We have a common destiny and we must look to our common future. Integration in the 21st Century, in order to increase productivity in the smaller countries of Latin America, is a necessity for survival. We do not want this cruel, neoliberal, globalisation, that will crush us. Only united can we confront it and take our place on the world-stage. In the same way, I believe that integration is inescapable and necessary, fundamental; but, I repeat, not the neoliberal integration that wants to turn us into one big market, but an integration in the spirit of Bolivar and the vision that we, the present Presidents of the region, have. An integration that turns us into a great nation, into Latin American
citizens, not into simply Latin American consumers.

H.D: Speaking as an economist, would
you say that a repetition of the Asian miracle of South Korea and Taiwan is impossible in Latin America?

R.C.: It can have isolated cases of success, but it would be much easier if we all worked together. A small example is to take a leaf from book of the European Union. That is to say, not only an economic and commercial union, but a political and even monetary one. In the 21st Century, with capitalist globalisation, the currencies of countries small and open economies will find it hard to survive. Therefore, we must look to build better and stronger monetary blocs Latin America.

H.D.: You have also spoken in favor of a Latin American currency.

R.C.: And I continue to do so. I believe that that is also inescapable and we must move rapidly towards a regional currency.

H.D.: In what time frame?

R.C.: We would hope
that as rapidly as possible, within a term of ten years, the integration of Latin America will have been consolidated, mainly in South America, and that we have a regional currency. Certainly, Ecuador has an individual interest in this, from the barbarism committed here in the elimination of the national currency and the imposition of the dollar. We are a country that does not have a national currency, but rather has a foreign currency.

H.D.: Why doesn't the Bank of the South advance more quickly?

R.C.: I believe that there is an integrationist will amongst the leaders, across all of South America, but at different speeds. Therefore, many of the rate will depend on the characteristics of each country. Brazil institutionally is a quite complicated country, each decision demanding more time to make. There are other countries that we want to move faster, like Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, among others. But the Bank of the South will be a reality in the next few weeks. What we have decided in those countries that want to accelerate the rate of integration is that we advance now, and others will later follow us and will be welcome, but we cannot move at the rate of slowest.

H.D.: Ecuador, it seems to me, is not going to ask for total entrance into Mercosur.

R.C.: No. We are not going to join as a member state. We are very comfortable in the present situation, where we enjoy some of the benefits of Mercosur which we have still not totally made use of. But we will continue being
plenary members of the CAN and associate members of Mercosur. Now, the objective is, and this is known by the Presidents of the region, that there is already a process of convergence between the CAN and the Mercosur. The new universe of integration is all of South America, no longer just the Andean region or the Southern Cone.

2. Relations with the Indigenous Movement

H.D.: It seems that the large indigenous organisations are in a deep crisis.

R.C.: The crisis began with an historical error that they committed when supporting Lucio Gutiérrez. Not only did it erode their support and delegitimise them - because how can you support a fraud like ex-Colonel and ex-President Lucio Gutiérrez? - but that is a little novelty of the left groups in general, that they have
always had a certain attraction to uniforms. There he was, a left colonel who led a coup d'etat and they all enthusiastically supported him, when it was obvious that he was a fraud and an incompetent one at that.

In any case that held the indigenous movement Pachacutic back a lot. Not only that. Later, Lucio worked systematically to divide them, to make clients of them. The Ministry of Social Services served only to provide picks, shovels and to strike the hardest blow against the indigenous movement, from which it has still not been able to recover. Added to this they continued committing errors like, for example, the imposition of a strong indigenist line at the level of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, CONAIE and Pachacutic [its political arm, H.D.], where they believed that only the indigenous can save the indigenous and nobody else can help them. For that reason it was not possible to make an alliance between Alianza Pais [the movement of the President, H.D.] and Pachacutic. They wanted to put forward indigenous presidential candidates and we do not have any problem with this. As long as the polls say that we have possibility of winning. But the polls all said the opposite, and they did not want to submit themselves to polls or new polls and no agreement could be reached.

H.D.: Do you see the possibility of those organizations recovering or is
that going to take a long time?

R.C.: We are supportive of every measure to help them recover, and we think at least that the CONAIE will recover. Pachacutic I view very negatively, because they share the practices of the traditional parties, have lacked leadership, and have lacked ideological consistency, and I fear that it is going to be very difficult for it to recover any time soon.

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