Rafael Correa has been no stranger to controversy since becoming president of Ecuador in 2007. His latest tweet does nothing to stem the tide. Guillermo Cochez, an opposition leader, tweeted a video of former Ecuadorian President Osvaldo Hurtado calling Correa’s regime “fascist.” Correa responded.
Correa’s statement understandably has raised red flags across the world. This is another in a long line of incidents that has brought nothing but negative attention to Ecuador. Human Rights Watch, an international organization which seeks to defend human rights worldwide, had this to say about how Rafael Correa handles negative press in his country.
“After being re-elected to a third term in February 2013, President Rafael Correa promulgated a sweeping new Communications Law in June regulating broadcast and print media, which undercuts press freedom. The Correa government continues to subject members of the media to public recrimination. Prosecutors use overly broad counterterrorism and sabotage offences against government critics who engage in public protests. Other ongoing problems include vaguely worded restrictions affecting civil society organizations, and asylum application procedures that do not provide rigorous safeguards that international standards require.”
Press has not been the only issue that the regime is accused of manipulating. Thousands of university students protested a Correa education bill they deemed “authoritarian” in September of 2014. According to a report from the Latin American Herald, Gustavo Vega, head of the National Higher Education Council, did not mince words when it came down to what he thought of the policy.
“(The Bill) reduces, assaults and occupies the autonomy of universities and of the system.”
The president is facing tension on more than just the political front these days. Economically, Correa finds himself in a very difficult situation. A quarter of Ecuador’s export is tied to oil. In January, sharply lower oil prices caused the government to secure financing from China. If the oil prices continue to stagnate, the country could find themselves in a full economic crisis, according to the Center for a Secure Free Society.
Correa is in his last term as president, but he recently sought a referendum that would offer him the ability to seek another term. The National Electoral Council denied it. This will keep all eyes watching what will happen in 2017 when his current term ends.
Thursday is not the first time Rafael Correa has been in the news this week. On Wednesday, Correa was the subject of several jokes when a picture of him was published online with a child. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. However, in this case, only one word really mattered.