Rafael Correa

Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado (; born 6 April 1963) is an Ecuadorian politician and economist who has served as President of the Republic of Ecuador since 2007. The leader of the PAIS Alliance political movement, Correa is a democratic socialist and his administration has focused on the implementation of left-wing policies, poverty reduction, the release of political prisoners and combating the covert influence of the United States and multinational corporations in Ecuador. Internationally, he served as president pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations. Born to a lower middle-class mestizo family in Guayaquil, Correa studied economics at the Universidad Católica de Santiago de Guayaquil, the Université catholique de Louvain, and the University of Illinois, where he received his PhD. Returning to Ecuador, in 2005 he became the Minister for the Economy in President Alfredo Palacio’s government, successfully lobbying Congress for increased spending on health and education projects. Correa won the presidency in the 2006 general election on a platform criticizing the established political elites. Taking office in January 2007, he sought to move away from Ecuador’s neoliberal economic model by reducing the influence of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. He declared Ecuador’s national debt illegitimate and announced that the country would default on over $3 billion worth of bonds; he pledged to fight creditors in international courts and succeeded in reducing the price of outstanding bonds by more than 60%. With the additional state revenues this generated Correa’s government expanded social projects to alleviate poverty. Part of the wider Latin American pink tide, Correa was a key ally of Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela and brought Ecuador into the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas in June 2009. He oversaw the introduction of a new constitution, and was re-elected in 2009. Correa was re-elected in the 2013 general election. While his populist style has proved popular within Ecuador, Correa remains controversial internationally, especially within the United States government. Correa’s administration has succeeded in reducing the high levels of poverty and unemployment in Ecuador.

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