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President of Ecuador Rafael Correa to Charlie Rose: “Our Economic Performance is One of the Best in the Region”

In candid interview, President Correa discusses US-Ecuador relations, Julian Assange, and the development of Latin America

NEW YORK (15 April 2014)– In a half-hour interview that aired nationally in the U.S. and across the globe, President of Ecuador Rafael Correa sat down with Charlie Rose on Friday to describe the country’s growing economy, the importance of creating just societies, the relationship between the United States and Latin America, and the decision to grant asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

During the interview, President Correa highlighted Ecuador’s commitment to eliminate poverty and increase social equality by implementing policies, institutions and programs that ensure the country’s wealthiest are no longer given unfair privileges. This included the success that the country has had in the areas of education, health systems and economic growth.

“Our economic performance is one of the best in the region,” said President Correa. “For instance, our unemployment rate is around 4%.”

He added that, “To eliminate poverty… is the moral imperative for our government. We are underdeveloped because we have historically been controlled by powerful elites. So we have to change this power relationship, and we are doing exactly that through a very democratic process.”

President Correa also expressed that although he believes that Ecuador and the United States have a good relationship, he “would like to improve these relations” by increasing understanding between the two sides.

“I think we have good relations, but it could be better,” he said. “[We could] know each other in a better way, to understand what is going on in Ecuador. To know a little bit more, not just Ecuador, the whole Latin America.”

“The foreign policy of the United States hasn’t taken into account Latin America and this is a mistake,” President Correa added. “Perhaps the biggest economies, but there are several other countries that are not much taken into account. And that is a situation that must change.”

President Correa also addressed Ecuador’s decision to grant asylum to Julian Assange, saying, “Perhaps I don’t agree with what Julian Assange did. But that is not the problem. The problem is not politics. The problem is justice. We examined for two months the request of asylum of Julian Assange, and we concluded that … there was not a guarantee of due process. For that reason we gave asylum to Julian Assange.”

Finally, President Correa also addressed Ecuador’s diverse and colorful media environment, and the important efforts to encourage free press independent of powerful interests.

“It’s a good thing to have public media, which is not controlled by the government. [Public media] has independence and can criticize the government,” he stated. “Private media criticizes the government everyday. Many of them are owned by the elite.”

In addition to the Charlie Rose interview, President Correa was also welcomed by many esteemed business, cultural, academic, media, and environmental figures during his visit to New York, who accepted invitations issued by the Embassy of Ecuador to the United States in the spirit of friendship in which they were offered. While there was no compensation for any attendees of any event involving the President, guests walked away with keen desires to visit and explore Ecuador’s beauty and opportunities further.

The full interview can be viewed at http://www.charlierose.com/watch/60375171