In a long interview with New Left Review, Rafael Correa speaks of his strategy for steering his country, particularly vulnerable because of the dollarisation of the economy, through the global financial crisis. He also talks about his success in not only reducing the burden of the foreign debt through a controversial public audit, but also in decreasing social inequality.
Correa promulgated a new constitution which, for the first time ever in the world, gave rights to nature. Despite this, Correa has been repeatedly criticised by environmental groups for doing far too little to protect the interests of indigenous groups and the country’s extraordinary biodiversity.
In a controversial section of the interview, Correa says: “It is madness to say no to natural resources, which is what part of the left is proposing – no to to oil, no to mining, no to hydroelectric power, no to roads. This is an infantile left, which can only legitimate the right …. We cannot lose sight of the fact that the main objective of a country such as Ecuador is to eliminate poverty. And for that we need our natural resources.”
But haven’t there been many disasters with oil and mining? “Of course that’s true. But it is one thing to say there have been bad singers, and another to say the song is bad.”
The full interview is accessible here.