The U.S. government has sharply criticized Ecuador’s government for its hostility toward foreign investment and the rule of law. Recently, President Rafael Correa announced he would try to organize Unasur — the Union of South American Nations — in opposition against multinational companies. His comments came during yet another attack against Chevron, part of his long alliance with U.S. trial lawyers and activists against the U.S. based companies.
Correa is in Illinois today, receiving an honor from his alma mater, the University of Illinois. As the University website states:
ECUADORIAN PRESIDENT, RAFAEL CORREA, AMONG 2009 INTERNATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS HONOREES AT ILLINOIS
Rafael Correa Delgado, the current President of the Republic of Ecuador, has been awarded the 2009 Madhuri and Jagdish Sheth International Alumni Award for Exceptional Achievement by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of five award winners to be honored at the International Achievement Awards banquet to be held April 8, 2010 at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center.
Exceptional achievement? Well, foreign investors might take exception.
In any case, it’s interesting to us that the U.S. media do not seem all that interested in Correa’s appearance in Illinois. It’s a big deal, obviously, to the Latin American press.
BTW, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs Arturo Valenzuela met with Correa
on Monday Tuesday in Quito. The Ecuadorian business journal, El Comercio, had a big story. What we took away from it.
- The meeting lasted about 35 minutes.
- They spent a lot of time talking about Ecuador’s relations with Iran.
- Correa: “Ecuador’s inclined to maintain friendly relations with all the countries of the world. If that implies selling more banana trees to Iran, all the better.”
- Ecuador asks the U.S. for multi-year extension of Andean trade preferences.
- Correa touted Ecuador’s leadership in the fight against drugs.
- Valenzuela stressed the importance of the freedom of the press. Correa responds that media are a mechanism of political opponents “who lost the elections” and are “trying to destabilize the government.”
- As head of Unasor, Correa would like to have a meeting with Obama. While there are differences, there’s no major antagonism, he said.
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