MONTEVIDEO – Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa told EFE on Friday that the president of the United States had set new marks for stupidity and that Brazil’s current head of state exemplified the act of political betrayal.
In an exclusive interview with EFE in Montevideo, Correa said that someone comparable to Donald Trump did not readily come to mind but that regrettably the former reality TV star was president “of the most powerful (nation) in the history of humanity.”
Referring to Brazilian President Michel Temer, Correa, who governed from 2007 until May of this year, said “betrayal will get a name change” and “be known from now on as Temer.”
“What a guy! In power just two years and look how he condemns his future generations to shame. What a blatant betrayal!” Correa said of the politician who took office last year when Dilma Rousseff, who was eventually ousted via impeachment for allegedly violating budget laws, was suspended by the Senate.
Temer, who had been Rousseff’s vice president but subsequently turned on her, supported the impeachment process and has launched an unpopular austerity drive as president, will serve out the rest of her term through the end of 2018.
With respect to Trump, Correa said three of his policies were particularly noteworthy for their foolishness: his proposal for a wall spanning the entire US-Mexico border, his move last week to partially reverse predecessor Barack Obama’s diplomatic thaw with Cuba and his decision early this month to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord.
“As if you could stop immigration with a wall! You halt immigration with prosperity, with peace, etc. But he wants to build a wall and to have the Mexicans pay for it. So arrogant!” Correa said.
Regarding US relations with Cuba, Ecuador’s former head of state said Trump had “rolled back all the gains that had been made” even though the decades-old embargo on the Communist-ruled island “is unacceptable at the level of international law.”
Correa, who recalled that the progressive governments that came to power in Latin America at the start of the 21st century were a “reaction to ... then-President George W. Bush,” predicted that Trump’s policies would provide a similar boost to the left in Latin America.
“And Bush was a veritable intellectual compared to Trump,” he said.
The driving force behind Ecuador’s “Citizens’ Revolution” said right-wing media monopolies in the region were having success in convincing people to vote against their own interests and in favor of the elites.
“We saw an example in Brazil, where the coup against Dilma Rousseff was a media coup,” Correa said.
He said in that regard that Temer’s administration was being propped up only by powerful economic groups and the media and that he has no popular support.
Temer’s government “is already a total failure ... let’s see what happens in the next elections,” Correa said, adding that the October 2018 balloting represents a great opportunity for a progressive government to return to power in Latin America’s largest country.
Reflecting on the region’s political map as a whole, he said the region had regressed somewhat compared to 2009, when eight of the 10 South American countries had left-wing governments.
But compared to 1998, “when neoliberalism was totally dominant,” he said the situation had markedly improved.
In that respect, Correa hailed as a key turning point the narrow victory of his former vice president, Lenin Moreno, in Ecuador’s presidential election in April, comparing that balloting with the Battle of Stalingrad, “which changed the course of the Second World War.”
“We don’t consider ourselves any kind of example, but I hope the Ecuadorian experience can (benefit) other processes,” the ex-president said.