QUITO – Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, flanked by his Venezuelan and Bolivian counterparts, Hugo Chávez and Evo Morales, respectively, on Sunday commemorated the 187th anniversary of the Battle Pichincha, whereby Ecuador assured its independence, and said that he will take even more radical measures to implement his “citizen’s revolution.”
Correa also reiterated his commitment to Latin American integration.
During the speech he gave at the Templo de la Patria, a huge historical museum built on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano, which rises above Quito, Correa said that Ecuadorians were celebrating “two liberating births,” the first one of which threw off Spanish colonial domination in 1822 and the second of which occurred this past April 26.
The second “birth” he referred to were the general elections in which he was returned to office for another four-year term, a fact that, he said, shows the public’s support for his “citizen’s revolution.”
He said that the Ecuadorian people have opted for “profound, rapid and peaceful revolution,” and he promised to “radicalize and deepen” that revolution “now, not tomorrow.”
“We will radicalize the citizen’s revolution, continuing with the policy of openness to all countries of the world, within a framework of mutual respect, seeking Latin American integration, to continue building this Great Fatherland of which Jose Marti spoke,” Correa said.
He emphasized the visits of Chávez and Morales, the latter of which was unscheduled, to attend the independence day ceremonies, and he paraphrased Latin American liberator Simon Bolivar, saying that “the unity of our peoples is not simply a chimera of men, but the inexorable decree of destiny.”
He said he had been meeting since Saturday with Chávez and reviewing bilateral projects, and he emphasized the advances the two countries had made jointly in the energy sector, noting in particular the project to exchange Ecuadorian crude for Venezuelan petroleum derivatives, an effort he said had saved Quito $252 million over the past two years, as well as the petrochemical complex construction project in Manabi.
He and Chávez both criticized capitalism and insisted that the international financial crisis was the fault of neoliberalism.
It is expected that both Chávez and Morales will return to their countries later on Sunday.