Rafael Correa has never lacked passion.
“Come on then, if you want to kill me, here I am”,
he challenged the crowds outside the hospital in Quito where he had been forced to take refuge.
And he will certainly need that passion now in the wake of what he calls “an attempted coup” by the opposition and security forces.
Correa came to power in January 2007. His three presidential predecessors had been removed from office amid anti-government protests.
He has made much of the fact that he is a man of the people – spending billions on social projects.
He has fought for control of Ecuador’s energy reserves, overseeing a new law in July which stipulates that the state owns all the oil and gas it produces, and the first 25 percent of gross income from sales.
But Correa’s critics say he is singing from the same hymn sheet as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, much so that they say he is at risk of becoming his puppet.
Correa says while Chavez is his friend, he himself is the one in charge of Ecuador.