“If the US had wanted to stop the putsch in Honduras it could have done so in 48 hours,” says Rafael Correa the President of Ecuador.
Correa has allied his country to the Bolivarian group of nations, which includes Venezuela and Bolivia.
Ecuador has therefore sided with those opposed to US policy in Latin America, while at the same time improving ties with Iran.
euronews spoke with President Rafael Correa.
euronews: “Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador, welcome to euronews. You have said that Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador, the Bolivarian bloc, should have organised themselves before any coup attempt in Honduras is that the case?”
Rafael Correa: “Well, we think the events that took place in Honduras are as a result of a new strategy…defeat at the ballot box means people resort to force again like in the coup d’etat of 40 years ago. Obviously it was not against a right wing government to ensure the status quo, but it attacked a progressive government led by Manuel Zelaya. That’s why we must be careful. I’m sure its not going to happen here because of our popular support and not because traditional pressure groups and powerful interest bodies are unwilling to do it. Still we must be cautious.
euronews: “Do you really think that the coup approach, which was a feature of Latin American politics for years, is still a risk?
Correa: Yes, we believe that part of the rise of these reactionary groups coincides with other worrying developments, for instance the reactivation of the fourth fleet and the creation of seven military bases in Colombia for the use by US forces.
euronews: Do you think the US endorsed the putsch in Honduras?
Correa: I can’t confirm things that I don’t know. What I can confirm is that if the US was willing to put an end to the putsch in Honduras it could have done it in 48 hours.
euronews: But President Obama has raised hope across the world, so what’s going on?
Correa: What’s going on? I appreciate president Obama a lot he looks like a very good person, very nice, very sensible and intelligent. I think he has very good intentions. But he heads a society an economy and a political apparatus that moves very slowly and is difficult to change direction.
euronews: Are you saying the president of the United States has no input into the decision to create seven military bases in Colombia?
Correa: Yes, probably.
euronews: “Do you think that is a difference between the Bush and Obama administrations?
Correa: Of course, very few things can be worse than Bush, but’s its not enough, it is not enough to change the person. I maintain that President Obama is skilled and intelligent with good intentions, but the US policy towards Latin America has not changed.
euronews: But the seven bases.
Correa: That’s the reason why
euronews: The seven bases were finalised under Obama, not Bush.
Correa: So it is and the Honduras situation took place under Obama. Under Bush there were no coup’s in Latin America.
euronews: So isn’t it a paradox? Bush looks to hold sensible policies for Latin America.
Correa: Its not a question of being sensible, but it is a matter of handling the apparatus. All the apparatus backed Bush alongside the pressure groups that control the United States.
This is not the case with Obama. There is a big resistance of racist groups and powerful economic bodies against Obama because they reject the idea of an American president with African origins.
euronews: The countries belonging to ALBA, the Bolivarian alliance of nations, have established excellent relations with Iran. Iran and the US are at loggerheads. Don’t you think this stance destabilises international relations in South America.
Correa: This is amazing. Colombia has has diplomatic relations with Iran for years. As soon as Ecuador establishes diplomatic ties with Iran we are destabilising the scenario. I don’t understand that. Ecuador doesn’t need authorisation to establish diplomatic relations with any country we wish, we are a sovereign state. It is not in our interest to break the balance of power in the region. We just want to do what’s best for our people. So Iran has a big market for our products and a rich scource of technological and financial support. And these double standards annoy me, because at least Iran is a democracy, despite allegations against it. The United States did not ask Latin America for authorisation to establish diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia that is not even a democracy. But nothing happens.”
euronews: But Iran is a threat to the world stability because it is said to be developing nuclear weapons. What is the Bolivarian stance on nuclear ambitions.
Correa: Well, according to this criteria aren’t your countries and the United States a threat? I don’t know why what’s good for some is bad for others. If you want my opinion, morally I would like an end to all nuclear weapons and an end to double standards.
euronews: So within this framework Iran has the right to develop nuclear weapons.
Correa: No I don’t think anybody has the right to build a nuclear bomb, but what really annoys me is this idea of good and evil.
euronews: But isn’t the fact they are developing an atomic weapon annoying you? is it possible to deal with Tehran?
Correa: First of all, they have not admitted they are building a bomb, secondly the same rule should apply to everyone. I don’t believe there are good and evil.
euronews: Did Ecuador receieve 55 million euros from Iran? is that the case?
Correa: I think we signed an agreement for a loan of close to 70 million euros. I don’t know if its been activated yet. They haven’t done it yet. They haven’t done it yet, but we will get it.”
euronews: What do you think about the strategy against terrorism, the FARC, adopted by Colombian President Uribe.
Correa: We have just re-established our relations. Europe isn’t well informed. As a FARC sanctuary was discovered on the Ecuador/Colombian border in the Amazon jungle, they think its justified to bomb us “well done,” that’s crazy.
Can we be considered to be a FARC accessory because their is a one FARC camp on the territory. So the biggest FARC accessory should be the Colombian President Uribe as in Colombia there are 200 FARC camps and he hasn’t succeeded, so far in defeating the FARC on his own territory. We think that a military solution to this conflict is far away. We will always be ready to mediate in the search for a solution to these kinds of conflicts.”
euronews: But is Uribe’s way the best approach against terrorism or not. is it right for the region.
Correa: I think that a 50-year civil war, against the FARC alongside the paramilitaries and the narcotraffic is not a good strategy. If it had been a good strategy the FARC would have been defeated.Look at how many billions have been spent on the struggle between brothers.