May 24, Quito.
Flanked respectively by his Venezuelan and Bolivian counterparts, Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales, Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa today commemorated the 187th anniversary of the Battle of Pichincha, which sealed the independence of Ecuador, and declared that he will radicalize his "Citizen Revolution."
Correa also confirmed his commitment to Latin American integration and his Bolivarian political posture.
In a speech given at The Temple of the Nation, a great historical museum constructed on the side of the Pichincha Volcano, at the foot of which Quito rises up, Correa said that today Ecuadorians are celebrating "two liberating births."
The first of them, he specified, is because on the side of that mountain, on May 24, 1822, occurred the Battle of Pichincha, the military action that put an end to Spanish colonial domination of South America.
In that place the Ecuadorian head of state evoked the names of the Liberator Simon Bolivar and Marshal Antonio Jose de Sucre, who commanded the army at the heroic battle of Pichincha.
"We cannot say the word liberty without mentioning Bolivar," maintained Correa, and he reproached politicians opposed to his government, who try to discredit the historic importance of the Liberator.
The second "liberating birth," said Correa, took place last April 26 in the general elections, in which he was re-elected for a second term of four years, which, he says, indicates that the people support his "Citizen Revolution."
The people chose "this profound, rapid, and peaceful revolution," added the chief executive, who promised to "radicalize and deepen" his "Citizen Revolution," while maintaining that "the revolution is now, not tomorrow."
"We intensify the Citizen Revolution, continuing with the policy of openness with all the countries of the world, in a context of mutual respect, seeking Latin American integration, in order to continue constructing one great Latin America, about which Jose Marti spoke," observed Correa.
He highlighted the visits of Chavez and Morales to the Independence ceremony, the latter not anticipated, and paraphrased Bolivar: "The unity of our peoples is no mere chimera of men, but the inexorable decree of destiny."
In addition, the Ecuadorian leader reminded listeners that he had met with Chavez since yesterday in the Fifth Ecuador-Venezuela Presidential Meeting, in which both chief executives inspected bilateral projects and highlighted the advances registered in energy and oil matters.
Correa mentioned an agreement to exchange Ecuadorian crude oil for Venezuelan oil products, which have saved his country $252 million in two years, as well as advances in plans for constructing a petrochemical complex in the coastal province of Manabi (west).
Likewise, he pointed out the start of gas exploration in the Gulf of Guayaquil, specifically on the Island of Puna, but he criticized the fact that opponents broke into those installations yesterday while he was meeting with Chavez, in order to cast a shadow over the project.
Correa and Chavez have insisted on getting their South American partners to finance the Bank of the South and the Unified System of Regional Compensation (Sucre), as mechanisms to strengthen regional integration.
Chavez recalled that the Bank of the South and Sucre are two of the instruments that various Latin American countries have tried in order to create a common economic area.
Last night neither Correa nor Chavez let pass the opportunity to criticize capitalism and evoke the "socialism of the 21st Century" that both preach, and they insisted that the international financial crisis is the fault of neo-liberalism.
"The world is not going to be the same after this crisis," in which "the neo-liberal paradigm was pulverized," noted Chavez, although he said that he still sees the world collapse of capitalism as far off.
On the other hand, Correa repeated that his government "is and will be of the indigenous peoples," the poorest strata of Ecuadorian society, although he said that his administration will direct itself towards all social sectors, above all in favor of the most needy.
After the ceremony, Correa, Chavez, and Morales moved to the presidential palace of Carondelet and planned for the two guests to return to their countries in the next few hours.
(Source: "Correa, junto a Chavez y Morales, asegura que radicalizara su revolucion," www.univision.com, 24 de mayo de 2009)