In his first speech since return from an official trip to Europe, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa gave a rousing and defiant speech Monday from the balcony of the presidential palace in Quito to a crowd of thousands in which he heavily criticized recent protests by the political opposition.
Correa accused the opposition of spreading misinformation about two new bills submitted by the executive to the National Assembly, one that updates the country's inheritance taxes and another that targets illegitimate capital gains.
The opposition has attempted to claim that these measures will negatively impact the poor, to which Correa responded by saying, “Show me how this law affects the poor and I will personally ask for it to be withdrawn.”
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The Ecuadorean president also said that that one of the aims of his government is the redistribution of wealth.
“All excessive accumulation of wealth is unjust, is immoral,” declared Correa to raucous applause from the crowd, adding that he believed that “poverty is the result of injustice.”
President Correa has warned that the true intent of the opposition is to destabilize his government in order to mount a military coup. “There are members of the opposition who want to achieve through force, what they could not achieve at the ballot box,” stated Correa.
Correa called on Ecuadoreans to remain vigilant. The threat of a coup is a very real danger, the opposition in Ecuador has employed this strategy before, in a failed coup attempt on September 30, 2010.
“We cannot forget that the violent ones the aggressive ones the abusive ones, caused 5 deaths on September 30, 2010, we cannot let that happen again,” said Correa.
Correa challenged the opposition to use the Constitution to remove him from power if that is their goal. Article 105 of the 2008 Ecuadorean Constitution provides a mechanism for the recall of the president after one year in the current term. To hold a recall referendum, opposition figures must collect signatures from 15 percent of the electorate.
Correa stated defiantly that he would be victorious recall referendum.
The Ecuadorean president called on supporters to mobilize against the right-wing opposition, saying, “With peace, with joy, with conviction, we must all go defend the revolution in every corner of the homeland.”