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  • Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa (L) attends a special conference on social justice at the Vatican, April 15, 2016.

    Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa (L) attends a special conference on social justice at the Vatican, April 15, 2016. | Photo: Presidencia Ecuador via Flickr

Empowering people over capital is “the great challenge of the century,” said Ecuador's President Correa at a special conference at the Vatican.

Ecudorean President Rafael Correa participated in a special conference at the Vatican Friday, where he spoke to Catholic leaders, politicians and academics about the growing problem of capitalism and global inequality. 

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In his speech titled Changes in the Global Political Situation Since 1991, Correa said the ongoing struggle against capitalism and neoliberal policies – which favors free market economics, generally at the expense of social institutions – is particularly pertinent today.    

“We live in a world that is now the empire of capital, and the great challenge of the century is to achieve the supremacy of people over capital,” said the Latin American president.

“Western democracies should be called mercantile democracies,” he added after condemning neoliberalism and the concentration of the media in the hands of a few private companies. 

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Correa also warned that Latin America is suffering from an invasion of foreign non-governmental organizations, which is “dangerous for democracy.”  

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“Many of them are not spontaneous, they’re not non-government organizations but organizations from other governments, and powers that want to impose a political agenda with no political responsibility, with no democratic legitimacy and that is really dangerous for democracy,” he said.  

He then warned people to be careful with this aspect of civil society. According to Correa, non-governmental organizations and institutions enrich discussion and decision-making, but the final decisions should be made by “politicians with democratic legitimacy and political responsibility.”

Correa then affirmed that they aim at discrediting the political power, which is necessary to change unfair structures like those existing in Latin America.

Bolivian president Evo Morales, US democrat candidate Bernie Sanders, economist Jeffrey Sachs, Honduran cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiafa and Javier Iñíguiz Echeverría, scholar at the Catholic University of Peru, were also invited to the conferences at the Vatican this week, which had a focus on social justice. 

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