Posted 12 years ago on Jan. 22, 2012, 1:32 p.m. EST by Denofearth
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I know this post, if not rapidly deleted, will bring a fire storm of objections from those who lean to the right, but here is a man whom I feel embodies what we need here in America. Do the research yourself. Personally my friends, family, and I are already in the process of relocating to Ecuador to enjoy the quality of life denied us here. 30 September 2010 Last updated at 18:19 ET Share this page
Profile: Ecuador's Rafael Correa Ecuador President Rafael Correa Rafael Correa has pushed through major constitutional reforms Continue reading the main story Related Stories
Ecuador gripped by 'coup attempt'
Ecuador country profile
Rafael Correa has been president of Ecuador since January 2007 - no mean feat when the previous three occupants of the post were removed from office amid anti-government protests.
His re-election in April 2009 also made history, being the first time in 30 years that a presidential election had not gone to a run-off second round.
But after being attacked with tear gas at a protest in the capital, Quito - part of what he called "an attempted coup" by opposition and security forces - the president now faces the greatest challenge so far to his authority.
Mr Correa, 47, came to power making much of the fact that he was not a traditional politician, and while in office he has sought to overhaul Ecuador's political structure and boost social spending.
He has also defaulted on foreign loans and clashed with Washington on several issues. Social reformer
Mr Correa is regarded as the strongest leader in decades to be at Ecuador's helm, but the global economic crisis has brought a series of problems and challenges for the country.
Ecuador, an Opec member, is heavily dependent on oil exports and on remittances from the hundreds of thousands of Ecuadoreans who work abroad, mainly in Spain and the US.
Mr Correa briefly served as finance minister in 2005. But during his campaign for the presidency in 2006 he presented himself as a fresh face on Ecuador's political scene. Continue reading the main story NEW CONSTITUTION:
Tightens controls of vital industries and reduces monopolies
Declared some foreign loans illegitimate
Allows idle farm land to be expropriated for redistribution
Allows the president to stand for a second four-year term in office
Provides free health care for older citizens Allows civil marriage for gay partners
He promised constitutional reform - promises that were fulfilled in September 2008 when some 65% of Ecuadoreans voted in a referendum to approve a new constitution that set out some sweeping changes.
Mr Correa, a US-trained economist, has spent billions of dollars on social projects.
He also announced in December 2008 that Ecuador was officially defaulting on billions of dollars of foreign debt that it considered "illegitimate".
President Correa has also been pushing for new contracts with foreign oil companies operating in Ecuador. Ecuador President Rafael Correa runs away after tear gas attack The tear gas attack was part of an 'attempted coup'
In July, a new law came into force stating that Ecuadorean state will own 100% of the oil and gas produced and that the first 25% of gross income from oil sales must go to the state.
Mr Correa had earlier threatened to take over foreign oil concessions if companies resisted his measures. Critics said the new law may deter investors.
Other high-profile decisions Mr Correa has taken include his refusal to renew the lease on airbases used by US forces to mount anti-narcotics missions.
In February 2009, Ecuador expelled two US diplomats, accusing them of meddling in the country's internal affairs - charges Washington rejected.
Another test of his presidency took place in 2008, when Colombian troops carried out an unauthorised raid of a Farc rebel base in Ecuador.
Mr Correa broke off diplomatic ties with Bogota, but he was later forced to deny allegations that he received election funds from Farc in 2006. 'I'm in charge' Continue reading the main story “Start Quote
Chavez is my personal friend, but in my house my friends aren't in charge, I am”
Rafael Correa President of Ecuador
Mr Correa's opponents have accused him of seeking to override Ecuador's democratic institutions and amass too much power for himself, pointing to the provision in the new constitution that allows the president to stand for two consecutive four-year terms.
They have also sought to portray him as a puppet of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. But Mr Correa has repeatedly insisted he is his own man.
"Chavez is my personal friend, but in my house, my friends aren't in charge, I am. And in Ecuador, it will be Ecuadoreans in charge," he said during his campaign for the presidency.
Mr Correa has described the media as his "greatest enemy" and a major obstacle to implementing reforms, often using his weekly radio and TV shows as a platform to attack them.
In December 2009, his attempts to introduce a new media watchdog were opposed by people across the political spectrum. Critics renamed the bill "Ley Mordaza" or the Gag Law.
Mr Correa was born in 1963 in the city of Guayaquil.
He studied economics in that city's Catholic University and then went on to get two masters degrees - one in the US and the other in Belgium - and, in 2001, a PhD.
The father of three speaks fluent English and French and can also speak the indigenous Quechua language, which he learnt while doing voluntary work.
Mr Correa describes himself as "left-wing - not from the Marxist left, but rather a Christian left".