We have written before about Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who seems determined to seize the mantle of Latin American Lefty Authoritarian of the Decade from Hugo Chavez’s dead body. However, lost in the news of recent weeks focused on various scandals and transgressions perpetrated by the executive branch of the US federal government under the control of President Obama, was some rather worrisome information showing Correa firming up alliances with some of the worst actors on the international stage. Specifically, I’m talking about Cuba, Iran and Syria.
Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro sent Rafael Correa a message congratulating him for his re-election as Ecuadorian President. In his message, which was aired by Cuban television, Fidel Castro highlights Correa’s speech and his great moral and political authority…
Iran and Syria:
Correa, who began his third term as president on Friday, reaffirmed Ecuador’s alliance with Iran.
“We would ratify it a thousand times over,” Correa said of the alliance during his inaugural address, according to a translation of the speech.
Iran’s vice president for international affairs, who attended the inauguration in an official capacity, said the two countries “have elite people and revolutionary governments and we are happy that the ‘Citizens’ Revolution’ — the slogan of Ecuador’s president — can live on,” according to a reportfrom Iranian state-owned media.
Correa also expressed support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which also sent an envoy — its former ambassador to Venezuela — to Correa’s inauguration, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency.
“What Syria encounters is a conspiracy, not demands for democracy,” Correa said of international condemnations of Syrian war crimes.
Correa has also been claiming that the Falkland Islands, British territory that Argentina wishes to control, are in fact Argentine (for the uninitiated, the Argentinians call the Falklands the “Malvinas”). Argentina, like Ecuador, also appears to have been strengthening ties with… Iran.
Ecuador, unsurprisingly, has a bad human rights record and is routinely criticized for a lack of judicial independence, maltreatment of indigenous persons, and continual efforts at censorship and bullying of the media, including through the leveling of criminal libel charges against reporters who are critical of the Correa government.
Perhaps in between perusing phone records of American citizens, President Obama could find the time to look southward about the brewing trouble?