Rafael Correa to teleSUR: 'We're Heading to Economic Disaster'

“I hope I am wrong, but this administration is leading the country to another crisis,” stated the former president.

In an exclusive interview for teleSUR, Ecuador's former President Rafael Correa shared his views about the current administration one year after his successor and Lenin Moreno took office, denouncing the “betrayal” of his political successor.

RELATED: 'Self-Sabotage:' Ecuador Embraces Neoliberal Reform and US Interests

Correa recalled that only a few weeks after the administration started, he acknowledged the political rupture: “They made a pact that they never mentioned to the party Alianza Pais, not even to the board, to Ecuador, for instance, the pact with the Social-Christian party, and gave the banks, the media, and everyone their share (of demands).”

But the former head of state said he later took the real measure of the “betrayal,” when members of Alianza Pais were probed on corruption charges, governing and using “political power to favor private interests” while “taking away subsidies for the poorest.” “This is the real corruption,” he added.

As for the economic policies, Correa said they were “a disaster.”

“Despite the drop of oil prices, despite losing trials in international courts, despite the devastating earthquake, we managed to recover the economy without increasing poverty and inequality in a record time.”

Quoting a recent report issued by the International Monetary Fund, Correa said the economic growth was positive with 3 percent by the end of 2013, denying Moreno's allegations that the national economy was going through a deep crisis when he took office.

However, at the beginning of 2018, the country started a recession despite the increase in oil prices. “I hope I am wrong, but this administration is leading the country to another crisis.”

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Paraguay: Prison Requested For Former President Fernando Lugo

A bishop associated with liberation theology, Fernando Lugo was impeached in 2012 in what many at the time called a 'constitutional coup.'

Lawyers for former Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte Frutos and current President Horacio Cartes have presented a legal case against Senator and former President Fernando Lugo, requesting a prison sentence for 'unconstitutional behavior.'

RELATED: Paraguay: Conservative Benitez is New President

Lawyer Rogelio Benitez said: "Ten years await Lugo for having attempted to act against the constitutional organs of the Republic. Lugo is a citizen who believes himself to have superpowers, beyond the constitution."

Duarte Frutos and Cartes, two leading figures of the ruling conservative Colorado Party, are accusing the leader of the progressive Guasu Front of ignoring the votes of Colorado Party candidates.

The legal complaint claims that Lugo, as president of Congress, "assumed functions that don't correspond to him, bypassing constitutional dispositions, practically bypassing the Supreme Court and Electoral justice and all overseeing laws."

The Guasu Front responded to the accusations by saying the "Colorado Party seeks to violate the institution's integrity" and vowing that it "will not cease against the pressures of political groups... who use and abuse state structures with impunity."

The Guasu Front reiterated its "full support to comrade Senator Fernando Lugo that has kept firm in his position of not transgressing in any way in his position with regards to the dictates of the National Constitution."

The Guasu Front also reiterated its commitment to "clean the judicial structure of the country."

Fernando Lugo was a Catholic Bishop associated with liberation theology who assumed presidency of the Guasu Front in 2008, ousting the ruling Colorado Party.

In 2012, he was impeached in what many called a 'constitutional coup.' The coup was condemned by progressive leaders, including Argentina's Cristina Fernandez, Ecuador's Rafael Correa and Brazil's Dilma Rousseff.

Lugo was later elected to the Senate in 2013.

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Rivadeneira: Justice is Being Manipulated Against Rafael Correa

“An enormous challenge has arrived; the manipulation of the justice system with the payment of political favors is evident," Rivadeneira said.

Leader of the Citizens' Revolution movement, and former leader of the National Assembly of Ecuador, Gabriela Rivadeneira, has said that the justice system is being manipulated to wage a political war against former President Rafael Correa and the movement he led.

RELATED: Ecuador Suspends New Ambassador Trip to Venezuela

“The hardest hit is the effort to diminish, de-legitimize, not only the leader of the Citizens' Revolution, but an entire project that began from below, that had strength for ten years, that had made itself one of the biggest political forces of our day. This is what they want to end through judicial processes because they can't arrive to power through the popular vote,” Rivadeneira said in an interview with teleSUR's Enclave Politica.

Rivadeneira, a key Correa ally, said that the current government has reversed the gains of the Correa administration.

“It's been thirteen months since the government changed, and in thirteen months we have seen a backstep in national policy in economic terms, social terms, and sovereignty,” she said. “The economic elite of Ecuador have taken the public debate once again, through control of media corporations, and of the mouthpieces for the current government.”

“An enormous challenge has arrived; the manipulation of the justice system with the payment of political favors is evident.”

She also affirmed that Ecuador already has one political prisoner, Jorge Glas, regarding whom they “still have not presented a single bit of evidence that would demonstrate that he was indeed implicated in the crimes they claim.”

Ecuadorean lawyer Eduardo Franco Loor was invited to the discussion, where he pointed out that “there is no part of the conviction that determines that Rafael Correa was a participant, author, or accomplice (to said crime).”

“Rafael Correa has every right to request international protection... as a citizen that is being politically persecuted by his government.”

Ecuador's chief prosecutor requested a preventive detention of Correa for supposed involvement in a kidnapping, charges which he vehemently denies and says there is no evidence for.

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Brazil's Lula: 'Provide Evidence Or I'm Running For President'

"These are people who would be capable of accusing their own mothers to obtain benefits," the former president of Brazil writes of his accusers.

Former President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, sentenced to over 12 years in prison for alleged corruption, requested the Workers' Party (PT) to release a letter affirming his pre-candidacy for the presidency, and challenging his accusers to present evidence against him.

RELATED: Brazil's Police Has Corruption Evidence Against President Temer

"I have not committed any crime. I repeat: I have not committed any crime. For this reason, until they present at least one piece of material evidence that throws into question my innocence, I am a candidate for the presidency of the Republic," the letter reads.

The letter asks that his political adversaries present said evidence before August 15, when he will be registered formally as a candidate before the Electoral Justice.

"I am not asking for a favor, I am demanding respect. During my whole life, and I am 72, I believed and preached that sooner or later justice would always prevail for people who are victims of irresponsibility of false accusations," it continues.

"I am beginning to have dramatic and cruel doubts over continuing to believe that justice can be served and refusing to participate in a farce."

According to PT President Gleisi Hoffmann, who has read the letter, the PT hopes to avoid speculation that an alternative candidate could arise.

Lula emphasized that no evidence exists against him, and that the entire case is a massive lie initiated by a false report by the media outlet O Globo, which claimed he had engaged in money laundering and corruption.

"O Globo newspaper published a lie that attributed the ownership of an apartment in Guaruja to me. The Federal Police reproduced this lie and started an investigation," Lula writes.

"The Public Prosecutors, receiving this same lie, made an accusation and, finally, always on the basis of this lie which was never proven, Judge Moro condemned me.

"The 4th Regional Federal Court, following the same script that began with a lie, confirmed the conviction. All of this leads me to think that there is no reason to believe that there will be justice. 

"These are people who would be capable of accusing their own mothers to obtain benefits."

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Bolivia's Evo Morales: 'The US Is An Interventionist State'

"The United States is the worst threat for world peace, human rights and Mother Earth," Bolivia's President Evo Morales said.

In response to the United States' withdrawal from the United Nations' human rights body, Bolivian President Evo Morales said the decision only confirms the United States is an "interventionist state."

RELATED: Bolivia's Morales, China's Xi Sign 'Strategic Partnership'

"By pulling out of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United States confirms that it is an interventionist, coup-mongering state, and a violator of the people's right to life, especially of the poorest," Morales posted on Twitter. "It is an accomplice of Israel, that massacres civilians, and today incarcerates innocent children that cross its border."

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Tuesday that the United States will be withdrawing from the UNHCR, describing the organization as "hypocritical."

Other members of the council – including China, Russia and the United Kingdom – unanimously condemned the decision.

Morales also took to Twitter to condemn increasing U.S. unilateralism on the international stage: "The United States' abandonment of the Paris Accord, the Iran Nuclear Deal, the negotiation for a Global Pact on Migration, the Human Rights Council and the imposition of its embassy in Jerusalem confirms that the United States is the worst threat for world peace, human rights, and Mother Earth," Morales said.

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Brazil: Rapper Mano Brown Says Lula Is 'Only Solution'

Mano Brown, co-founder of Racionais MCs, says "social advances will continue" if Lula is reelected president.

Mano Brown, co-founder of the legendary underground Brazilian hip-hop collective Racionais MCs, has told Estadao newspaper that Brazil's only hope for a brighter future “is if Lula is elected president. That way, social advances will continue.”

RELATED: Brazil: Rapper Mano Brown Laments Right-Wing Turn in Fans

If Lula is not reelected for a third term in office, Brown predicts that the country will “turn into Mad Max. I witnessed the transformation of people during Lula's government.”

Brown went on to say that he's worried about the lost of rights achieved during the Workers' Party governments, which spanned Lula and Dilma Rousseff's presidencies encompassing over 13 years.

He also affirmed that in recent years the country has experienced a wave of low self-esteem and lack of hope. “Now, more than ever, people need to recoup their faith.”

Brown also weighed in on media outlets and politicians attempting to erase the enormous contribution in the struggle against racism and in favor of social inequality undertaken by the Workers' Party, according to Viomundo.

Earlier this year Brown stated "the mentality of periphery neighborhoods has changed...It's impossible to disassociate Racionais MCs from politics and where the country politically is now? The periphery has turned to the right. Rap has turned to the conservative right...The type of rap music produced back in the day has become moralistic religious rap, which doesn't tap into the revolution that needs to happen now."

Brown – along with fellow rappers Ice Blue, Edi Rock and DJ KL Jay – formed the Racionais MCs in 1988. The collective, all of whom hailed from Capao Redondo, a periphery neighborhood on Sao Paulo's south side, referred to themselves as "the four most dangerous Black men in Brazil."


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MERCOSUR will Discuss Cultural Agenda in Paraguay

Asuncion, Jun 6 (Prensa Latina) Ministers and authorities of Culture of the countries of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) will meet from today in this capital to discuss and exchange ideas and projects in favor of cultural development in the region.

The organizers have scheduled for today and tomorrow the 46th Meeting of the Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC), while the main conclave of the meeting, the 43rd Meeting of Ministers and Authorities of Culture, will take place on Friday 8.

This MERCOSUR entity promotes the cultural rights of citizens, generating policies that promote social inclusion through actions which allow cultural enrichment.

It also promotes cooperation at the regional level, carrying out joint projects and programs in the different sectors, promoting the spread of knowledge of the values and traditions of the States Parties, as well as the dissemination of the artistic and cultural expressions of the bloc.

Paraguay received the Pro Tempore Presidency (PPT) of Mercosur Cultural during the 42nd Meeting of Ministers of Culture of the regional bloc, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the end of 2017.

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Dismantling Unasur Would Be a 'Historical Error': Ex-Chief

Samper argued the regional integration body is more necessary today in the face of threats by 'foolish Donald Trump.' 

Ernesto Samper, the former secretary general of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), has warned that allowing the regional integration body to be dismantled or disappear would be a “historical error,” and would “weaken our countries when it is most needed to face the threats to the region and the world since the foolish Donald Trump presides over the United States.”  

ANALYSIS: How Lima Group Undermines Unasur's Regional Sovereignty Mission

Unasur entered a prolonged impasse in late April when six countries, all belonging to the United States aligned Lima Group, announced they were temporarily withdrawing from the South American integration body.

According to a joint letter sent to Bolivia, which holds the pro-tempore presidency of Unasur, the withdrawal was a response to the incapacity of Unasur countries to choose a secretary general since early 2017 when Samper, a former Colombian president (1994-1998), ended his term.

In an op-ed written for EFE, Samper detailed U.S. policies that threaten the region and said destroying Unasur will be akin to suicide.  

“Trump’s ‘axe of war’ contemplates the expulsion of Latino migrants who have lived in the United States for years; the construction of divisive walls in the border with Mexico; non-compliance with environmental regulation, that due to global warming increases the risk of natural disasters in the Caribbean; increasing taxes for our key exports; or questioning Colombia’s peace accords,” Samper explains.

RELATED: Ex-Unasur Chief: 'Aggressive' US Threatens Regional Integration 

“To disregard the joint response to such challenges is like jumping overboard when the storm rages,” Samper said.   

Despite the formal justification, some fear the intention is to dismantle Unasur. In a previous interview, Samper acknowledged the United States would prefer to have the Organization of American States as the only regional body.

The creation of Unasur did not only represent a regional body that excluded the U.S., but it also challenged U.S. military hegemony in the region.

The South American Defense Council “reiterated its commitment against foreign military bases in South America when former president Alvaro Uribe authorized the presence of several bases in the border between Colombia and Venezuela. Its implementation could’ve taken us to the brink of unseen levels of hemispheric conflict” Samper explained.

After presenting other Unasur accomplishments in the fields of migration, health, and education, Samper warned: “Lowering our guard against what has been achieved over the years, transforming what is now a space of integration into a field of controversy would be, as well as unforgivable, a serious historical error.”

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