Childhood & Early Life
Rafael Vincente Correa Delgado was born on April 6, 1963 in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to working-class couple Rafael Correa Icaza and Norma Delgado Rendon.
He completed his schooling from San Jose-La Salle School, Guayaquil, and graduated in economics from the Catholic University of Santiago de Guayaquil (UCSG) in 1987, through a scholarship.
He enrolled at the Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, in 1990, and graduated with a Master of Arts degree in economics, in 1991.
He went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and obtained a Master of Science in economics, in 1999, and PhD in economics, in 2001.
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After graduating from UCSG, he spent a year at the Salesian order, in the poverty-stricken Zumbahua, in the central highlands, educating the local Indians and supporting micro-enterprise development.
He was hired as a director at the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education and Culture in 1993, where he oversaw administration and introduced programs to improve the educational system.
In 2005, he was elected as economic and finance minister, during which he administered measures to reduce poverty and promote economic welfare. However, he worked in this capacity for only four months.
He contested for the 2006 presidential elections, forming the Alianza PAIS – Patria Altiva y Soberana. Despite very little political experience, he proposed a constituent assembly for creating a new Ecuador’s constitution.
With support from other parties as well, this charismatic and strong president-elect defeated banana-plantation owner, Alvaro Noboa, and became the 56th President of Ecuador in December 2006 and resumed office in January 2007.
After he took over as the President, Ecuador has not been at good terms with the United States, mainly due to his closeness with Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba and Iran, and his extreme criticism of the U. S. foreign policy.
He ended diplomatic relations with Columbia, after the latter’s forces attacked a guerilla camp in Ecuador in March 2008. Even though the crisis was resolved with Columbia’s apologies, he wasn’t very keen on maintaining a healthy tie.
He was supported by 64% Ecuadorians in the approval of a new constitution in the 2008 referendum, thereby ratifying the constitution drafted in 2007, which led to fresh four-year term elections in 2009.
He won the re-elections in April 2009 and became the first president to be re-elected for a second term in 30 years, defeating his closest rival, Lucio Gutierrez. He became the President in August 2009 with promises of continuing his social revolution.
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Ecuador experienced electricity crisis in November 2009 which led to economic losses. Although power rationing ended with electricity purchases from Columbia and Peru, but his government was highly criticized for poor power management.
In 2010, the National Police, protesting for canceling the bill which ended medals and promotion bonuses, attacked and held him hostage. He was rescued by the army and supported by eight South American nations and the US.
He took the private media as his ‘greatest enemy’ which led to the imprisonment of three executives and columnist of El Universo newspaper, along with a hefty fine, on charges of defamation in 2012, though he pardoned them shortly after.
In 2012, he sparked off a controversy on providing asylum to Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, to avoid his expulsion to Sweden.
He campaigned for the 2013 general elections and was re-elected president, with 57% of popular votes and over 30% more than his competitor, Guillermo Lasso.
His presidential tenure will end in 2017, after which he will not be able to contest for the presidential elections again according to the new constitution.
He announced the Yasuni-ITT initiative at the 2007 United Nations Assembly to close the extraction of crude oil from the Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha (ITT) oil fields, for preserving ecological biodiversity.
In August 2009, he took charge of one year Pro Tempore Presidency of UNASUR, in the presence of the Heads of Government of South America, in Quito. The presidency was then passed over to Guyana, in November 2010.
Awards & Achievements
In 2009, he received an honorary doctorate degree from the Universidad Nacional de Asuncion, Paraguay, and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Russia.
In 2010, he was given the Prize for Exceptional Academic Achievement 2009 from the University of Illinois and honorary doctorate from the University of Buenos Aires.
He received the Faces and Masks Democracy Prize from the UBA Cultural Center of Buenos Aires and Great Necklace from the Ecuadorian Federation of Soccer, in 2010.
In 2012, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Chiclayo, Peru, and Bahcesehir University, Turkey.
He was honored with an honorary doctorate degree from People’s Friendship University of Russia in 2013 and Universitat de Barcelona, Spain, in 2014.
He has been a recipient of various honors from different nations, such as Grand Collar of the Order of the Liberator, Venezuela; Grand Collar of the Order of the Sun, Peru; and Order of Augusto Cesar Sandino, Nicaragua.