July 23, 2021

Ecuador President Rafael Correa to Speak at Harvard

Has been criticized for anti-American rhetoric, crackdown on press freedoms

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa / AP

Ecuador President Rafael Correa—who has been widely criticized for his anti-American rhetoric and domestic crack down on press freedoms—will speak at Harvard University next month, the Washington Free Beacon has confirmed.

Local Ecuadorian media last week first reported that Correa would be speaking at Harvard, Yale University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) during the second week of April. Reports also said he would deliver his weekly radio and television address “Citizen Link” from New York.

A Harvard spokesperson told the Free Beacon that Correa will address the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at Harvard’s Institute of Politics on April 9 at 6 p.m. The forum is subject to a ticket lottery and will be streamed online. The topic of his address has not yet been determined and the school will not compensate him.

Correa’s potential talks at Yale and MIT could not be confirmed by press time. School spokespersons did not respond to multiple inquiries.

Correa, a fiery populist leader, presents his governing agenda as a new form of “21st century socialism.” However, critics say his rule resembles former longtime Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez: altering the constitution to enhance his powers, fending off allegations of corruption, and silencing dissenters.

Carlos Eire, a history and religious studies professor at Yale who has also written books about Cuba, said in an interview that he doubts students attending Correa’s address will know much about him.

Eire said he believes Correa aims to assume leadership of Latin America’s ALBA group, a bloc of socialist countries founded by Venezuela and Cuba. Chavez, a close partner of the Castro brothers in Cuba, used Venezuela’s immense oil reserves to spread his influence throughout the region.

“It’s like a cancer spreading from Cuba to Venezuela,” he said. “Now there’s hardly any country in Latin America that is not going in that direction.”

“They’re all heading toward this kind of ‘21st century socialism,’ and one of its features is that the state controls the media—it’s very Orwellian,” he added.

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