Tuesday, August 11th 2009 - 11:25 UTC

Correa promises “gigantic struggle” to deepen Socialist revolution

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa was sworn in for a second term on Monday vowing to deepen his socialist “revolution”. Announcing his vision for a new term, Correa said he sought to fight inequality and invest in projects to help the poor, improve education and improve the lives of long-neglected Andean indigenous groups.

The Ecuadorian president takes the oath under the new constitution which saw his re-elected with a comfortable majority.

“It's a gigantic struggle ... but we have already started and no one is going to stop us,” said Correa in a speech before a group of Latinamerican leaders, including presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Evo Morales from Bolivia, Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Raul Castro of Cuba.

“During the next four years we're going to continue our campaign ... it's not just about helping the poor, it's about stamping out the structural causes of poverty,” he added.

Heavy social spending and his frequent outbursts against Ecuador's business elites have raised Correa's popularity but have rattled investors.

“Shrinking the state was one of the most absurd mistakes of the long and sad neo-liberal night, while boosting the state, was one of the worst mistakes of state socialism,” he said. “We need a state that is efficient.”

OPEC member Ecuador exported 2.7 billion US dollars of crude oil and refined oil products in the first half of the year, 60% less than in the same period last year.

Correa has admitted that export revenues and money sent home by Ecuadoreans working abroad have plummeted. However not much has been said of plans to diversify the economy from its dependence on oil export revenues.

Multilateral lenders have offered up to 2.5 billion USD to Ecuador this year, and the country is set to receive a billion USD down payment for a deal to export oil to China.

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