On February 5, Rafael Correa, the de-facto president of Ecuador, proposed ten radical constitutional amendments, causing the majority of his cabinet to resign, and moving the country closer to a Venezuela style Socialist quasi-dictatorship. President Correa has decreed that all casinos, all forms of gambling, online sportsbooks in Ecuador, and bullfighting should become illegal and has submitted his proposal to the Constitutional Court to ratify within 45 days.
The radical amendments will fundamentally change generations old customs and laws that most Ecuadorians accept as a fundamental right. Mr. Correa also proposed to extend his ‘presidency’ until 2017 without a need for further elections.
Mr. Correa has a strong opinion that gambling at ‘foreign owned casinos’ must be ended and the casinos nationalized. There are currently just 13 major casinos in Ecuador, and limited legal sportsbooks. There is no mention of online gambling in Ecuadorian gambling laws.
After a rambling 45 minute speech decrying the evils of the United States and Western Europe, the president spoke at length about the wisdom of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Hugo Chavez, Ahmadinejad of Iran, Chairman Mao, Lenin and Karl Marx. He also spoke about the “continuation of his socialist revolution, his plans to end poverty and his dream to go on stamping out the structural causes of poverty caused by capitalist agitators.”
Mr. Correa stated that – “We are going to continue the fight to eliminate all forms of workplace exploitation within our socialist conviction: the supremacy of human work over capital. Nobody is in any doubt that our preferential option is for the poorest people, we are here because of them. Hasta la victoria siempre!” Mr. Correra has already declared all foreign debt to be void as it was accrued by ‘previous corrupt administrations.’
According to leading economists, the closing of all casinos in Ecuador will be a tremendous blow to its already fragile economy, and will result in the rise of organized crime, underground casinos and the flow of hard currency out of the country to foreign owned online casinos in Ecuador.
Mr. Correa, was born to a wealthy family and educated abroad, earning a Master’s Degree in Economics from the prestigeous Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, and his Doctorate Degree in Economics from the University of Illinois in the United States.