Student David Pazmino Interviews Ecuador Comptroller

David Pazmino

Alfredo Corral Borrero was named Comptroller General of Ecuador from 1998 to 2003. Dr. Corral Borrero received a law degree from the University of Cuenca, his hometown, in 1964. He has held many distinguished legal and academic positions throughout his career.

In Cuenca, he served in the Second District Court and was a professor in the Law Faculty of the University of Cuenca. He served as president of the College of Lawyers of Azuay, and was also a professor in the Law Faculties of the Catholic University of Quito and the Central University of Ecuador.

His distinguished public service career has also included serving as the Minister of Work and Human Resources, and as a member of the Supreme Court of Ecuador.

David Pazmino: Why is a new constitution necessary, after Ecuador has already had so many?

Alfredo Corral (Borrero): The constitution passed in 1998 is very robust and gives a lot of civil rights and civil liberties. However, the structure of the government has many weaknesses that need to be addressed. What is good does not need to be changed, though, only reinforced.

DP: Why did they rewrite the constitution in 1998?

AC: The constitution of 1998 had the most forms after 1969; it was a progressive development.

DP: What are your views concerning freedom of expression?

AC: Freedom of expression is a fundamental right of the people. Each person should be allowed to express and communicate as they please. From freedom of expression derives the freedom of the press, along with the rights and liberties of the people.

DP: Do you feel that the media reports the news according to their own interests?

AC: Yes, it is possible that the media doesn’t tell the complete reality about certain topics. And a lot of the media are controlled by their owners, owners that express their interests through their media. The press needs to be free; it doesn’t need to be subjected to the control of a government or a corporation.

DP: What do you think about the Ecuadorian press?

AC: There are many media that are owned by big corporations. It is important that these corporations are responsible and take freedom of the press seriously.

DP: Eighty percent of Ecuadorian say that changing to the American dollar did not help the economy. What is your view?

AC: Adopting the dollar was a necessary imperative. We were living in times when the exchange rate with the dollar was changing daily, and a big part of society was already using the dollar. Though at the beginning it brought many tragedies and much suffering, the adoption of the dollar did stabilize the economy. In 1999, we had annual inflation of 93.4%. Presently, this has dropped to an annual inflation of 3.3%. If not for the adoption of the dollar in 2000, we would currently be in a great economic depression. It is possible that in the future it will be convenient to change to a local currency.

DP: There are many Latin American countries who do not appreciate the policies of the United States. What do you think of this?

AC: I think there have been many political mistakes made by the United States that has caused negative sentiment, not against their people, but against their government. For example, the mistake of Iraq and the current actions of President Bush have left behind the Kennedy legacy.

DP: Do you think we should maintain military relations with the United States?

AC: There is no problem with the United States having a military base in our country, as long as it does not violate the privacy and the sovereignty of Ecuador.

DP: Before, Ecuador was called “the island of peace,” because of its absence of guerrilla insurgencies that were noticeable in bordering Peru (Shining Path) and Colombia (FARC, ELN). Do you think Ecuador can still be called the “island of peace”?

AC: The violence in Colombia has become a civil war, between the FARC on the one side, and the Colombian and United States governments, on the other. Let’s hope that the same violence does not come to Ecuador, but sadly, in the present, there has been an increase in insecurity.

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