24 May 2008

Ecuadorian Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

Who are the relevant actors in the creation of Ecuador's national foreign policy and what structures do they operate within? 
As mentioned, the current foreign policy organization is based on the institutional structure established in the 1998 Constitution. According to Article 2, "The Head of State, as Supreme Representative of the country and its sovereign rights abroad, is in charge of conducting international affairs and the Foreign Service.
According to article two of the Ecuadorian National Constitution of 1998, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in his capacity as immediate assistant to the Head of State, is in charge of collaborating directly with the President in the formulation and execution of international policy."
The Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry is divided between two Vice Ministries, the Viceministro de Relaciones Exteriores and the Vice Ministro de Comercio Exterior e Integración.
These two branches report to the Minister who is advised by a Junta Consultiva in the execution of foreign policy established by the President of the Republic. The president is also the commander in chief of the armed forces. He is advised on national security issues by the Minister of Defense, the National Security Council and the Joint Command as well as the commanders of the three branches of the military.
The current President is Rafael Correa (b.1963), an economist and former university professor from Guayaquil, who served in the previous presidential administration of Alfredo Palacio as the Minister of Finance for a short time in 2005. Correa has been critical of the neoliberal economic model as well as the traditional influence exercised by the United States. He is a sporadic supporter of 21st Century Socialism and the Venezuelan Bolivarian Revolution, but has not embraced its more radical proposals like becoming a member of the ALBA, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, and its defense group. 
The current Foreign Minister is María Isabel Salvador Crespo, the former Minister of Tourism, former assistant director of the World Council of Churches and a member of various European commercial councils. She is also the daughter of a former Minister of Foreign Relations.
 The President of the Foreign Affairs committee of the Constitutional Assembly, Mesa 9 Soberanía, Relaciones Internacionales y Integración Latino Americana - is Maria Augusta Calle, the head of Venezuela's State run Telesur TV network in Ecuador and the founder of ALTERCOM, an 'anti-imperialist' alternative communication source allegedly used to diffuse FARC propaganda in mainstream media. According to the Miami Herald, documents obtained from the personal laptop of the dead FARC rebel commander Raúl Reyes, killed on 1 March 2008, show that Calle is a member of the FARC propaganda movement.
 The Vice President of the commission is Gabriela Quezada, a 24 year old high school graduate who has lived in Valparaiso, Chile for the last 14 years.