Mujica and Correa Make Plans for the Bank of the South

  • Former Uruguayan President Jose "Pepe" Mujica (L) meets with Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa (R) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Jan. 18, 2017
    Former Uruguayan President Jose “Pepe” Mujica (L) meets with Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa (R) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Jan. 18, 2017 | Photo: El Telegrafo
The two met to map out the details of the bank which will offer an alternative to the neoliberalism of the World Bank and IMF.

While many spent Saturday reflecting on the past 10 years of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa’s Citizens’ Revolution in anticipation of Sunday’s election, Correa himself met with former Uruguayan President Jose Mujica to plan the future of the Bank of the South, Latin America’s alternative to the World Bank and the IMF.

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The two met in the coastal city of Guayaquil with Pedro Buonomo, the interim director of the Bank of the South, to discuss the political and economic character of the Bank, as well as its institutional structure and headquarters.

The Bank of the South is an initiative of UNASUR, the regional alliance of progressive Latin American governments, which will provide an alternative to the neo-liberal austerity practices of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund which have impoverished so many countries in the global south and created a form of neo-colonialism through indebtedness.

According to El Telegrafo, during the meeting Buonomo, the former finance minister of Uruguay, proposed that both Correa and Mujica, known to many as “the world’s poorest president,” take on a formal role as “promotional ambassadors” for the Bank, to both help consolidate the fledgling institution as well as encourage a change in central bank policies throughout the region.

During his 10 years as President of Ecuador, Correa oversaw a decade of what the Overseas Development Institute called “the world’s most inclusive growth,” which included a doubling of social spending — funded by an increase in corporate taxes and drastically reducing tax avoidance among the wealthy — which cut poverty in half while preventing inflation and boosting overall economic growth in the country.

In September of last year the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela committed US$4.5 million to cover the costs of operation and administration during the formative period of the Bank of the South.

Mujica is also in Ecuador as part of a UNASUR delegation to observe Sunday’s presidential election.

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