The former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, having just handed his presidency over to Lenin Moreno, was followed by a procession of citizens as he departed to Belgium, where he will live with his family for the next few years.
"The day has arrived, dear Fatherland. I must leave. We left a country transformed but still in process,” stated the former president.
Correa is moving to Belgium to join his Belgian wife Anne Malherbe.
A large crowd greeted him as he took off from the Mariscal Sucre airport located in Tababela, west of the capital Quito.
"The day has arrived, dear Fatherland. I must leave. We left a country transformed but still in process."
"Tomorrow (come) all to dismiss the historic leader of the Citizen Revolution," called the Alliance PAIS movement, Correa’s left party, Sunday. They also urged supporters to attend the traditional change of guard ceremony that takes place every Monday in Quito’s historic center.
“I have mixed feelings: sad to leave my country which I love; sad to leave you but also happy to finally spend time with my family, to bring them peace. I’ve been personally happy these 10 years but they have undoubtedly been difficult and difficult for my family,” Correa stated.
He called on citizens of the country to defend the gains of the Citizen’s Revolution, the program of progressive social and economic transformation launched under the banner of 21st Century Socialism when his government took office in 2007.
“Defend what we have achieved, defend this revolution,” he pressed.
Correa is considered to be one of Ecuador’s most popular presidents. In 2014, his approval rating peaked at 83 percent, and he left office with a 62 percent approval rating.
As president he launched the Citizens’ Revolution which has empowered workers, Afro-Ecuadoreans, Indigenous groups and the LGBTI community.
His administration has not only doubled the country’s minimum wage, it has also lifted over 1 million people out of poverty, doubled spending on healthcare and education, established sources of clean energy and slashed unemployment to 4.3 percent as of last year.