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Ecuador: The President Pushes Free Software

Categories: Latin America, Ecuador, Politics, Technology

The use of YouTube to disseminate messages has now reached the presidential palace in Ecuador. Last month, President Rafael Correa spoke about the use of free software and its benefits for his country. The video was featured on the channel [1]used exclusively for videos coming from the Communications General Secretary of the Presidency of Ecuador.

Transcript of address:

Queridos amigos. Les saluda Rafael Correa, presidente de la República del Ecuador. Ustedes saben que es la hora de la integración de América Latina en todos los aspectos, entre ellos el aspecto tecnológico y el uso de tecnologías informáticas.

Por eso es necesario que todos adoptemos, tanto a nivel público cuanto a nivel privado, el software libre. De esa manera garantizaremos la soberanía de nuestros estados, dependeremos de nuestras propias fuerzas, no de fuerzas externas a la región. Seremos productores de tecnología, no simples consumidores. Seremos dueños de los códigos fuentes y podemos desarrollar muchos productos que, incluso, con una adecuada articulación de nuestros esfuerzos, puede ser de suma utilidad para las empresas públicas y privadas de la región.

Por eso, todos a utilizar software libre. El Gobierno ecuatoriano ya lo estableció como una política de Gobierno y de Estado. Esto será un importante paso para la integración y, por qué no decirlo, para la liberación de América Latina.

Dear friends, the President of the Republic of Ecuador sends you greetings. This is the hour for the integration of Latin America in all of its aspects, including in technology and the use of information technologies.

For that reason, it is necessary that we all adopt, on a public and private level, the use of free software. In that manner, we will guarantee the sovereignty of our states. We will depend on our own efforts, and not on the external forces on the region. We will be producers of technology, and not simple consumers. We will be the owners of the source codes, and we can develop many products that can, with cooperation of this effort, can be very useful to public and private companies in the region.

For that, everyone must use free software. The Ecuadoran government has already established this as a governmental and state policy. This will be an important step in the integration and, why not say, for the liberation of Latin America.

Naturally, many bloggers were quite impressed with the use of this technology. Ecuador's own Christian Espinoza, who writes a technology-focused blog called Cobertura Digital [ES] and was one of the first to draw attention to this phenomenon [2]. In fact, his coverage of Correa's message drew some interest [3] from the Video Blog Telúrica [4].

Additional applause came from Chilean bloggers, such as Fayer Wayer [ES] had this to say about [5] the new videos.

También me parece que sí es la labor de un Presidente definir las políticas públicas, y anunciar que el Gobierno abandonará tecnologías propietarias y apoyará tecnologías abiertas, tal como lo ha hecho Noruega. El sector privado puede hacer lo que quiera, pero si el Gobierno apoya y utiliza software libre, está dando el ejemplo y certificando que la alternativa funciona.

Un gran paso para Ecuador, y esperemos que sigan avanzando, mejorando la integración de su población a las tecnologías de la información, ya que actualmente tienen uno de los precios más elevados de conexión a internet en América Latina.

I also think that this is the role of a president to define public policy, and announce that the government will no longer use licensed technologies and will support open technologies, such as what Norway has done. The private sector can do what it wants, but if the government supports and uses free software, then it is providing an example and assuring that the alternative really works.

It is a big step for Ecuador, and we hope that they continue to progress, improving and integrating information technologies for their population, since they currently have one of the highest prices in Latin America for internet connections.

Then, from Guatemala, the blog Dumitraqui [ES] wrote [6]:

No discuto la posición política de el Presidente Corea si es buena o mala sencillamente no la conozco, pero me parece genial invitación que hace a pasarse al OpenSource, y usar las nuevas tecnologías a nuestro alcance. Es importante mencionar que El Presidente Corea posee su propio canal en YouTube para difundir vídeos de comunicados presidenciales. Es un buen ejemplo del uso de la tecnología. Haber que otro presidente sigue los pasos o copia la idea. ¿será GBush, LdaSilva, FCalderon, UChavez OBerger?

I am not going to discuss the political positions of President Correa, and whether they are good or bad, because simply I do not know. However, his invitation to use OpenSource software and the new technologies is great. It is important to note that President Correa has his own YouTube channel to distribute videos of his presidential messages. This is a great example of the use of technology. Let's see which other president follows his steps or copies the idea. Could it be (George) Bush, (Lula) daSilva, (Felipe) Calderon, (Hugo) Chavez or (Oscar) Berger?

And from neighboring Colombia, The Pirated Network [ES] [7]:

En muchas otras cosas, no me gusta mucho la forma de Gobierno de Rafael Correa, pero esta iniciativa es de las mejores que he visto en un lider Latinoamericano, ¿¿¿Será que alguna vez en la vida algún lider Colombiano se le ocurrirá alguna idea como ésta???

In many other things, I do not like Rafael Correa's government, but this is one of the best things that I have ever seen from a Latin American leader. I wonder if a Colombian leader has ever thought of something like this.

One comment on the Fayer Wayer site [8], noted the following:

Notable el canal de youtube de la presidencia de Ecuador, sin embargo el sitio de la presidencia de ecuador es windows (notar el .asp)

The Ecuadoran president's YouTube channel is noteworthy, however, the Presidency's Website uses Windows (note the .asp).