Ecuador’s socialist president is planning to hold an online auction to sell off several gifts he and his son have received during official trips abroad, including a shiny gold Rolex watch from the emir of the oil-rich Gulf country of Qatar.
During a weekend radio address, President Rafael Correa said he also plans to auction off a gift from the Chinese government: a bicycle painted in Ecuador's national colors of yellow, red and blue. The bike was reportedly a gift from Chinese President Xi Jinping during Correa's state visit earlier this year.
Correa, a firebrand leftist, said he intends to use the proceeds from the auction to finance the construction of a "few houses" for the poor.
"We're going to raise some funds," Correa said. “Miguelito has already decided who he's going to help with the money," he added, referring to his son. "But we’re not going to say just yet.”
Most of the gifts Correa usually receives are donated to a museum.
Gold Rolexes can cost anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to over a million dollars. So it's hard to know if the announcement was a bit of political theater, or if the president can actually raise enough money from peddling his watch and bike to build a few homes — the kind that come with roofs.
Correa said the auction will be held on social media, but didn't say when.