Archive for the ‘Ecuador’ Category

Correa impone polémica ley financiera para blindar a Ecuador ante crisis

| July 25th, 2014 | No Comments »
La Patilla

El presidente de Ecuador, Rafael Correa, impuso una polémica ley de control financiero, decidido a blindar a Ecuador de una crisis bancaria como la de 1999, que dejó pérdidas millonarias al Estado y aún traumatiza a los ecuatorianos. AFP

El Congreso -de mayoría oficialista- aprobó el jueves el Código Orgánico Monetario y Financiero, que crea una junta reguladora controlada por el Ejecutivo con amplios poderes para supervisar todo el sistema financiero, el mercado de valores, de cambios y de seguros.

El organismo corregirá la “dispersión de distintas entidades haciendo lo mismo. El sistema necesita regulación”, explicó el vicepresidente Jorge Glass en declaraciones al canal RTS el jueves.

Glass negó que la junta, que direccionará los créditos y tendrá facultades para el uso de un millonario fondo de liquidez de los bancos, permita al gobierno decidir a quién deben prestar los bancos, como aseguran los opositores.

Con el texto, aprobado con el voto de 91 ... Read More

Ecuador Weighs Escape From Dollar ‘Straitjacket’

| July 24th, 2014 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

BY NATHAN GILL

Ecuador, one of only eight countries to adopt the U.S. dollar as its official currency, is poised to create its own parallel currency for use in local transactions as the government struggles to meet spending commitments.

Congress has until the end of today to vote on President Rafael Correa’s proposal to change the South American nation’s financial laws, which would allow payments in “electronic money.” Lawmakers are debating whether to insist the central bank back the new currency with a one-to-one dollar guarantee.

As a current-account deficit drains dollars from the economy, making it harder for Correa to fund a burgeoning budget gap, a new currency could be used to meet government payments, said Jaime Carrera, a former deputy finance minister and director of the Quito-based Fiscal Policy Observatory. It could also lose its value quickly if not backed by the central bank, he said.

“It’s still not clear in the monetary law if each electronic ... Read More

Citizens’ security is Latin America’s biggest problem

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

PEDRO RODRÍGUEZ, head of Nicaragua’s youth-affairs police, grabs the shoulder of 17-year-old Axel Matus and gives it a shake. “He was one of our worst cases,” he says. In most of Latin America, a youth with Axel’s background—gangs, drugs, knife-fights, joblessness—would cringe at such attention from a burly police commander. But Axel stands bolt upright and admits: “My life was utter chaos.”

Not any more. Axel now attends the Juvenile Affairs police headquarters in Managua, where he is given free meals and tuition every day. Besides subjects like maths and English, he is learning how to be a barber (his blade skills now applied with scissors). Hundreds of troubled kids voluntarily study with him, and the police chief knows most of them by name. They are neatly dressed and ooze self-esteem.

Nicaragua’s police force is in danger of giving socialism a good name. The country is one of the poorest in the ... Read More

Ecuador Says China Signed $2 Billion Oil Deal to Access Crude

| July 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

By Nathan Gill

Ecuador’s state oil company got $2 billion of financing from China backed by future crude supplies, adding to funding the country has obtained this year by tapping the bond market and taking a loan from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The OPEC-member country disclosed the China deal in an offering circular to bond investors last month. Under the May agreement, Unipec Asia Co., a unit of China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation, known as Sinopec, prepaid for oil from PetroEcuador over an unspecified timeframe.

President Rafael Correa, who more than tripled public spending since taking office in 2007, had said the government was seeking additional financing sources from China, the world’s biggest oil consumer after the U.S. Ecuador has borrowed more than $11 billion from the Asian nation in the past five years.

The Andean country’s $2 billion bond sale last month was its first offering in international debt markets since a default in 2008. In ... Read More

Ecuador’s President may seek ultimate job security: indefinite reelection

| July 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Jim Wyss

Franklin D. Roosevelt had it, so did Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and so does Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega. Could Ecuador’s Rafael Correa be the next president to win the right to consecutive and indefinite reelection?

That’s the question the country’s constitutional court is debating, and the answer could radically change the future of this Andean nation of 16 million.

After years of vowing that he wouldn’t seek office when his term ends in 2017, Correa recently announced that his Alianza País political party would push for a constitutional amendment that would open the gates for the charismatic socialist to keep his job permanently.

Stung by recent municipal elections where his party lost key cities, including the capital, Correa said the change is needed to preserve the advances of his “Citizens’ Revolution.”

“My sincere position was always against reelection,” he told the country recently, “but after deep reflection, and knowing that sometimes our choices are ... Read More

Ecuador ruling party proposes end to presidential two-term limit

| June 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

BY ALEXANDRA VALENCIA Ecuador’s ruling political movement presented to the national assembly on Wednesday on a controversial plan to end a two-term limit for the re-election of the president, give new powers to the military and increase oversight of the country’s media.

The opposition has fiercely criticized the proposed package of at least 17 reforms to the 2008 constitution with possibly more to follow, which the ruling Alianza Pais (AP) presented to the national assembly where it has a majority.

“All of us AP assembly members have decided to present this initiative,” Marcela Aguinaga, the assembly’s vice-president told reporters.

The proposals will require approval by the Constitutional Court before legislators can begin to discuss the proposals.

The Alianza Pais’ proposal aims to enable President Rafael Correa to seek re-election in 2017 when his second five-year mandate expires, and give him more time to implement his broadly supported socialist program.

Correa has brushed off criticism that ... Read More

Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2013 still not back to pre-global-crisis levels

| June 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Mimi Whitefield

A study released Tuesday shows that the money sent home by migrants from Latin American and the Caribbean reached $61.3 billion last year, with three-quarters of those remittances coming from the United States.

The report by the Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, found that remittances to the Caribbean and Central America increased, but money flows to Mexico, which received $21.6 billion in remittances, and South America were down.

Overall, remittances — considered an economic lifeline for many families in the region — still haven’t recovered to the levels before the 2008-2009 global economic crisis. Remittances reached a high of $64.9 billion in 2008 before plummeting by more than 10 percent the next year.

Remittances began to grow again in 2011 but have remained fairly flat since then. There was virtually no growth between 2012 and 2013

The strengthening of the economies of European nations and the ... Read More

Ecuador Prepares to Return to Bond Market

| June 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

Country to Meet Investors in London, Boston, Los Angeles and New York

By JOSIE COX And NEELABH CHATURVEDI

The Republic of Ecuador is preparing to return to the bond market for the first time since the country defaulted in 2008, taking advantage of robust demand for emerging-market debt in a low-yielding world.

The default-prone sovereign, rated Caa1 by Moody’s Investors Service and B by both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, is due to meet investors in London, Boston, Los Angeles and New York, via a three-day roadshow hosted by Credit Suisse CSGN.VX +1.74% and Citigroup C +0.49% that commences on Tuesday, bankers involved said.

A U.S. dollar bond is expected to follow, but no indication has been given of the timing.

A transaction would likely provide a severe test of investors’ appetite for risk, just five-and-a half years after the country defaulted on $3.2 billion in foreign debt that it argued was illegal and illegitimate.

Other emerging-market countries, however, such as Turkey, Hungary and Mexico, ... Read More

Ecuador Bites the Dust … Again

| June 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Forbes

BY MICHAEL I. KRAUSS

Readers will recall my report on the RICO conviction of the plaintiffs’ attorney in the notorious case filed against Chevron in Ecuador.   Ecuador’s president (possibly president-for-life, the Ecuadorean constitution notwithstanding) may dislike America, but he sure seems to like the U.S. tort system.  His government heavily backed a suit against Chevron in America for (dubious) harm allegedly caused by Texaco in Ecuador, but it struck out in our courts, with the result that a corrupt judgment against Chevron was obtained in Ecuador itself.  Plaintiffs are still trying to collect on that judgment – good luck with that!

In a second contemporary and potentially mammoth torts case, a different American corporation (perhaps predicting the fiasco that would befall Chevron when it elected to defend itself in an Ecuadorean court) chose the U.S. legal system, which rendered a decision last week.[1]  The defendant is DynCorp, Inc. a contractor working in neighboring ... Read More

In 2013 (FDI) flows to Latin America reached a new historical high

| June 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

According to a report released by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on May 29th, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Latin America in 2013 reached a new historical high of US$184.9bn. This is welcome news, given weakening growth rates and softening commodity prices, and is testament to the continued attractiveness of the region’s expanding domestic markets and copious natural resources. However, the outlook is not all positive. Growth in FDI inflows is slowing, the region’s share of global FDI remains relatively low, and there is still a long way to go for the region to diversify away from services and natural resources.

FDI flows to Latin America have been increasing steadily since 2003, with the exception of 2006 and 2009, boosted by booming domestic demand (crucial for market-seeking investment) and high prices for commodities exports. In 2013 FDI to the region continued on an upward trend. ... Read More

No Messiah Please, We’re Ecuadorian

| May 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

RAUL GALLEGOS

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa appears to have joined the club of Latin American populists who have trouble relinquishing power. Correa announced over the weekend that he aims to change the constitution so that he — and any other Ecuadorian public official — can run for re-election any number of times.

Correa follows in the footsteps of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, whose cronies in Congress last year passed similar legislation, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, who last year got a pliant Supreme Court toallow him another go at the presidency, and Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez, who sold voters the idea of unlimited presidential terms in a 2009 referendum.

Correa, already in his third term in office, is peddling his proposal as a way to safeguard Ecuador’s institutions. “I believe in the stability of institutions,” he told Congress during his annual address to the nation. “That’s why I’ve decided to support these initiatives.”

It is true that Ecuador lacks strong institutions and ... Read More

Iranian MPs Leave Tehran for Tour of Latin America

| May 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
FARS News Agency TEHRAN (FNA)- A delegation of Iranian parliament members headed to Ecuador’s capital on Monday to meet the country’s parliament speaker among other high-ranking officials on the first leg of their bi-nation tour which will also take them to Colombia.

The Iran-Ecuador parliamentary friendship group presided by Hamid Reza Fouladgar left Tehran for Quito Monday morning.

The MPs are scheduled to meet high-ranking Ecuadorian officials, including the parliament speaker.

After their visit to Quito, the lawmakers will travel to Colombia on a two-day visit.

Earlier this month, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujeri said Tehran lays emphasis on the deepening of relations with Latin nations, and called for holding a joint meeting of the parliamentary foreign policy commissions of ALBA members.

“Iran favors holding a joint meeting of the foreign policy commissions of the parliaments of ALBA members in Bolivia,” Boroujerdi said in a meeting with ALBA ambassadors to ... Read More

Fraying Relationship With Ecuador a Blow to U.S. Counternarcotics Efforts

| May 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
World Politics Review

By Eric Auner

Last month, Ecuador expelled 20 U.S. Defense Department employees from the country. Less than two weeks later, the U.S. announced it would withdraw its anti-narcotics personnel from Ecuador, dealing a further blow to America’s ailing counternarcotics partnerships in the Western Hemisphere.

Ecuador’s expulsion of U.S. military personnel “reflects the increase in capacities and resources of Ecuador to directly assume security and defense efforts independently,” said a statement from the Ecuadorean Embassy in Washington. The statement pointed in particular to  Ecuador’s own counternarcotics efforts from the previous year.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that while the United States would respect Ecuador’s decision, “we regret that the outcome will severely limit our bilateral security partnership.” She said that military cooperation between the two nations over four decades “has resulted in significant advances against drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism and other transnational crime.”

The moves come in a context of a generally strained U.S. relationship with Ecuador ... Read More

Ecuador’s Correa Seeks to Allow Indefinite Re-Election of All Officials

| May 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

Ecuador’s President Asks for Constitutional Amendment

By MERCEDES ALVARO QUITO, Ecuador—Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa said Saturday he would ask his legislative block to introduce an amendment to the nation’s Constitution to allow indefinite re-election of all elected officials, including the presidency.

“I have decided to request to our block in the Assembly that the Constitution be amended to establish indefinite re-election in all positions of popular election so that the people can choose who continues and who alternates,” said Mr. Correa during his speech to the nation at the National Assembly.

However, Mr. Correa said his decision on whether to run again will be decided upon by his political movement Alianza Pais as well as taking into account conditions before the 2017 elections.

Mr. Correa took office in 2007 and quickly set about to change the constitution to allow him to run for another term, which he won in 2009.

Last year he won another re-election until ... Read More

Ecuador’s Correa lashes out at Chevron

| May 21st, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

QUITO May 20 (Reuters) – Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa on Tuesday accused U.S oil company Chevron of deceiving the country’s justice system in a decades-long trial over pollution in the Amazon by seeking to avoid inspections of areas contaminated by oil production.

Correa said experts hired by Chevron Corp found evidence of contamination in areas once operated by Texaco, which was bought by Chevron in 2001, but that evidence was never given to the court.

“They did prior inspections of the different wells so that the court would go to places where there was no pollution, trying to deceive the justice system,” Correa told reporters.

Ecuador was given access to those documents through a court order.

Chevron dismissed Correa’s accusations as “baseless.”

“This is yet another attempt by the Republic to distract attention and evade its responsibility for conditions in the Amazon,” a Chevron spokesman said in an email.

An Ecuadorean court has ordered Chevron to pay ... Read More

Venezuela Protest News: Rafael Correa Says ‘Economic Errors’ By Venezuelan Government Helped Fuel Protests

| May 19th, 2014 | No Comments »
Latin Times

Rafael Correa, the Ecuadorian president who forged a close alliance with late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, criticized the administration of Chávez predecessor Nicolás Maduro on Wednesday, suggesting that poor economic policies helped stoke protests which have erupted in cities across the country for the last three months.  “With respect, from my point of view, economic errors have been committed,” said Correa in a radio interview while in Chile, where he met with Chilean president Michelle Bachelet.  “As such, there have been economic problems and that exacerbates the contradictions.”

Many protestors have cited inflation that skyrocketed to over 50 percent in Maduro’s first year in office, as long as the shortage of basic goods, in explaining their decision to take to the streets.  But as El Universal notes, Correa also defended Maduro.  “Venezuela was the Saudi Arabia of the world, and where did that money go?  Now that justice is being done in Venezuela, all these conflicts ... Read More

China’s Latin American Empire

| May 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
World Crunch-01

SANTIAGO – The recent tour of four Latin American states by China‘s Foreign Minister Wang Yi was hailed as a success in each place he visited: Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina. Back in Beijing, it was largely seen as a rehearsal for a planned visit by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is expected to watch the World Cup final in July in the legendary Maracaná stadium, as a guest of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.

That will be the Chinese President’s second trip to the region since he took office a little over a year ago, after a 2013 visit to Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad, where he met with half a dozen Caribbean leaders. After the World Cup, the Chinese President will attend a meeting of BRICS countries in Fortaleza in Brazil and next January, China’s first summit with CELAC, the grouping of all regional states bar the United States and Canada.

Xi is showing more interest in ... Read More

Oil exploration in Ecuador: Out for the count

| May 8th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
The Economist

ON MAY 6th Ecuador’s National Electoral Commission (CNE) rejected another 239,342 signatures collected by environmental activists in a bid to trigger a referendum on planned oil development in the Yasuní National Park. In total the CNE approved just 359,762 signatures, leaving the activists, who are known as Yasunidos, well short of the 583,323, or 5% of the electoral roll, required to hold a referendum.

In disqualifying two-thirds of the near 800,000 signatures initially put forward, CNE officials said that they found enough fictitious names and repeat signatures to consider the whole initiative deceitful. The Yasunidos allege something similar, calling the CNE count a “fraud”; the activists say they plan to take the case to Ecuador’s administrative court and if that fails, as they expect, to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Although nominally independent, the CNE has suffered accusations of bias before. In 2012 the body rejected hundreds of thousands of signatures required to ... Read More

US will cut off anti-drug assistance to Ecuador: official

| May 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
From AFP

WASHINGTON: The United States will end decades of anti-drug trafficking assistance to Ecuador this month, pulling its staff from the INL office in the South American nation, a top official said Wednesday.

“I am quite prepared to acknowledge right now the INL section, which has been in Ecuador now for more than 30 years, is also going to close up shop,” Ambassador William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), told a congressional hearing.

He said the office staff would be out of Ecuador by the end of September. Brownfield did not say how many US staffers were in place there.

Brownfield said the move was a reflection of the level of cooperation the United States has right now from Ecuador.

Leftist economist President Rafael Correa, whom Washington has criticized for his links to Iran, Belarus and WikiLeaks figure Julian Assange — has acknowledged there is an atmosphere ... Read More

Ecuador Said to Step Up Offers to Buy Back Defaulted Bonds

| May 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

By Nathan Gill and Katia Porzecanski

Ecuador is stepping up efforts to repurchase its defaulted bonds and pave the way for a new foreign debt sale, offering creditors more than it paid in a 2009 buyback, three people with knowledge of the terms said.

Ecuador is approaching holders on a one-by-one basis with offers to pay at least 50 cents on the dollar for the notes, according to two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. In February, the government offered creditors 40 cents on the dollar, according to another person who wasn’t authorized to talk about the offer. Ecuador bought back more than 90 percent of its defaulted bonds in 2009 at 35 cents on the dollar, months after defaulting on $3.2 billion of securities.

Faced with a swelling budget deficit, President Rafael Correa said last month that he’s looking to sell bonds to international investors this ... Read More

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