Archive for the ‘Ecuador’ Category

Guillermo Martinez: Democracy a real sham in Correa’s Ecuador

| April 17th, 2014 | No Comments »
Sun Sentinel

Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador since 2007, is undoubtedly the best-educated leftist president in Latin America. He has two masters degree — one from Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium and another one from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a PhD from the same university.

He speaks four languages: Spanish, English, French and Quechua.

This allows Correa to present himself as a reasonable politician. One who in his Op-Ed column for the Boston Globe can rationally argue, “Real freedom requires justice.” He quotes from Abraham Lincoln‘s Gettysburg Address: “All men are created equal and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable (sic) Rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

In Ecuador and across Latin America, Correa wrote, we also hold these truths to be self-evident, and we must make them a reality not just for certain people or at some future time, but right now and for everybody.

No doubt ... Read More

Latin America the World’s Most Violent Region

| April 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon


Latin America is now the world’s most violent region but is receiving less U.S. military and financial assistance, according to a recent report and other figures.

Latin America surpassed Africa as the region with the most murders per 100,000 people, according to the new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Several countries in the Western Hemisphere had murder rates that eclipsed 25 per 100,000 people in 2012, compared to the global average of about six.

The report said 30 percent of the homicides in the Americas could be attributed to a proliferation of organized crime and gang-related violence.

For example, Honduras had one of the world’s highest murder rates with 90.4 per 100,000 people. Mexican drug cartels and transnational criminal groups such as the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and 18th Street gangs have infiltrated the country in recent years.

Some of the violence is fueled by those groups’ drug smuggling operations into the United States. ... Read More

Flexible friends

| April 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

China lends disproportionately to countries that lack other options

THE rise of China has changed every region. But it has reinforced patterns, too. China’s demand for commodities has entrenched Latin America’s position as a supplier of raw materials. The country guzzles oil from Venezuela and Ecuador, copper from Chile, soyabeans from Argentina, and iron ore from Brazil—with which it signed a corn-import deal on April 8th.

Chinese lending to the region also has a strong flavour of natural resources. Data are patchy, but according to new figures from the China-Latin America Finance Database, a joint effort between the Inter-American Dialogue, a think-tank, and Boston University, China committed almost $100 billion to Latin America between 2005 and 2013 (see chart). The biggest dollops by far have come from the China Development Bank (CDB). These sums are meaningful. Chinese lenders committed some $15 billion last year; the World Bank $5.2 billion in fiscal year ... Read More

Senadores Critican a Rafael Correa por Abuso a los Derechos Humanos

| April 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
From BuzzFeed

Por Rosie Gray

Un grupo de senadores están pidiendo al presidente del Ecuador que rinda cuentas en términos de violaciones a derechos humanos y que repare su relación con los Estados Unidos con motivo de su visita al país esta semana, de acuerdo con una carta obtenida por BuzzFeed.

Los senadores Robert Menéndez , Marco Rubio , Richard Durbin , Mark Kirk , Tim Kaine , Jim Inhofe , Patrick Leahy , y John Cornyn firmaron una carta dirigida al presidente de Ecuador, Rafael Correa, para pedirle que ” tome medidas significativas para fortalecer el respeto de su gobierno a los principios democráticos y que reconstruya nuestras relaciones bilaterales de una manera que de prioridad a las aspiraciones compartidas de nuestro pueblo por la libertad, la seguridad y las oportunidades económicas”.

Los senadores criticaron a Correa por poner fin a la misión de la USAID en Ecuador y por el arresto de Clever ... Read More

Senators Criticize Visiting Ecuadorian President Over Human Rights

| April 9th, 2014 | No Comments »


A group of senators are calling upon the president of Ecuador to account for human rights abuses and mend his relationship with the United States on the occasion of his visit to the country this week, according to a letter obtained by BuzzFeed.

Senators Robert Menendez, Marco Rubio, Richard Durbin, Mark Kirk, Tim Kaine, Jim Inhofe, Patrick Leahy, and John Cornyn all signed a letter addressed to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on Tuesday calling on him to “take meaningful steps to strengthen your government’s respect for democratic principles and rebuild our bilateral relations in a manner that prioritizes our people’s shared aspirations for freedom, security, and economic opportunities.”

The senators criticized Correa for ending the USAID mission in Ecuador and for the convictions of a trio of men — politician Clever Jimenez, journalist Fernando Villavicencio, and Dr. Carlos Figueroa — on charges of defaming Correa’s government. Villavicencio described the raid ... Read More

Harvard to Host Correa, but No Free Press in Ecuador Can Cover It

| April 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
Heritage Foundation


The Washington Free Beacon reported last week that President of Ecuador Rafael Correa will address the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at Harvard’s Institute of Politics next week.

The director of media relations at Harvard, Doug Gavel, told the Free Beacon that a fundamental tenet of Harvard’s Kennedy School is the “free exchange of ideas.” He also pointed out “in keeping with that educational mission, the school has a long and proud tradition of providing a venue for leaders from around the world to speak to and interact with the community on important public policy issues.”

However, will anyone at Harvard ask Correa about the lack of political and economic freedom in Ecuador?

President Correa is known for his anti-American rhetoric and crackdown on press freedoms. According to the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom, Ecuador’s economic freedom score ranks 159th worldwide and 26th in Latin America. Its property rights score and freedom from corruption score ... Read More

Ecuador bonds: saying adios to China?

| April 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
Beyond Brics


Wasn’t it the case, about five years ago, that Ecuador’s foreign debt was “illegitimate” and its bondholders “real monsters”?

Well, it seems time cures everything. Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s leftwing president, said at the weekend his country was planning its first international bond issue since defaulting on $3.2bn of foreign debt in 2008 – and, six months later, buying most of it back at 35 cents on the dollar.

“We will place bonds in the international market,” he said in an interview broadcast by state television on Sunday. “There will be an operation on the open market this year, I think around $700m in bonds.”

This is not the first time there have been rumours in the past year of Ecuador’s impending return to global markets and it seems friendly overtures have been made to Wall Street. But this time, Correa sounded especially determined and is reported to be preparing meetings with investors. Analysts believe an issue could take ... Read More

Global Insider: Ecuador Local Elections Show Correa’s Weakness More Than Opposition’s Strength

| April 3rd, 2014 | 1 Comment »
World Politics Review

In late February, Ecuador’s municipal elections yielded gains for the opposition in an apparent setback for President Rafael Correa. In an email interview, Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue and adjunct professor of Latin American politics at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, explained why the opposition made gains and what’s next for Correa.

WPR: What factors were involved with the Ecuadorean opposition’s victory in municipal elections in February?

Michael Shifter: The Ecuadorean opposition’s victory in municipal elections on Feb. 23 was a sharp rebuke to President Rafael Correa, who campaigned heavily and effectively nationalized the vote. The results did not so much reveal the potency of the opposition as much as Correa’s vulnerability. His losses in major cities—the defeat in Quito was especially surprising and painful—can be attributed mainly to his excessive interference in local elections, which many voters resented and believed went too far. Correa overplayed his hand in a country that ... Read More

Big Victory for Chevron Over Claims in Ecuador

| March 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
The New York Times


Since losing a $19 billion judgment in an Ecuadorean court three years ago, Chevron has drawn the condemnation of human rights and environmental activists by refusing to pay anything in fines or accept blame for polluting the Ecuadorean rain forest.

The award against Chevron was one of the largest judgments ever imposed by a court for environmental pollution, and it appeared to pit a mighty corporate Goliath against powerless peasants and the principal lawyer who represented them, Steven R. Donziger, as a brave David.

But on Tuesday, Chevron won a major victory. A federal judge in Manhattan ruled that a two-decade legal effort to punish the company was marred by fraud and corruption, making it increasingly likely that the oil company would be ultimately successful in beating back the legal and financial challenge.

In his nearly 500-page ruling, United ... Read More

Legal Fraud of the Century

| March 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

There are plenty of candidates for that title, but after Tuesday the prize belongs to attorney Steven Donziger. Federal judge Lewis Kaplan ruled that the environmental activist had engaged in a massive racketeering scheme and declared that a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron CVX -0.70% in an Ecuadorian court cannot be enforced in the United States.

As our readers know, in 1993 Mr. Donziger sued Texaco (now merged with Chevron) for what he said was the company’s failure to clean up oil pits it drilled in Lago Agrio in the 1970s with state oil company PetroEcuador. Chevron had signed proof that it had cleaned its portion of the pits and had been absolved of any liability, but Mr. Donziger sniffed the potential windfall of a media-ready environmental “disaster” and sued the company for $113 billion. He enlisted all manner of celebrity helpers, including actress Daryl Hannah.

He won in Ecuador, but only thanks to what Judge Kaplan ... Read More

Chevron Wins U.S. Ruling Calling Ecuador Judgment Fraud

| March 5th, 2014 | No Comments »


Chevron Corp. (CVX) won a U.S. judge’s ruling that a multibillion-dollar pollution judgment issued in Ecuador was procured by fraud, making it less likely that plaintiffs will collect the $9.5 billion award.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan said today that the second-largest U.S. oil company provided enough evidence that a 2011 judgment on behalf of rain forest dwellers in the country’s Lago Agrio area was secured by bribing a judge and ghostwriting court documents. Kaplan oversaw a seven-week nonjury trial over Chevron’s allegations.

“The decision in the Lago Agrio case was obtained by corrupt means,” Kaplan said in an opinion that gave Chevron a sweeping victory. “The defendants here may not be allowed to benefit from that in any way.”

Chevron, based in San Ramon, California, was ordered to pay $19 billion to a group of farmers and fishermen by the Ecuadorean court. The award was reduced to ... Read More

La OEA ausente en Venezuela

| March 5th, 2014 | 2 Comments »
The American

La Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) se mantiene inerte en Venezuela, y la inestabilidad política, la crisis económica y la violencia del gobierno contra los manifestantes estudiantiles son hechos que están apunto de colapsar al país sudamericano. Desde hace años la OEA fue secuestrada por la petro-diplomacia de Venezuela y ha sido atada y amordazada.

El “consejo permanente”, compuesto por los embajadores de la región, tenía previsto reunirse la semana pasada para revisar los eventos en Venezuela a solicitud del presidente de Panamá, Ricardo Martinelli. La reunión fue abruptamente “pospuesta” después de que el presidente de la Republica Dominicana, Danilo Medina,  le pidiera a su representante ante la OEA, quien preside el consejo permanente, que no regresara a Washington para postergar la reunión. Medina siguió las instrucciones de Venezuela. El embajador dominicano regresó a Washington ayer y convocará al consejo con la venia del gobierno venezolano.

Los estados miembros de la OEA ... Read More

Eduardo Correa losing popularity in Ecuador

| March 4th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


It happened again. The defeat of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa in the municipal elections of Feb. 23 is not an isolated case. It is possible that 21st-century socialism, its ideological neighbors and the circuit of countries in the “Bolivarian” circle, known by acronym ALBA, are in a downturn.

There is a certain fatigue with the foolish language popularized by the late “Bolivarian“ leader, Hugo Chávez. The pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction. The Venezuelan spectacle, with Maduro’s bloody mistreatment of unarmed students, is too repugnant.

It happened earlier to Cristina Fernández in Argentina, to Manuel Zelaya in Honduras (he sacrificed his wife, Xiomara Castro, in the last round of elections), to José María Villalta in Costa Rica, to populist presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico, and Aníbal Carrillo in Paraguay.

That dusty statist discourse no longer convinces, although it retains its attractiveness in some places that are ... Read More

The Roots of Venezuela’s Disorder

| March 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal


On Wednesday, as Venezuelan strongman Nicólas Maduro was promising more repression to crush relentless student protests, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told reporters that Moscow plans to put military bases in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. A few days later a Russian spy ship arrived in Havana harbor unannounced.

The usual Cold War suspects are back. More accurately, they never left. Former KGB officer Vladimir Putin is warning President Obama that Russia can make trouble in the Americas if the U.S. insists on solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Meanwhile, Latin America’s aging Marxists are lining up behind Mr. Maduro, successor to the late Hugo Chávez.

Russia and Cuba are finally reaping the benefits of the revolution they have long sown in Latin America. Any chance of defeating them requires setting the record straight about how Venezuela got so poor.

Venezuelan politicians sold left-wing populism like snake oil for decades before Chávez came to power in ... Read More

Maduro y sus chivos expiatorios

| February 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Universal


El presidente Maduro, acorralado por la debacle económica que tiene encima y por las protestas estudiantiles no tiene otra salida que la de buscar chivos expiatorios. Así lo vemos culpando de esos hechos a la “oligarquía” o “la burguesía”, a los inescrupulosos y acaparadores industriales y comerciantes venezolanos, a los “fascistas” conspiradores y golpistas de la oposición; y en el frente externo, por supuesto, al gobierno de Estados Unidos por financiar a la oposición y las protestas, por su propensión imperialista, así como al de Colombia, Chile y Panamá por su supuesta injerencia en los asuntos internos del país. Toda una cortina de humo para ocultar la realidad.

Similares acusaciones han hecho sus aliados de rigor, los gobiernos de Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua y Ecuador. Por otro lado, algo más mesurados, organismos regionales como la Unasur, Mercosur, la Celac y el Secretario General de la OEA han expresado su ... Read More

How Chavez planted the seeds of violence

| February 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Globe and Mail-01


After witnessing the collapse of the cruel Yanukovych regime in Ukraine, Canadians should worry a bit more about a political nightmare in their own hemisphere. Venezuela has become the next civil-war scenario, unless something is done to encourage dialogue and political mediation.

This is not an over-the-top statement. At least 13 people have already died and many dozens more have been injured in three weeks of massive demonstrations in Venezuela’s main cities. What is less well understood is how the Bolivarian revolution led by late president Hugo Chavez has planted the seeds of violent resistance against any political challenge to its power.

For more than 10 years, Mr. Chavez sponsored parallel military organizations that did not answer to any regular chain of command – just to him. It is assumed that some of them respond to Mr. Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro, but others do not. According to the non-partisan International ... Read More

Electoral blow sparks changes in Ecuador but Correa still firmly in charge

| February 27th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times


A year ago Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s leftwing president, was riding high after winning a third term in a landslide election.

Some say his party, Alianza País, got too used to winning. This week, Correa was looking more subdued after the opposition won the country’s key mayoralties – Guayaquil, Cuenca and, most painfully, the capital Quito – in Sunday’s local elections.

The result is a setback for Correa’s “citizen’s revolution” and its aim of increasing the role of the state in the economy, as it means he can no longer count on the support of heavyweight mayoralties.

Correa called the results “painful” and said losing Quito was “very sad and dangerous” and could make Ecuador “ungovernable”. The fiery president even drew parallels with Venezuela, an ally that has seen a wave of street protests in recent weeks, saying some members of the opposition were “counting the days for the government to fall.”

He followed that on Wednesday by asking for the ... Read More

Ecuador’s local elections: Local difficulties

| February 26th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

ECUADOR’S president, Rafael Correa (pictured right), is setting records for the length of time he has spent in office with every day that passes. He remains very popular. Even so, his country’s voters dealt Mr Correa a blow on February 23rd. In city after city, Ecuadoreans handed victory to opposition candidates, leading to long faces at the headquarters of Alianza Pais (AP), Mr Correa’s political vehicle. The loss of the capital, Quito, where a centrist candidate, Mauricio Rodas trounced the incumbent AP mayor, Augusto Barrera (pictured left), smarted the most. “What has happened in Quito is very sad and dangerous,” said Mr Correa.

AP also failed to capture Mr Correa’s hometown, Guayaquil, the country’s largest city, and lost several other major cities like Cuenca and Santo Domingo de los Tsátchilas to opposition challengers. It failed to win any of Ecuador’s ten-biggest cities. Mr Correa insisted that AP continues to be the ... Read More

Ecuador’s president will seek cabinet shuffle, change to party

| February 26th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters


Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa on Tuesday said he will ask for his cabinet’s resignation and reshape his political party after the loss of the capital city of the oil-producing Andean nation to the opposition in local elections.

Opposition candidates on Sunday won elections to run the local governments of Quito and industrial city Cuenca, and maintained control of the economic capital and port city of Guayaquil in an unsettling result for the government.

“There will be a cabinet crisis,” Correa told reporters in the port city of Guayaquil, adding that he had considered changing his government ministers prior to the vote.

“The problem isn’t the government; it could win many posts … we believe in any case that fresh air is needed.”

He said he would restructure his Alianza Pais or Country Alliance movement that has sought to make its socialist “Citizen’s Revolution” the defining feature of its government, a project which ... Read More

Rafael Correa admitió el “doloroso” revés en Ecuador tras la derrota de su partido en Quito

| February 24th, 2014 | No Comments »

El presidente de Ecuador, Rafael Correa, admitió el “doloroso” revés sufrido por su partido en los comicios locales de este domingo en los que la oposición captó las alcaldías de las tres principales ciudades, incluida la de Quito, bastión oficialista.

Las fuerzas de centroderecha alcanzarían su mayor victoria desde la llegada de Correa al poder en 2007, al conquistar las alcaldías de Quito y Cuenca (sur), y conservar la de Guayaquil (suroeste), según las mediciones de las empresas Cedatos, Market y Opinión Pública (OPE).

“Qué bueno que hayamos tenido este remezón, es muy doloroso lo que ha pasado en Quito y peligroso”, declaró el mandatario en alusión a sus temores de que la capital de 2,2 millones de habitantes se convierta en un foco de ingobernabilidad.

En ese sentido, agregó que “tener estos remezones hacen bien” porque “probablemente estamos cayendo en sectarismos, probablemente nos estamos durmiendo en los laureles”.

Hacia las 22:00 locales (03:00 GMT) los primeros datos oficiales, sobre un 69% ... Read More

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