Ecuador’s Ex-President Correa Loses Slander Suit against Journalist Martín Pallarés

By: Karina Martín - Jul 4, 2017, 2:30 pm
The trial took place without the plaintiff present, who was also counter-suing for defamation on the grounds that the trial had negatively affected his general reputation. (Twitter)

EspañolJournalist Martín Pallares has been found innocent of all charges made against him by Ecuador’s former President Rafael Correa.

Pallares, a journalist with the website 4Pelagatos, had been accused of slander for an opinion piece he wrote about Correa’s connection to the Odebrecht scandal, in which officials took bribes from the Brazilian construction company in exchange for building contracts.

The trial took place without the plaintiff present, who was also counter-suing for defamation on the grounds that the trial had negatively affected his general reputation.

Pallares would have spent 15 to 30 days in prison if found guilty, but, as he pointed out himself on his Twitter account, the only witness presented in Correa’s defense denied that their opinion had changed as a result of reading the article.

The article written by Pallares — titled “If Correa Were Caught in a Robbery, He Could Say that He Was Holding the Money for Safekeeping” — discussed Correa’s claim that a US $1 million payment by Odebrecht to former Minister of Electricity Alecksey Mosquera had been a “private deal.”

“I believe that the fates of all Ecuadorian journalists and their right to express opinions and criticize public figures were in play today in the Odebrecht case,” Pallares said after having been found innocent.

Pallares is not the only journalist who has been taken to court by the former President. Between 2008 and 2016, Correa opened at least six personal defamation suits against journalists or journalistic institutions.

Correa sued journalists Juan Carlos Calderón, and Cristhian Zurita, and Pichincha Bank for non-material losses. The former President also sued the daily newspaper El Universo for slander, which led to the incarceration of three of its directors and one former editor for three years.

Sources: El Universo; La República; El Comercio; Extra.

Karina Martín Karina Martín

Karina Martín is a Venezuelan reporter with the PanAm Post based in Valencia. She holds a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages from the Arturo Michelena University.

Corruption in Mexico Drives Local Companies to Budget for Bribery Costs

By: Elena Toledo - @NenaToledo - Jul 4, 2017, 1:41 pm
Corruption in Mexico

Español The first National Survey of Regulatory Quality and Governmental Impact on Enterprises revealed that in 2016 businesses and companies of all sizes in Mexico, paid 1,600 million pesos (USD $80 million) in bribes related to paperwork, requests for public services, and to facilitate regulatory approval from federal, state, or municipal government authorities. According to Adrián Franco, Director of Statistics of Government, Security, and Justice of the National Institute of Geographical Statistics and Informatics (INEGI): "The national cost of corruption between government authorities and economic units that carry out paperwork or requests during 2016 is estimated at 1.6 million pesos (USD $80 million)." Read More: Mexico: Manuel Obrador Holds Slight Lead in 2018 Presidential Elections Read More: New Study Shows Just How Out of Control Violence in Mexico has Become Julio Santaella, president of INEGI, said that: "The economic units interviewed answered that the most frequent acts of corruption include 64.6% who reported payments to expedite procedures, 39.4% reporting payments for fines and penalties, and 30.7%paying bribes to obtain licenses or permits."   googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); });   According to the study, of the 4.5 million companies operating in Mexico, each spent an average of 12,243 pesos (USD $612.15) to streamline business transactions or receive operating licenses. In the case of micro enterprises, they invested 9,000 pesos (USD $450), while small businesses reported corruption payments averaging 35,000 pesos (USD $1,750), while medium-sized enterprises allocated 84,806 pesos (USD $4,240. 30) to bribery, and larger companies 48,425 pesos (USD $2,421.25). "82% of companies report that acts of bribery of government authorities are frequent," said Adrian Franco, director of Statistics for Government, Security, and Justice of the INEGI. The states with the greatest perception of corruption include Tabasco, Veracruz, and Mexico City, while at the local level the most corrupt areas are Venustiano Carranza and Álvaro Obregón, as well as the municipality of Coatzacoalcos. On behalf of the federal government, Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo said: "I am not surprised by the number, because the savings we have had until today as a federal government in regulatory matters is more than 180,000 million pesos (USD $9 billion). Clearly what you have to do is create an environment to boost competitiveness and productivity and that involves many issues: companies should not be forced to squander valuable resources to strengthen their security on an individual level." Source: Noticieros Televisa

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