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Ecuador’s Correa Claims Odebrecht Didn’t Bribe his Government

By: Ysol Delgado - Dec 26, 2016, 1:05 pm
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Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa strongly denied impropriety in the awarding of Odebrecht contracts (Andes).

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Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa defended Odebrecht’s contracts for the central hydroelectric dam at Mandariacu, which is located in the provinces of Pichincha and Imbabura, in Quito and Cotacachi.

Through his account on the social network Twitter, the president wrote that “the relevant contracts are not inflated,” and also noted that the contracts in question have been audited 100%.

Mandariacu is the hydroelectric power plant that was built by the Brazilian company Odebrecht and inaugurated by President Rafael Correa in March of 2015.

On that same date, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (CNA) indicated that the original contract for the project work was negotiated for USD $124,881,25o in the Odebrecht award, but then reported that it increased to USD $227,389,966, representing a surcharge of 82%.

Currently, members of the National Anti-Corruption Commission are being sued by Esteban Albornoz, Minister of Electricity, who has accused them of libel. Last Thursday, the United States Department of Justice released sworn testimony from several Odebrecht executives who admitted to paying $33.5 million in bribes to Ecuadorian officials between 2008 and 2016.

Left-leaning president Rafael Correa has headed the Andean nation since 2007, but says he will not be running in 2017 presidential elections, indicating a desire to move with his family to Europe to pursue academia.

He was one of the iconic leaders of the past generation in Latin America who spearheaded the so-called “pink tide” movement, in reaction to right-wing governments, neoliberalism, and US foreign policy in Latin America.

Closely allied with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, and Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Correa presided over a period of relative stability and prosperity in Ecuador, but was not without his detractors on both the left and the right.

In 2010 he famously faced down a coup attempt, and repeatedly butted heads with indigenous groups over natural resource management. He also face international criticism for placing restrictions on freedom of the press.

Source: La Republica

Ysol Delgado Ysol Delgado

Ysol Delgado is a Venezuelan reporter with the PanAm Post from Mexico City. She specializes in public relations, digital marketing, and investigative journalism. Follow her on Twitter: @Ysolita.

Argentina: Finance Minister Resigns in Dispute over Income Tax Reform

By: Raquel García - @venturaG79 - Dec 26, 2016, 12:26 pm
Finance Minister Prat Gay has resigned following clashes with Macri's economic team (

Español Following several days of rumors, on Monday the resignation of the Argentine Minister of Finance and Alfonso Prat Gay was confirmed, thus marking the second resignation in President Mauricio Macri's administration in less than a week, following the departure of the head of Aerolíneas Argentinas, Isela Costantini. The announcement was made by Chief of Staff Marcos Peña, who confirmed that he asked for the resignation of Prat-Gay by order of the President. Prat Gay allegedly met with President Macri at his vacation home over the Christmas holidays in a private meeting. Read More: Argentina Returns to International Bond Markets 15 Years After Default Read More: Argentina and US Sign Agreement to Share Tax Information "We want to greatly thank Alfonso for his work. He has managed a challenging ministry, in a challenging year for the economic transition and has achieved a return to a floating exchange rate, the normalization of international financial relations, the possibility of improving the situation with income taxes, and now also the fiscal austerity," said Peña. According to the head of the Cabinet, the President decided to replace Prat Gay "because of differences over the direction of the economic team. We thought the best thing for this team at this stage was to make a change," added the chief of staff. The ministry that Prat Gay leaves behind will be divided into two areas and will be headed by the economist Nicolas Dujovne (in Treasury) and Luis Caputo (in Finance). Caputo, who is a finance specialist, is currently part of the Prat Gay team and played an active role in negotiating with the so-called "vulture funds". Prat Gay had been replaced by President Macri himself from his role in the negotiations over the income tax reform that eventually became law last Thursday. In his place Macri appointed the Deputy Chief of Cabinet, Mario Quintana, while also naming Rogelio Frigerio the Minister of the Interior, and Alberto Abad the head of the Federal Public Revenue Agency (AFIP). googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); Prat Gay was appointed Minister of Finance of the nation by President Mauricio Macri on December 10, 2015. Prat Gay publicly noted that the Argentine economy did not meet the benchmarks which were promised by the government for the second half of this year. His disagreements with the president of the Central Bank (BCRA), Federico Sturzenegger, on the subject of inflation and interest rates were well-known. Prat Gay was president of the Central Bank, from 2002 to 2004, during the presidencies of Eduardo Duhalde and Néstor Kirchner. He was national deputy for the City of Buenos Aires - between 2009 and 2013, elected by the Acuerdo Civico y Social party. Source: Clarín, Infobae

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