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Rafael Correa Defends Odebrecht Contracts in Ecuador

By: Ysol Delgado - Dec 27, 2016, 12:19 pm
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Rafael Correa maintained that the country has done a good job of watching out for this type of corruption.

EspañolEcuador President Rafael Correa said he will not accept the notion that Odebrecht operated illegally in Ecuador, and wants to identify who was truly involved in the Brazilian company’s projects.

In a press release issued by the Secom Secretary of Communication, President Correa called the United States Department of Justice’s claims about Odebrecht’s bribes in Ecuador “unfortunate.”

The US said the construction company paid US $788 million to 12 countries in Latin America and Africa through bribes.

Documents indicated that between 2007 and 2016, Odebrecht made corrupt payments in Ecuador for more than $35.5 million to government officials.

A Secom document stressed that it is the first to identify any inappropriate behavior damaging the country, but added that this type of bribery is difficult to detect.

“The conduct of the national government has always been transparent and determined in the interests of the country,” the statement said. “We firmly maintain that we have never allowed any harm to the country.”

President Correa said that in the Panama Papers scandal, the media disseminated unsupported allegations about Vice President Jorge Glas in a similar way.

“Unfortunately, there are clear similarities,” the statement said. “Odebrecht has been working in the country since the 1980s and in the rest of the cases (from the Department of Justice) we are analyzing a period from 2001 to 2016. In Ecuador’s case, it is only the period between 2007 and 2016.”

The statement also said the claims made by the US Department of Justice regarding the corruption case were unfortunate because it argues that public officials received fines in 2007 and 2008, just as Odebrecht was expelled from the country.

When structural failures were detected at the San Francisco hydroelectric plant, Rafael Correa ordered the expulsion of Odebrecht in September 2008, and rescinded all of its contracts.

In July 2010, the Brazilian construction company returned to Ecuador after agreeing to fix the hydroelectric plant.

It reportedly participated in contracted projects audited by the State Control Office.

Source: The Republic

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.

The ELN’s Shameless Demands for Peace Talks with Santos

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Dec 27, 2016, 11:51 am
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Español Colombia's National Liberation Army (ELN), in an end-of-year communiqué, said it hoped that in January "the respective sides would moderate their positions" and a peace agreement would be reached with the national government. In addition, they emphasized their desires to bring about peace, despite having carried out multiple terrorist attacks on Colombian infrastructure. The guerrilla group, which did not refer to the hostages it currently has in its possession, insisted that a bilateral ceasefire is necessary while the agreement is being negotiated; something that the government has never agreed to, given the mistrust that exists between the two parties in the midst of the negotiations that have been taking place. Read More: ELN Guerrilla Kills Two Police Officers in Colombia Read More: ELN Rebels Admit Kidnap of Colombian Mayor The ELN guerrilla group also criticized President Juan Manuel Santos for taking the decision to suspend the start of the public negotiation phase until the subversive group has released the politician Odín Sánchez, who has been kidnapped since April of 2016. Sanchez is a politician from Colombia's northwestern Choco department, on the Pacific Coast, who has been involved in lengthy civil and criminal proceedings with the Colombian government. The ELN is adamant that it will not agree to release Sanchez as a "unilateral condition of the agreement." googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); The negotiations, which were scheduled to begin on October 27, are being delayed by the ELN's refusal to comply with the government's demand. However, they have requested that two of their imprisoned combatants be released and have assured that they subject the kidnapped Sanchez to a political trial in order to determine if his liberation is warranted. The ELN guerrilla finally announced that it will attend a January 10 meeting in Ecuador, to discuss resumption of public negotiations. "Despite the difficult climate and conditions which impede the peace process, we will promptly arrive to the appointment between our two delegations," they said in their end-of-year communiqué. The ELN, considered even more radical than Colombia's larger and better known guerrilla group the FARC, has been waging an insurgency for more than five decades against the Colombian government, based largely from the vast and porous Colombia-Venezuela border region. Source: Infobae

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