(Reuters) - Ecuador's leftist President Rafael Correa is the clear favorite to win an election on Sunday thanks to strong support from the poor majority that has benefited from hefty state spending on welfare projects and infrastructure. Here are some key facts about Correa and Ecuador: * Correa was born in 1963 to a lower middle-class family in the port city of Guayaquil. He earned an economics degree from the local university before winning scholarships in Belgium and the United States, where he received his doctorate in 2001. * He took office in 2007 promising a "Citizens' Revolution" to boost state revenue from Ecuador's natural resources and redistribute wealth among the poor. * Correa defaulted on billions of dollars of foreign debt in 2008, a move that alienated foreign investors but was applauded by locals. He backed the re-writing of Ecuador's constitution to tilt the balance of power toward the executive, and won re-election in 2009. * Following the default, Correa strengthened financial ties with China. Debt commitments to Beijing now total about $7.3 billion, including loans, advance payments for oil sales and energy project financing. * A former economy minister, Correa has boosted spending on infrastructure and social welfare projects, making him popular with poor voters from urban shantytowns to rural hamlets. * High global oil prices and increased tax revenue let him to continue spending heavily in the months leading up to the election, but he has acknowledged that the country is vulnerable if crude prices were to fall. * The father of three, who has a Belgian wife, comes across as a feisty leader who never shies away from a fight and appears to relish his bouts with international bondholders, oil companies, local bankers, the Catholic Church and private media owners. * His ongoing spat with local media has made Correa the target of press freedom advocates. He says they are biased in favor of the opposition and determined to present a bleak view of his government. He has sued several journalists and newspaper owners for libel, but pardoned them after winning the cases. * Political foes denounce his style as "caudillismo," a term used in Latin America for governments led by strongmen who stamp out opposition. Though Ecuador's opposition is divided, it has been holding a slim majority in Congress which let it block or delay legislation. Correa's Alianza Pais party is expected to win a majority in the legislature on Sunday, opinion polls say. * Correa's relationship with Washington has been stormy. He expelled the U.S. ambassador in 2011 after U.S. cables published by WikiLeaks alleged that his government turned a blind eye to police corruption. In 2007, he refused to extend a lease letting the U.S. military use the Manta airbase for counter-narcotics flights, and in 2009 he expelled two U.S. Embassy officials in another case involving the police. * He believes U.S. intelligence services are conspiring with his political rivals to undermine his rule. In an interview with WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange last year, he said they were both victims of persecution. He granted Assange political asylum, saying he feared Washington might try to have Assange extradited to face charges in the United States. The former computer hacker has been holed up in Ecuador's embassy in London since June. * Correa has had a tumultuous relationship with foreign investors. In late 2010, he asked oil companies to sign less profitable service contracts or leave the country. Since then, foreign oil companies have not invested in exploration. Whereas oil output in neighboring Colombia is booming thanks to foreign investment, Ecuador has been producing about 500,000 barrels a day for the past five years. * In the aftermath of a debt default, Ecuador adopted the U.S. dollar as its currency in 2000. At the time, the country was gripped by a financial crisis that pushed poverty levels up to about 70 percent. * Ecuador is a volcanic country of poor Andean villages, remote Amazon tribes, unspoiled beaches, huge banana plantations and bustling ports. The unique wildlife in its Galapagos Islands inspired Darwin's theory of evolution. * Ecuador has 15 million people and takes its name from the equator it straddles. A little larger in area than Britain, it is the smallest OPEC nation in terms of oil output and a leading banana exporter, and it is also a major exporter of coffee, shrimp and cocoa. (Reporting by Eduardo Garcia; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Kieran Murray and Lisa Shumaker)
Ecuador is seeking export positioning in China Title of the picture Title of the... The bilateral relation between Ecuador and the People's Republic of China enters into a golden period. According to Leonardo Arízaga, Ecuador's Ambassador in China, this reflects that the countries are seeking mutual understandings in political, economic, trade, social, academic and cultural affairs, and "it is a demonstration that our cooperation and friendship are unprecedented." Moreover, the constant exchange visits between departments, authorities and scholars of the two nations, and increased investment of China in boost the bilateral relations. The uniformity of the two nations in deplomatic attitudes consolidate development in multilateralism, environment protection, and restructuring of international financial system. What benefits Ecuador in the recently signed three agreements with China? State Councilor Liu Yandong officially visited Ecuador for many times. Ms. Liu, holding the highest office among women in the People's Republic of China, meets with President Rafael Correa and some Ministers of State during this visit to Ecuador. It not only indicates the appreciation of China to us, but is a good opportunity to sign three agreements of mutual benefits. • Economic and technical cooperation agreement: the Chinese government donates RMB 20 million (about USD 3 million) to Ecuador. • The Framework Agreement between the National Secretariat of Higher Education in Science, Technology and Innovation and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China: it aims to allocate financial, human and technical resources for higher education in the fields of science, promote comprehensive development in science and technology, and deepen the cooperation relationships in this field, especially in agriculture, renewable energy, metalworking, electronic power and other fields. • Grant Agreement in Power Equipment: herefrom, the Secretariat of Higher Education in Science, Technology and Innovation will feature 90 suits computer equipments for use in science and technology research. What will you first do to promote deplomatic and trade relations with China? Deepen diplomatic relations, push forward strategic and production programme, promote export of Ecuador and concern Ecuadorians living in China. There are daily meetings with companies with an interest to invest in Ecuador. They are not just saying that, but will soon pay group visit to our country. They have already determined a rough plan and designated legal representatives to Ecuador. This is the right choice for there are infinite chances in Ecuador. In addition to the Sinohydro Corporation, in charge of the Sinclair Hydroelectric Project Coca-Coda, I announce that China International Water and Electrical Corporation (CWE) is, from December 24, 2010, in charge of the construction project (242 MW) of Toachi Pilatón; other Chinese companies are also interested in the Sopladora Hydroelectric Project (487 MW), San Francisco Coal Mine (270 MW), Delsitanisagua (115 MW), etc. The China Railway Group (China Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group Co., Ltd.) is now in charge of the construction of Chone Multi-functional Project and other companies aim to make huge investment of millions in Ecuador. We have also officially proposed an Air Services Agreement and we are exploring resonally low prices to boost our exports to China. This is not easy. All countries in America have a trade deficit with China, except for mineral export. What are the main activities in the first quarter? High-level political meetings have been maintained to identify further Chinese investment in Ecuador, diversify export items to Ecuador; regular meetings with the colonial territory of Ecuador have also been held; make and launch a website of the Embassy of Ecuador and make trips to provinces we haven't been yet to find new opportunities for the country and push forward Air Service Agreement and the Double Taxation Convention. What are the expectations for 2011? Work on deepening reciprocal bilateral relations benefiting the two countries and bettern work on the Embassy. Related information: o China is the second largest economy with the largest trade surplus and is the second largest investor in the world. o It is the most populous country in East Asia and even in the world with more than 1,300 million people, about a fifth of world population. o It is the forth biggest country in the world with vast territories.
Ecuador, Russia Proclaim New Stage in Relations MOSCOW – Visiting Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev said on Thursday that their two countries have embarked on a new phase in bilateral relations. “It is the first visit of an Ecuadorian president to Russia,” Correa said at the Kremlin after the two heads of state signed what he described as “historic, tremendously important” agreements. And he urged closer links between Latin America and Russia, saying: “We have been very distant from each other and it’s time to recover the time lost.” In his comments, Medvedev hailed Ecuador as one of Russia’s “most important partners in Latin America” and said he was certain Correa’s visit “will provide a new impetus” to links between Moscow and Quito. Noting that bilateral trade reached $1 billion last year, he said he discussed with Correa to need to “optimize” commercial exchange. Medvedev did not hide his eagerness to sell Russian armaments to Ecuador and said he hoped the contract signed Thursday for the sale of two Mi-171E helicopters to the Ecuadorian army would be “just the start” of “technical-military cooperation” between the two nations. The Russian leader also hailed an impending agreement to eliminate visa requirements for citizens of each country who wish to travel to the other. Medvedev said his government and Correa’s see eye-to-eye on international issues and he expressed gratitude to Moscow’s “Ecuadorian partners for their understanding regarding some (Russian) concerns.” Though the Russian didn’t elaborate, media reports this week suggest that Ecuador is preparing to join Venezuela and Nicaragua in recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the two regions that declared independence from Georgia after Tbilisi’s August 2008 armed conflict with Moscow. The declaration accompanying the accords signed Thursday stresses that the strategic partnership between Russia and Ecuador is not aimed at any state or groups of states, and that it does not herald creation of a military alliance. Even so, the two countries say they plan to bolster cooperation “in the ambit of security and defense, in particular through active consultations among the relevant institutions.” On the economic front, Quito and Moscow urge the creation of binational joint ventures and pledge to forge closer connections between their respective banking systems. Another pact concerns nuclear power, while a memorandum of understanding covers energy cooperation between the two oil-producing nations. The Russian consortium Rostekhnologii and Ecuador’s Telecommunications Ministry also signed a preliminary agreement on the development of fourth-generation WiMAX mobile phone technology in the South American country. EFE
PUBLIC corporations routinely tell shareholders that their views matter. The Chevron Corporation, for example, said in its 2012 proxy statement: “Your board welcomes dialogue on the topics presented in the stockholder proposals on the following pages.” So it might seem odd that last month Chevron subpoenaed one of its investors, Trillium Asset Management, which has sponsored numerous shareholder proposals at Chevron over the years. The oil company demanded documents related to those proposals. The subpoena also asked for records of discussions Trillium had about these proposals with the media.
It is unusual to make such a demand from a shareholder, corporate governance experts say. While companies often try to keep shareholder resolutions off the ballot by contending that they do not follow the rules, going beyond that is rare. Trillium oversees $1 billion in assets and specializes in what is known as sustainable investing. It focuses on environmental, social and governance factors in its investments and pursues shareholder advocacy programs on these issues. In an interview last week, Jonas Kron, Trillium’s director of shareholder advocacy and corporate engagement, declined to discuss the subpoena. But it is part of a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations lawsuit Chevron has filed against an army of parties involved in bringing an environmental case against the company in Ecuador almost two decades ago. In February 2011, the court in Ecuador ruled against Chevron, awarding the plaintiffs more than $18 billion. The Ecuadorean matter centered on claims that Texaco Petroleum, which Chevron acquired in 2001, had polluted sections of a remote region in the Amazon. Chevron maintained that Texaco successfully remediated the site years before, in a $40 million cleanup. Chevron has not paid the judgment. The company has said it does not believe that the Ecuador judgment is enforceable “in any court that observes the rule of law.” It maintains that the Ecuadorean case was riddled with fraud and says it will “continue to pursue relief against Ecuador in our pending arbitration and against the plaintiffs’ representatives in our RICO action pending in New York.” Last July, a federal judge in the United States declined to declare the judgment unenforceable; he did note that aspects of the trial in Ecuador were tainted. And a judge in Argentina froze the assets of a local Chevron unit last month as the court determines whether it should enforce the Ecuadorean judgment. Trillium is not a defendant in Chevron’s RICO suit. But it, along with other shareholders, has questioned how Chevron has handled all this. Earlier this year, for example, 40 Chevron shareholders overseeing $580 billion in total assets signed a letter asking to meet with company management to discuss the matter. Chevron declined. When asked about the company’s subpoena to Trillium, Justin Higgs, a Chevron spokesman, acknowledged that it was not standard operating procedure. But, Mr. Higgs said, it reflects the company’s belief that Trillium was working closely with plaintiffs in the Ecuador case to pressure Chevron into a settlement. That belief, he said, is supported by documents produced in the suit. In an interview on Friday, Randy Mastro, a lawyer at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher who represents Chevron in the case, said: “Our case is about a massive fraud and extortion scheme for billions of dollars. The conspirators enlisted a network of not-for-profits, so-called shareholders who were acting independently but really acting in collusion to get out their false story. We have a right to take discovery of those shareholders and those groups they enlisted to try to find out the methods of the scheme.” Among the concerns Trillium has raised are Chevron’s disclosures to investors about the potential liabilities associated with the judgment. In 2011, the fund manager asked the Securities and Exchange Commission’s corporate finance unit to review whether Chevron had adequately explained “the scope and magnitude of financial and operational risk arising from the Ecuador judgment.” In the letter, Trillium noted Chevron’s public contention that the uncertain legal environment in Ecuador meant the company could not estimate “a reasonably possible loss” in the case. But Trillium contrasted this stance with deposition testimony in the RICO case from Rex Mitchell, Chevron’s deputy controller. Mr. Mitchell said the company faced “irreparable damages” if the Ecuador plaintiffs succeeded in enforcing their judgment by seizing Chevron’s assets. It is unclear how the S.E.C. responded to this request. Mr. Higgs, the Chevron spokesman, said all of the company’s disclosures had been appropriate.
Some 2.9 million pounds (3.3 million euros, or $ 4 million), is the amount that has spent the Scotland Yard to monitor the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, who remains as a refugee at the embassy of Ecuador in London for 8 months. Police officers remain 24 hours a day stationed around the building where Ecuador has its embassy in the central district of Knightsbridge. The costs are related to the usual payment of salaries to staff, plus overtime. UK has already spent about $ 4.5 million in watching WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, current refugee in the Embassy of Ecuador in London.
Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy on June 19, 2012, to avoid being extradited to Sweden, over alleged sex crimes. Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador’s foreign minister, last February 2, on declarations at New York, said his government “keeps the conversation” with the UK, but did not know of progress on a possible solution to the asylum granted to Assange.
Originally posted by JohnPhoenix
Chevron stated they will not pay. Period. If they appeal and lose again, and still refuse to pay, Ecuador should seize all the Chevron assets in country and kick Chevron out of the country making it illegal for chevron to ever work in Ecuador again. They can even jail all it's high ranking officials or call for their extradition if they are in another country.
I'd do it. I'd screw Chevron but good. I think these courts need to take a tough stand on these criminals.Send in the Ecuador Army if they have to.