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martes, 15 de agosto de 2017

The Dirty Scoundrel Correa



The massive corruption under the Correa administration has become the paralyzing force for his so-called “citizens revolution”. The bribery claims of Odebrecht is only the tip of the iceberg as such behavior is more than likely to be exposed with other Brazilian firms and Chinese companies. The dishonest manner that Correa and his thieves had managed the country has wiped away any of his infrastructure progress.
In a nation that most politicians have been known to pursue gains for themselves and nothing for the country is not surprising, but the level of complete corruption is appalling, especially when Correa has called himself the man of clean hands and warmed hearts.  Today we have several fugitives of the Correa administration in the United States: Pedro Delgado, Carlos Polit etc. A corrupt attorney general Galo Chiriboga should have been prosecuted for aiding and abetting as he had warned Carlos Pareja Yanuzzelli to escape as soon as he had received evidence form his counterpart in Panama. The corruption under Rafael Correa is not only bribery and massive over prices in all the projects but deals with falsified documents, price manipulation of contracts, over pricing of projects, persecution of political opponents, kickbacks, manipulation of the courts, anything and everything that facilitated them to get money out of the infrastructure programs with the sole purpose of enriching themselves, but claiming all along to be defending the poor and the end result of leaving all Ecuadorians poorer.
Rafael Correa and his minions were constantly blaming the past politicians as corrupt. For over ten years Alianza Pais blamed other parties to be politically corrupt. But now it is clear that everyone in Alianza Pais was making money in the most corrupt possible way.
It is rather shocking to see the level of corruption. Now audio and video has surfaced where the controller of the nation is bragging about manipulating judges so he could have imprisoned even the anti-corruption members. In addition, it has become obvious that people involved with these politician were also corrupt. Now everyone seems part of the coverup. If Correa and Glas were getting what they wanted so were the rest. It is impossible that they did not know. The minister of the economy had to know how much they were paying, the controller was bribing people for tainted reports, the attorney general served as a wall of protection for the corrupt instead of prosecuting the guilty parties. The tragedy is that all those that worked with these politicians were guaranteed financial gain too and the whole system was corrupt.
Only now we can see the incompetence of Rafael Correa. The so called emblematic projects were more a tool to enrich themselves, so it never mattered the cost as long as they could enrich themselves. While there was weak management of the government which was fueling political corruption in every ministry. It is not only the fact that the Central bank was presided by a cousin of Correa with no real degree in economics. The controller was living mostly in Miami and traveling to Ecuador just to collect briberies from Odebrecht while people under him were writing fraudulent reports attesting how well the infrastructure projects were going.  Now an audit and inspection of the all those projects becomes necessary because nothing that was reported maybe accurate. For all we know all those hydraulic plants and the refineries may start failing badly because the reports that the job was done well was falsified. Lenin Moreno may have to spend a lot of money having those projects checked properly and should fine Odebrecht and other firms complicit in the scams. It is clear that the right people were not appointed for these jobs, Correa kept assigning the same people to different ministries as if they could possibly have knowledge and abilities to do so. Instead corruption reigned and the country is suffering as a result.


The game is rigged — you know it, I know it and so does a growing number of Ecuadorians know it. Society is the big loser in all this. Politicians have been financed for their campaigns and paid to approve projects and that became a deepening culture of corruption, an endemic feature of the Correa government.
Now that the media has been liberated of the constant threats by Correa’s lawsuits there is not a week that goes by without a media exposé of yet another corruption scandal involving a politician, corporate executive, revolving-door opportunist or a local landlord or businessman. Ecuador’s culture of corruption seems to penetrate all nearly aspects of economic relations.
Nothing exemplifies the deepening corruption facing the nation than the useless repair of the Esmeraldas refinery. More than $2,200 million dollars spent and there was no increase in production and it needs to be fixed again. The controller issued false reports and now the refinery is not working.  
The Refineries tale is a crime in three acts. The first involves the massive cost of repairs in Esmeraldas and Shushufindi where at least $4,400 million dollars has been spent combined and there was no increase whatsoever in production or improvement of quality of the product as the gasoline they produced is of terrible quality.  The second part is the Pacific Refinery where millions have been spent and all they can show for is a parcel of land cleared of all trees. The third part is that as of today Ecuador has barely any refining capacity of gasoline and must purchase fuel.


The utter corruption – and incompetence – of official political-governmental system in Ecuador is a mess. The new president has claimed to be fighting corruption and he has done a 180 degree change from his predecessor Rafael Correa. However, he has kept the same inept economic team that lead to the current disaster and no real changes can be expected in the economic front.
The Ecuadorian economy is a fusion of socialism with capitalism, with the state attempting to balance the public good, citizens’ needs, public enterprises managed by bureacrats while pretending to have interests of the private gain, capitalist profit. Nevertheless, Correa implemented a disastrous economic system of subsidies for the poor and massive expenditure in government bureaucrats, combined with large infrastructure projects and very little investment in commerce and industry. Despite the stupidity of so called “economic gurus” who proclaimed an Ecuadorian miracle I had warned way back in 2013 that such system will deliver an economic collapse for Ecuador. Correa raised taxes to levels that has destroyed commerce, industry and agriculture all claiming to serve the purpose of facilitating the redistribution of taxes, public and corporate. There’s been two “winners,” the government and all corrupt politicians who had benefitted though all kinds of scams to steal from the country and private interests tied to Correa who created monopolies in the country.
The Correa government took control of the newspapers, TV stations and radio stations claiming that their owner had defrauded the Ecuadorian people. However, Correa never disposed of those assets and used them to control the information in Ecuador as if they were his personal outlets of information. It initially claimed that he will sell to give back to Ecuadorians who lose money in banks owned by the Isaias family. It never happened and far from doing anything for the people the “stolen assets” have remained in the hands of the government. Maybe they were already placed in ownership of Correa and Glas.
Private greed turns the public infrastructure into a terrain of short-term plunder for questionable politicians and opportunities corporations. In fact, the biggest crimes may have been committed this way. It is possible that Correa, Glas and other government officials have become shareholders of some companies involved in providing telecommunication services, oil services and building services. Then they have provided contracts to those corporations and used “testaferros” to get kickbacks. The amounts of money could be billions.
Political corruption is endemic to the Ecuadorian system of government, operating at central government, the assembly and provincial and local levels. This is the corruption that Moreno and others rail against – and it is as old as the nation itself. One early scandal involved Galo Chiriboga and Petrobras but instead of being investigated he became the Attorney General although he is an engineer by trade.
In 2017, The anti-corruption — Citizen’s for Responsibility and Ethics in Ecuador – were sued by the controller and only months later it was discovered that Polit has received millions of dollars in bribes from Odebrecht.
Pay-to-play politics is a bi-partisan game that operates at all levels of government and, occasionally, some of those with the dirtiest hands are exposed. Carlos Polit now a fugitive living in Miami, Florida; Alex Bravo, Jorge Glas, Pedro Merizalde and Rafael Correa himself sooner or later will be involved in trials for corruption. Despite efforts of the current Attorney General to protect some of his friends and previous associates slowly are being charged with bribery and misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars of government funds.
It is a matter of time but eventually all this corruption will become evident at the provincial level, the arrest and conviction of several people serving as Mayors is not far away.


Corruption as economic life
Socialism in Ecuador became a roller-coaster economic system distinguished by a flush period of exuberance as well as the current economic crisis that involves the corruption scandals of so many functionaries of the Correa government.

The giant accounting frauds that had to hide the massive briberies and overprices involving Petrobras, Odebrecht and other firms has to become one the key aspects of the Moreno administration to fight corruption and bring out the true level of crimes committed under Rafael Correa. The tragedy is that it is not only the government but several companies that are involved, the corrupt accounting firms that have kept the real numbers in hiding, the investors of those crooked companies that now must be fined and prosecuted, the Ecuadorian people that have to pay the massive loans that Correa obtained to pay off all these illegalities.
Back in 2013 I had already identified a number of factors that were going to cause the current financial crisis, including: excessive pay for bureaucrats; poor regulatory oversight; and the absence of sufficient consequences for misdeeds. This failure to prosecute high-level officials involved in crimes against the nation will result in a financial crisis. The key actors in the mess (Correa, Chiriboga, Glas, Polit, Moreno) for the most part walked away from the wreckage unscathed. A perverse fact that does nothing to discourage bad behavior.
The deepening culture of corruption was precisely the reason why Ecuadorians voted for Correa back in 2006 as they had lost faith not only in government but corporations as well.  Confidence in Institutions is extremely low as most people are deeply suspicious of financial institutions and major companies. Confidence in banks and financial institutions has declined even further and Ecuadorians openly talked about bankers as “usurer with ties”.


Corruption and murder
The Ecuadorian landscape is littered with the bodies of dead, disabled and diseased people who’ve paid the ultimate price for denouncing the crimes and corruption of the Correa administration.
Pick your poison for no ministry is exempt from corruption, no matter how you try to overlook, the fact is that Correa used a revolving door where he kept switching, reassigning, replacing ministers from one placed to another. But in reality, it was the same people taking on different titles because is none other than Correa who was managing the entire corruption. If any of those people were clean then they would have exposed the crimes long ago. Maybe they were afraid as the long list of reporters and whistle blowers show: Correa should pay for those crimes or the death will pass the bill.
February 13, 2006, reporter: José Luis Léon Desiderio. Http://www.ifex.org/ecuador/2006/02/24/dos_periodistas_asesinados/en/

February 14, 2006 Photographer: Raúl Suárez Sandoval http://cpj.org/es/2006/02/do-periodistas-asesinados.php

June 7, 2006 reporters http://www.hoy.com.ec/noticias-ecuador/aumentan-asinatos-brutales-236391.html)

February 24, 2008, journalist: Carlos Navarrete, http://www.emol.com/noticias/internacional/2008/02/24/293893/asesinan-a-ex-director-of-diario-el-telegrafo-de -guayaquil.html

April 24, 2010 ,. Former adviser to Ricardo Patiño: Quinto Floresmilo Pazmiño Solórzano

July 1, 2010, Byron Baldeón, journalist See http://www.eldiario.com.ec/noticias-manabi-ecuador/234491-matan-a-periodista-del-diario-extra/

December 29, 2010, the former commander of the FAE Jorge Gabela Bueno http://www.eluniverso.com/2010/12/30/1/1422/ex-comandante-fae-resistio-tercera-operacion.html

Http://www.lahora.com.ec/index.php/noticias/show/1101066209

Http://unvrso.ec/0003L81

October 11, 2011 Maribel Elizabeth Chancay, the widow of Quinto Pazmiño http://unvrso.ec/0002ALM

August 22, 2012, Jorge Oswaldo Talledo Garay, 47 years old. Http://unvrso.ec/0003TGR

September 2, 2012, journalist Luis Arnoldo Ruiz Camposano See http://unvrso.ec/000406R

September 16, 2012, retired military man José María Q.P., 55, http://unvrso.ec/00041PV

It was the revelations and letters to Obama, the Department of Justice, treasury and the FBI by me in June 7 2015 that eight months later resulted in Panama Papers. It was the revelations by Fernando Villavicencio and Clever Jimenez that resulted in the refineries scandal although I had exposed several times the overprices and absurdity of the Pacific refinery. No industrial sector is immune for charges of corruption, the pharmaceutical industry relating to kickbacks and pay-offs to government officials; and the oil industry and the illegal sale of Ecuadorian petroleum. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
In the end Rafael Correa ended up being a famous phrase of Karl Marx,  “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” We’ve entered an era of tragic farce, an era in which a growing proportion of Ecuadorians know the game is rigged, that government and corporations are — individually and colluding together – corrupt institutions. One can only wonder if there will be any change under Lenin Moreno when most of the people in his government are the same.

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