The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ecuador doubles welfare, seeks Argentine debt advice

QUITO, Jan 16 (Reuters) -

Ecuador on Tuesday doubled welfare payments to more than a million of the country's neediest and said it would seek advice on restructuring debt from Argentina.

The moves form part of the "citizens' revolution" launched by leftist President Rafael Correa, who took office on Monday, joining a growing club of leftist leaders in Latin America.

Correa, a U.S.-educated economics professor, has already scared investors with his pledges to renegotiate debt, rework oil contracts and end the lease of a military base used by U.S. troops.

He told a news conference he was raising the monthly payments to more than a million of the poor Andean state's most vulnerable, such as the sick and single mothers, to $30 from $15. Ecuador's population is 13 million.

Earlier, Economy Minister Ricardo Patino said Ecuador would further investigate debt restructuring with experts from Argentina, which declared modern history's largest sovereign debt default during the financial meltdown of 2001-2002.

"Next week the commission that renegotiated Argentina's external debt will come to hold talks and work out themes in debt legislation," he said in a television interview.

Argentina restructured some $100 billion of its debt, exchanging defaulted bonds for others, persuading creditors to accept far lower nominal values and longer maturities.

Correa made reducing his country's debt payments a linchpin of his electoral campaign. On Monday he said he would renegotiate "firmly," labeling some debt as corrupt and calling for international arbitration on it.

He has already publicly praised the Argentine model and has not discounted it for Ecuador, which has about $10 billion in foreign debt.

Patino said there was no time frame for starting negotiations with bondholders but they would take place at the "appropriate time."

No comments:

Post a Comment