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, July 25, 2007

Ecuador says could restructure debt at any moment

By Carlos Andrade

GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador, July 23 (Reuters) - Ecuador could seek to restructure its debt at any moment and an audit of its foreign debt will serve as key backing for the country's proposal, the economy minister told Reuters on Monday.

"The government at any moment could decide on a proposal on debt," Economy Minister Ricardo Patino said minutes before the naming of the commission to audit the debt. "But only the government will decide on the right time."

The commission would seek to determine "illegitimate" debt, or credits acquired by corrupt past administrations and which leftist President Rafael Correa has threatened not to repay.

The 13-member commission includes foreign debt critics, leftist advocates and the economy minister.

The group has a year to come up with any findings, but it could extend that deadline. A commission member said earlier it would be very difficult to determine "illegitimacy" in commercial Ecuadorean bonds.

The appointment of the group comes amid media speculation that Patino could step down this week to lead a new ministry of regional affairs after he was censured by Congress earlier this month.

When asked if he was going to resign Patino said, "I would feel comfortable in any public post."

Opposition lawmakers charged him of deliberately manipulating debt markets to benefit some investors after a secret video showed him making ambiguous comments about the debt.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

The scandal has dragged Correa's popularity down in recent months. leading to a September key vote to elect a 130-member assembly to rewrite the volatile nation's constitution.

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