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.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ecuador Will Not Pay 'Illegitimate' Debt

Forbes, 11 July 2007.

Ecuador's leftist government will not pay "illegitimate" debt and, instead, will increase spending on health care and education, the economy minister said Wednesday.

Economy Minister Ricardo Patino told Ecuavisa television that 37 percent of the country's budget currently goes toward paying off its $16.4 billion national debt. He said he hopes to reduce that amount to 12 percent by 2010.

"We will not pay the illegitimate debt," Patino said. "This is not government propaganda."

Patino did not say what portion of the debt he considers illegitimate or why.

He said the reduction in foreign debt payments will allow the government to have a "bigger cushion" for emergencies.

"We are also going to have resources to increase the health budget by more than $200 million and the education budget by more than $200 million," Patino said.

When he took office six months ago, President Rafael Correa, a U.S.-trained economist, vowed to renegotiate the country's foreign debt and redirect resources to programs to help the poor. To date, the government has made its debt payments.

In April, the president announced that the country had paid off its debt to the International Monetary Fund.

Correa, a staunch ally of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, has criticized the "unacceptable conditions" of IMF loans and in April declared the World Bank's representative in Ecuador "persona non grata."

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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