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.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ecuador ex-economy minister gets top political job

QUITO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa on Sunday named his controversial former economy minister Ricardo Patino head of his political team and key government link to a powerful assembly rewriting the constitution.

Patino, who is considered part of Correa's inner circle, quit his economy ministry job in July after the opposition accused him of manipulating the debt markets. He then took the low-profile position of Coastal Affairs Minister.

During his six months as economy chief, Patino rattled Wall Street with his aggressive rhetoric, accusing creditors of cheating the country out of millions of dollars with overly expensive bonds.

His new post as Minister Coordinator of Politics puts Patino back into the spotlight. He is expected to work closely with a government-controlled assembly that earlier this month began a six-month debate on overhauling the constitution.

The assembly has closed down Congress and taken over its powers, clearing the way for Correa to boost state control over the Andean country's economy and implement radical reforms.

It is not clear yet how much policy-making power Patino will have in his new post, but his predecessor was considered an influential adviser to Correa.

Patino was accused by the opposition of manipulating the market while he was economy minister after a secret video showed him talking with foreign debt strategists about spooking the market to increase the price of debt insurance.

Patino has denied any wrong-doing and said he ordered the secret video to show how some Wall Street-insiders manipulate the market for their own benefit.

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