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 30, 2008

Ecuador Central Bank Board Names Vallejo President

By Stephan Kueffner

July 29 (Bloomberg) -- Ecuador's Central Bank board named former Agriculture Minister Carlos Vallejo as its second president in less than six months ahead of a Sept 28 referendum on a new constitution that would pare the bank's authority.

The five-member board picked Vallejo, its newest member, to succeed Robert Andrade, spokesman Patricio Naranjo said in a telephone interview. Andrade resigned a week ago without giving a reason.

The leadership change comes as President Rafael Correa campaigns for a new constitution that would strip the central bank of its autonomy, handing interest rate, foreign exchange, and lending policy to the executive branch. The central bank was already shorn of control over monetary policy when Ecuador adopted the U.S. dollar as its official currency in 2000.

``Vallejo hasn't shown himself to favor central bank independence,'' said Jaime Carrera, head of the Quito-based Fiscal Policy Observatory, a research institute.

Vallejo in an interview with Quito-based newspaper La Hora published yesterday said that Ecuador needed to be ready to drop the dollar in the event of a severe simultaneous decline in the economy's top two sources of foreign dollars -- crude oil and remittances sent home by Ecuadorean emigrants.

The bank has also begun to review the methodology of its macroeconomic data after criticism from Correa about the quality of the data and by economists like Carrera about delays in publishing the information. According to the bank, Ecuador's gross domestic product growth last year was 1.87 percent, the slowest in the Western Hemisphere.

``We've practically had no information since January,'' said Carrera. ``No matter what they publish we will question it.''

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