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.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ecuador considers offer from Brazil's Odebrecht

QUITO, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Ecuador is analyzing an offer by Brazil's Odebrecht to end a dispute over reimbursement for damages to a hydroelectric plant that sparked government threats to end multimillion deals with the firm.

Ecuador sent dozens of troops on Wednesday to beef up security at the government-owned plant where Odebrecht workers are carrying out repairs, signaling tensions after the government gave the company until late Tuesday to meet its demands.

Ecuador has said the company has to make up for lost power after the San Francisco plant they built last year was shut down in June because of damage to machinery. The San Francisco plant is located 140 Km south of Quito.

"Odebrecht issued a communication yesterday that we are analyzing," said Jorge Glas, a government official overseeing negotiations.

He declined to provide more details.

Earlier on Wednesday television images showed troops guarding the state-run plant. Glas said they were sent to protect the facility, but he declined to provide details about who or what might be threatening the operation.

A spokesman for the Brazilian company, one of Latin America's largest construction companies, declined to comment on the details of the offer.

Odebrecht has contracts with the state to build a small regional airport, two hydroelectric plants and a rural irrigation project. The combined value of those projects is around $800 million, according to government officials.

President Rafael Correa, a left-wing ally of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, had threatened to expel Odebrecht if it failed to repair the plant that generates around 12 percent of the country's electricity power.

Correa has repeatedly threatened to end deals with foreign companies since he took office last year in an effort to boost contractual benefits to the state. But he has refrained from carrying out any of those threats so far.

Critics say Correa uses threats against foreign companies to boost support before polls. The U.S.-trained economist faces a tough referendum later this month to pass a new constitution that extends his authority in the oil-producing nation.

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