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Monday, April 27, 2009

Lucio Gutiérrez to review deals with Chávez if he wins elections in Ecuador

El Universal
Latin America

Lucio Gutierrez, a former Ecuadorian president who is running for presidency again, will review the agreements between Ecuador and Venezuela if he becomes president in the general elections to be held next weekend, Gutiérrez told AFP on Wednesday.

"We will review the contracts and, if they are in interest of Ecuador we could keep them," said Gutierrez (2003-2005), who is a former army colonel and is a candidate for the vote to be held next Sunday.

President Rafael Correa and his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez have signed a number of agreements, particularly for energy investment, including the construction of the largest Ecuador's refinery in the Pacific Ocean, with an initial investment of USD 7 billion.

Gutiérrez added that even though he disagrees with Chávez's policies, if he won the election he would have good relations with Caracas.

"We will maintain superb relations with the Venezuelan government, since it cannot be otherwise. (Although) I disagree with Chávez, particularly with respect to his economic policies, I respect him," he said.

"In my view, Correa and Chávez, possibly with good intentions, have chosen the wrong path, that will bring more poverty to our peoples," he said.

According to a poll released on Monday, Correa would win with 50 percent of ballots the vote where he expects to be reelected. Gutiérrez has a 16 percent voting intention.

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