NEXT WEEK I’LL RETURN TO ECUADOR
Alvaro Noboa assured journalist Diego Oquendo, Vision Radio Station, that next week he will return to Ecuador to register his candidacy and start his electoral campaign. He said that if the National Electoral Council prevents him to become a candidate, it will show, one more time “the monumental political persecution carried by Rafael Correa against him.”
He pointed out that he has no impediment to run for President, there are no legal actions against me, nor an enforceable sentence.
“The regulations of the National Electoral Council, as everything it does, are dedicated to me.” “They want to prevent my candidacy and have me imprisoned in Ecuador with an illegal prohibition to leave the country.” In spite of that, he assured “I’ll return next week.”
Noboa announced that if he is not allowed to run for president, his political party, PRIAN, will participate for the National Assembly elections. He reminded the huge support he received in the past elections, and “that is the reason why Correa is persecuting me, he is afraid, I am his biggest opponent.”
Diego Oquendo: Let’s give a big welcome to the Counselor with the greatest warmth and interest, and I am going to ask if he would allow me to formulate a very short introduction before we establish the link that I am going to have with him, with this gentleman
Attorney Mr. Álvaro Noboa Pontón has announced his fifth presidential candidacy in light of the elections of 2013. In fact, he participated in 4 earlier campaigns, specifically, in years 1998, 2001, 2006, 2009. In his third run, in 2006, Attorney Noboa Pontón won the first electoral run against the current Chie of Staff, Rafael Correa Delgado.
Álvaro Noboa has said that the PRIAN, List 7, together with thousands of independent Ecuadorians, have asked him to run again as a presidential candidate in the next elections.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the person in our interview is an influential businessman, owner of one of the most important economic groups of the country.
Mr. Álvaro, a very good day to you. Tell us, be so kind as to tell us how the beautiful and enterprising city of Guayaquil woke up this morning, and how are you feeling?
Álvaro Noboa: Thank you very much. It’s a beautiful morning here in Guayaquil, I feel very positive, and well, with a desire to work and to undertake this interview in the best way possible.
Diego Oquendo: Thank you very much, Counselor. The same goes for me. My aim is for this to be a cordial, mutually respectful, but also direct conversation.
I know that just the mere fact of mentioning the name of the IRS can put you in a little bit of a bad mood, right ? I assume that this mere reference puts you in a bad mood, Mr. Álvaro. In a very concise way, Counselor, because later we are going to talk about political issues, strictly political, but in a very concise manner, tell us: what is the true story of the debate that you and your businesses maintained with the IRS? On all corners, they say that you and your companies owe millions of dollars to the IRS. What is the true story? We are all ears.
Álvaro Noboa: We owe absolutely nothing as an individual taxpayer. I am the largest taxpayer in Ecuador. If you take a look at the IRS lists, as an individual taxpayer I pay more than Mr Fidel Egas or Eljuri or Isabel Noboa or other important business figures in Ecuador.
As the Noboa Group, when you add together all the businesses of the group, there are 10 groups that pay the most taxes in Ecuador. In the specific case of Bananera Noboa, in 2005, they charged Dole approximately $700,000; Chiquita $39,500; Rey Banpac, $14,219, and Del Monte, $11,748. From us, they are trying to charge $49,206.895, plus fines and interest coming to $98,000,000, or that is to say, they were trying for the most part to charge us a thousand times more than the other exporters who have a similar volume. All of us pay the producers similar quantities, we sell in similar markets, we obviously sell at competitive prices that are very similar to one another, and for that reason it’s nothing more than persecution on the part of the government, on the part of Rafael Correa, just as it is persecution to have put me in Alianza País, so that at the moment of registering my candidacy, I couldn’t register it, and they alleged that I was already in Alianza País for which reason I couldn’t be a presidential candidate. Just like it is also persecution the fact that each time we go to Court for some case, the judge who decides for us in this or that case, is fired, dismissed, a penal case is brought against him. It’s very similar to the El Universo case. I have followed the El Universo case very closely, where the judge who decided for the government was promoted and his post confirmed; the one who didn’t decide for the government, was immediately dismissed.
Diego Oquendo: We are talking via telephone to Guayaquil, and there with Mr. Álvaro Noboa Pontón. Mr. Álvaro, this aims to be a very cordial dialogue with you and, with all due respect, now that no one is listening, Mr. Álvaro, tell me, none of your businesses, none of your lawyers, has ever had contact with the lawyers, trying to get a decision in your favor? Otherwise, it’s impossible to explain how that, eventually, some judge decided in favor of Álvaro Noboa and your businesses, if you please?
Álvaro Noboa: They haven’t allowed us to litigate. For 3 years we’ve been in a discussion that hasn’t even got to the beginning of the trial. This is the state of persecution that is not just taking place against us, it also takes place against many politicians and journalists who speak out against the regime.
Diego Oquendo: You mentioned…and thank you for the brevity of the response, Mr. Álvaro. You mentioned the word, “persecution.” You have said, more or less, “Rafael Correa will intensify the persecution against me via the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS will try to ruin the Exportadora Bananera company.” I ask you: can political antagonism be taken that far, Counselor? Could it be that your dealings before the Ecuadorian Revenue offices haven’t been sufficiently clarified?
Álvaro Noboa: Well, if you believe that El Universo simply didn’t clarify things well, and for that reason they did as they did; if you believe that there are a lot of people in prison in Ecuador for having opposed Rafael Correa; yes, you can come to see that persecution can go…. because Rafael Correa has still not been able to answer why Del Monte is being charged $11,000¸ Chiquita $39,500, while they want to charge Noboa $98,000,000. Or, that is to say, I believe that makes sense to you and to any Ecuadorian.
Diego Oquendo: Counselor, I believe that my position towards the current government and towards all governments, is an absolutely clear position. You can believe me, I speak to you from the depths of my consciousness and my personal conviction. I am a man who has never committed to any government and I have no commitment whatsoever to the current government. What’s more, I am a clear critic of this government, nevertheless recognizing some merits that this government could have. It’s not to be forgotten, either, that I have been mentioned more than once in the famous Saturdays, so that this remains perfectly clear, I have no commitment to Citizen’s Revolution, and neither to its head, Economist Correa. Counselor, allow me to say that there is great interest in this conversation. Counselor, let’s move on to other topics, but I don’t want any ends to remain untied.
Rafael Correa wrote via his Twitter account, addressing you: “Look, first pay your taxes and open your mind before speaking to me. The truth is that Alvarito’s nth candidacy has us really worried.” Allow me to say, Mr. Álvaro, before hearing your reply, that I am not in agreement with the content of this message. That kind of aggressiveness is truly uncomfortable, more still, if the author is the citizen President. Fine, you don’t mince your words either, if you please.
Álvaro Noboa: In accordance with the surveys that I have hear, that we carry out periodically, Rafael Correa is falling periodically. He is now at 36%, Álvaro Noboa is at 21%, Guillermo Lasso at 3%, Lucio Gutierrez at 2%, and Alberto Acosta at 2%. Therefore, of course he is worried, because if he continues to fall and I continue to rise, the same thing that happened in 2006 in the first round is going to happen again, that I beat him in the first round and in the second round that he beat me with the help of Leon Roldos from the MPD, with Pachakutik, who are now against him ,it’s going to make it impossible to beat me. There are more anti-Correans today in Ecuador than pro-Correans. Therefore, of course he’s worried, and I, just like he, we are going to go for it with everything we’ve got, and that’s got him in a complete state of paranoia, in a state of him persecuting me because he thinks that he could lose power to me in the next elections in 2013. Yes, he’s worried.
Diego Oquendo: Counselor, now let’s go to the topic of the polls. Now, let’s put a bit of an anecdote into this conversation, I hope you will be so cordial and friendly. Alvarito, that’s what President Correa calls you, Alvarito. I’ve wanted to find, in that nickname, the same one that people use who have a certain standing, a certain confidence with you, sympathy, even affection, Alvarito. Or should we be giving that treatment a different interpretation, Mr. Álvaro?
Álvaro Noboa: I don’t care what he calls me, I treat him with respect. I don’t call him President, because he’s not President, he’s a Dictator, and therefore I call him either Chief of State or Economist Rafael Correa.
Diego Oquendo: We are talking with Guayaquil, and there with Attorney Mr. Álvaro Noboa Pontón. He is a widely-known businessman, and currently out of office politician, head of the PRIAN and presidential candidate.
Mr. Álvaro, let’s move towards strictly political terrain. What is the main reason that you are going to run for the fifth time for President of the Republic?
Are the results of the survey company Consultar putting you in second place in the electoral preferences with 21%, giving first place to Rafael Correa with 33% reliable? I ask you: where do these numbers come from? What kind of survey company is Consultar, if you please?
Álvaro Noboa: Look, it’s not just Consultar, We have a marketing business called Mercanoboa, that is continually checking the work of Consultar, we do 2 polls just in case there is a mistake in one or the other. You can have no doubt that I am in second place because, I have to remind you, in ’98 I won the elections. Between Mahuad, Vivanco, and the very same engineer, Leon Febres Cordero, the Social Cristiano party, at that time stole it from me. You can ask any Ecuadoran and they will say the same thing. In 2002 I made it into the second round. In 2006 I won the elections over Rafael Correa, and therefore I don’t know why you are so surprised that I would be in second place. I also want to say, something important since I believe that we should get to political issues, that today there are 2 important announcements for the Ecuadorian people: one is that, tired of seeing that the Assembly is full of representatives and Assembly members who are damaged, corrupt, that the Assembly is worse than the worst of 10 years ago, that the government if rife with corruption, I have put out a call in the newspapers, it also came out in El Comercio, for young people, 18 years and older, to become pre-candidates, Assembly members for the PRIAN. Half the country is between 18 and 30 years old and my aim is that this group between 18 and 30 form the majority of the Assembly Members in the year 2013. Whoever is interested should send his résumé, they can send it to the following address, marked to the attention of Wilson Sánchez Zuñiga, PRIAN Youth Director, whose email is [email protected]. We are also holding something that the people like on Saturday, 22 September, from 4.30 pm, in the patio of the Industrial Molinera, in El Oro 111 and La Ría: a National Popular Assembly, to which we invite not only Prianistas, but also independents, or members of other political parties who want to change Ecuador. To transform Ecuador into a first world country where there is a middle class that has housing, that has cars, that has a good education, that has healthcare, that has public safety, things that a lot of countries have achieved: North Korea, South Korea, Chile, Singapore, the United States, Spain, Italy and likewise many countries have achieved it. And we, having much greater per capita natural resources than those countries, we are in the third world, we appear similar to Cuba, to Bolivia, to Venezuela, when we could be part of the first world. In this Assembly, besides listening to my political proposal in order to show that I am serious in my proposal, I am going to raffle among the participants who will be given a ticket, a new house, a brand new car, a university scholarship, a job, and a lot more prizes. But I would like you to take account of what we are raffling, it’s what I want for all Ecuadorians. I want everyone to have a cement-construction house, that everyone has a car, that everyone has a university scholarship, that everyone has a job. Therefore, with that you will see a confirmation of my principles, and that I am ready to put the money of the businesses, of the contributors, of my own in order to achieve this mission. Transforming Ecuador into a middle-class country is not some grand science. What we have to do is to allow foreign investors in and that national investors also develop the country, and in asking foreign investors to come, we have to achieve 2 things: that they bring the latest technology – Why? – so that Ecuadorians who work in those companies, just call it a company that builds cellular phones, just call it a company that manufactures any electronic product, just call it a company that manufactures textiles, let it be such and such technology, that those who work in those companies learn the technology, like the Chinese did. The Chinese invited everyone to go there and they learned the technology, and today in China they make very good, very cheap products.
Diego Oquendo: Counselor, I am listening with close attention. I am going to ask you, in a well-meaning manner, to shorten your responses because I have other concerns that obviously are of interest to you and to the public in general. You’ve announced to us, then, this great Assembly for the 22nd of September at 4.30 pm in Industrial Molinera, in the framework of which you are going to raffle off a cement-constructed house, a brand new car, university scholarships and a job, according to the announcement today in Expreso Newspaper. Look, I profoundly respect your, let’s call it generous, intention. But don’t you believe that the Ecuadorian youth, fundamentally, should approach the PRIAN, at its leader, which is you, because of its political proposals, and not because of a cement house, a new car, the university scholarships and the jobs, out of pure ideological belief in change, Mr. Álvaro?
Álvaro Noboa: Both things. You have to understand, and a lot of journalists don’t understand this, nor do my political opponents. No, Counselor Noboa, don’t give them shirts. No, Counselor Noboa, don’t give the people wheelchairs. No, Counselor Noboa, don’t give some person the $5 that he needs in order to cure his mother. No, Counselor Noboa, don’t give any kind of aid to that man who needs to establish a small business. No, Counselor Noboa, don’t give a house, don’t give anyone a car. But unfortunately, the poor don’t think like you do. They thing that something marvelous is happening to them when I give and they think it is my Christian commitment to be able to give, and that, if God has given me the power to do so, I will continue to do so even if it goes against the social snobs or the intellectuals. I, the people are grateful to me and vote in gratitude. We have a Foundation, the New Christian Humanity, more than 2 million patients have attended, have attended in the last years, we have given computers to schools, we have established micro-businesses, we have helped in the area of healthcare, in the form of wheelchairs or orthopedic limbs. So why am I not going to, if I have the means to do it and if without it, the people might even die? Therefore, and clearly in that same Assembly, I won’t just give a speech that reflects my ideology, but I’m also going to help, as I have helped for more than 30 years, the people through my Foundation.
Diego Oquendo: Believe me, I am listening to you with the greatest interest and with the greatest respect. Unfortunately, in that last part, I differ with your point of view, Mr. Noboa Pontón. You speak of gratitude. I believe that the people, especially the young people should not approach a political proposal out of thankfulness, out of gratitude, out of recognition, but out of political conviction and in this I disagree with you. Now, when you mention the journalists, I have the ugly suspicion that the journalists, and even intellectuals, are not your cup of tea. Tell me something sincerely, and my apologies that I draw on a personal example. What do you think of the work of Visión? What do you think of the work done by Buenos Dias, what do you think of the work of Diego Oquendo? As directly as possible.
Álvaro Noboa: If I am taking part in this invitation it’s because I admire and respect your work. I am a great defender of journalists, so much so that in Correa’s Law in which he wants to put a gag on you journalists, I was completely against him and I threw Wladimir Vargas out of my party, by the way, I haven’t yet received your thank you letter, but journalism should be grateful that I reached the level of expelling people from my party who have not wanted to be in favor of free thought and a free press.
Diego Oquendo: Mr. Álvaro, let me tell you that I have never sent thank you letters to any politician, ever. My points of view I make known via this radio on this occasion, in my articles in the Press, and in their moment, over many years, in television. But I will tell you, with friendliest of intentions, that I have never sent out a thank you card to any politician and you can testify personally, that you have never received a thank you note from me. But let’s take things a bit further. You state that thousands of Ecuadorians follow you, but Mr. Álvaro, in your own ranks several important desertions are to be accounted for: Vicente Taiano, Fernando Fores and Tito Nilton Mendoza, former PRIAN Assembly Members, to mention three examples, and I’ve not forgotten Wladimir Vargas. I ask you, “Why leave Paradise in order to rejoin Sociedad Patriótica, Mr. Álvaro?
Álvaro Noboa: Before that, I would like to finish with my proposal for how to transform Ecuador into a country– Yes, I am going to answer you, but I was interrupted and I didn’t finish with how I am going to bring about the transformation of Ecuador into a middle class country. Chile has achieved it, it doesn’t just have to do with investment, it has to do with the level of specialized knowledge. If we are a banana- producing country, we have to have the best school for banana production in the world. If we are a shrimp-producing country, we have to have the best school for shrimp production in the world. If we are a rice-producing country, we have to have the best school for producing rice in the world. If we produce flowers in the sierra, vegetables and a whole series of products, we have to raise our level of education, and by raising our level of education, we’ll be more productive, and by having greater productivity, we will have higher salaries. The people will begin to earn $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, like the middle class in Chile earns. At that moment, they will have the money to pay for a car, to pay for a house, to pay for all the requirements of the middle class and those that the Ecuadorian poor has and who dream of being able to reach that level. A poor man sometimes dies for $20 and we have experienced, via the Foundation with the Medical Brigades, that if we don’t arrive on time with doctors and free medicine, that those poor can die, their children of dysentery and other problems. I also believe that there has to be an independent judicial system; that there can’t be Courts in which the very Carlos Marx Carrasco, according to the denunciations of the judge who found in our favor on one occasion in our claim of political persecution, goes threatening in according with the denunciation of the judge suspended for three months, and they have also said they are going to bring a court suit against him. If you are an investor, you don’t want to go to Ecuador in order to be put in jail? That’s the last thing you want. You want to come and generate employment, manufacture products, earn money. Therefore it’s very important to take advantage of this interview to explain to Ecuador that what I am proposing to do is to convert all of Ecuador into a middle class, yes, it’s possible and from a third world country. We can bring all Ecuadorians into a first world country because the middle class in Chile is the biggest class; the middle class in South Korea is the biggest class; the biggest class in the United States is the biggest class.
Diego Oquendo: Counselor, it’s not that I am trying to interrupt you, but, in reality, I want this to be an interview, not a long monologue. I want to ask you questions and can ask me questions and this can become a very interesting chat for all Ecuadorians. If you would answer my earlier question, where you assert that thousands of Ecuadorians follow you, but there are desertions among your own ranks: Vicente Taiano, Fernando Flores, Tito Nilton Mendoza. All of them, at this moment, are part of Sociedad Patriótica. What do you think?
Álvaro Noboa: That topic is irrelevant compared to the importance, to the need of this country to leave poverty behind and to become like Sweden, like Norway, like Chile, like Singapore, like South Korea, in rich middle class countries. That is the Ecuadorian dream, that is what makes them vote one time after another for Álvaro Noboa.
Diego Oquendo: We are in a conversation with Guayaquil and there with Counselor Álvaro Noboa, a very well known businessman and currently a politician out of office. Mr. Álvaro, meanwhile, what’s happening with the recognition of the PRIAN by the National Electoral Council? There’s not a lot of people who would put their hand in the fire with the National Electoral Council. What’s happening there, Mr. Álvaro?
Álvaro Noboa: We were the party with the most affiliates, we were accepted as a party almost two months ago. Now comes, due to the denunciation, this review of the signatures, we are accepting the signature review as we don’t have any other option. We are the lead party, the greatest amount of signatures, and if we lose twenty or thirty thousand signatures because the computer decides that they aren’t good, we have submitted almost 200,000 more, or what is the double of what we had before. The only party that has submitted that amount, so that if an affiliation is declared null, they can take one from that ocean of 200,000 new affiliations to replace it with, therefore I have no doubt that between the nearly 200,000 old ones and the 200,000 new ones, that’s 400,000, we will have more than the minimum requirement of 157,000 signatures.
Diego Oquendo: And believe me, I sincerely hope, sincerely, that the PRIAN will be a political party officially recognized by the National Electoral Council. Believe me from my heart, Mr. Álvaro. Just as I hope that Pachakuti, the MPD, the greatest number of movements and political parties will be recognized. Now, Mr. Álvaro, you have stated that you are going to beat Correa in the first electoral round, as in 2006, but that you are also going to beat him in the second electoral round, this time in 2013. Isn’t that kind of confidence suicidal, Mr. Álvaro?
Álvaro Noboa: If you look at the polls and you ask your listeners, you are going to realize that there is more anti-Correa sentiment than pro-Correa sentiment, and that in 2006 Correa won thanks to the support of Leon Roldos, MPD, Pachakutik, given that Lucio Gutierrez, at that time, had power, and he gave voters the go ahead to vote and a lot of them went with Correa. This time, they have Leon Roldas against them, the MPD against them, the Pachakutik against them, and Lucio Gutierrez against them, without counting that Guillermo Lasso is also against them. Therefore, I don’t know who is going to run with Correa in the second round, no one. In 2006 every went with Correa in the second round, everyone left me and afterwards they regretted it, even journalists who worked diligently in favor of Rafael Corrrea, who later Rafael Correa squashed, and now even has brought cases against a lot of them or out of the country in political exile.
Diego Oquendo: Mr. Álvaro, at all times, I have observed a line of total objectivity in regards to President Correa. No one is impartial. If you were to ask me if I am a man who at this stage of my journalistic career hold a particular sympathy for Mr. President, I would categorically respond no. Nevertheless, I respect the management he’s been undertaking, beyond my own criticism and my absolutely direct questions. Now, you mentioned the name Guillermo Lasso. You say that according to the pollsters Encuestar, you have 21%, Correa 33%, and the numbers for Guillermo Lasso, which are, as I understand it, between 12% and 17%, Mr. Álvaro.
Álvaro Noboa: We have him at 3%, because many times they only take polls in Quito and in Guayaquil, but if you go to Carchi, Imbabura, Esmeraldas, to Los Rios, to Manabi, to Bolivar, to Cotopaxi, to Tungurahua, they don’t know Guillermo Lasso there. What pains me is that perhaps you are one of the regretful from 2006 who voted for Rafael Correa. I don’t believe that you would have voted for me, just like the MPD, Sociedad Patriótica, Pachakutik, León Roldos and the whole world voted against me in 2006, I aim and I ask that this time you vote for me and not for Rafael Correa in the second electoral round.
Diego Oquendo: I want to tell you, because this is a dialogue between friends, that in the first electoral round of that election, I voted in the first round for Leon Roldos. In the second round, after a lot of scrupulous thought, I gave my vote to Rafael Correa, but not necessarily against Álvaro Noboa. In no way, but I thought at that time that I had no alternative. I said, well, this is a young man, a determined man, with a good academic background, he could bring ideas for renewal, because this country, Mr. Álvaro, needs change. Do you agree with me, that this country needs change? I’m offering you this cordial explanation between friends, because believe me I have never, as a professional journalist, identified with any government of the Ecuadorian people. I wish you the best of luck and please accept the evidence that I am going to maintain an equally small bit of distance from you, Mr. Álvaro. What do you think?
Álvaro Noboa: Seeing that I made no mistake, I even suspected that you would have voted for Leon Roldos because he attracted the intellectual people, but I would like to ask you a question. You are not poor? You have a cement house, you have a car, you have healthcare, you have a series of things in your favor. But the poor doesn’t have it. Therefore I, before everything else, am fighting so that the poor can acquire that cement house, that car, that university education, safety in their neighborhoods that you already enjoy. Therefore, you can give yourself the luxury of voting for intellectual reasons. The poor have to vote for motives of subsistence. For that reason, if you analyze my vote, my vote is popular. The only thing that I say to you and I will say it again is that you are one of more than 4 or 3 million repentant voters from 2006 who, hopefully, won’t vote again for Correa, that would be suicide, that would be suicide together with the other 3 million Ecuadorians. The MPD is against him, Leon Roldán, who you voted for, is now against him, Sociedad Patriótica is agains himt, Alberto Acosta is against him, Pachakutik is against him, and therefore, all of you who voted for Rafael Correa in the second round, it’s up to you to not commit that same mistake again.
Diego Oquendo: How interesting the conversation is with you, Mr. Álvaro, especially that last part. Let me tell you that I am a man who knows how to take on his own responsibilities. In this case, I voted for Correa in the second round and that vote, after many doubts, after much lucubration, I don’t feel regret because I take responsibility. Therefore, I acted in the best of faith and I thought he was the best one on the list, a young man, a listener, a man with a good university preparation who proposed ways for change. In this sense, Mr. Álvaro, I don’t feel regret, but yes, I can publicly tell you that I would not give my vote to Correa again, and I don’t just say it now, I have said it before, and even provoking the protest and questions of Mr. President Correa. Now, something more. You say to me that I have a cement house, I have a car, I have healthcare, I have some comforts, and so it is, Mr. Álvaro. But I would like to tell you that I knew what poverty is, I know what it is like to be a poor child, I knew misery, I had a very difficult youth but not because of my parents. My father was a highly eminent man because of life’s circumstances. What I have now, Mr. Álvaro, what I have now, Mr. Álvaro, is due to my work. Believe me, I would never sell out my conscience. I owe nothing to no one. In your case, and I say it with the greatest respect, you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth. You inherited a great fortune, Mr. Álvaro. Let’s see, what do you have to tell me?
Álvaro Noboa: Let’s see. Let me explain this to you. First, the most important, because you managed to get out of poverty. Through your education, through your work, through your knowledge, you became a great, if not one of the best journalists in the country. That is what I am proposing all Ecuadorians. In my case – you, I believe, have studied my life enough – we bought from Mrs. Mercedes Santisteban the inheritance that my father left her. Therefore, I didn’t receive such a great amount of inheritance. The rest has been the result of my work. I am 61 years old and have worked for 43, therefore, without taking away any credit from you, I also have worked, and today I will work two shifts, and you also do two shifts: one from 8 in the morning. You do yours from 6 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, and another from 3 in the afternoon until 8 or 10 at night. Yesterday I was finished at 10.30 at night, so I can’t take away this credit either. I can’t take away the credit that I was the best student in my Bachelor degree, that there were years in which I didn’t lose a single point in my classes, that I became the biggest businessman in Ecuador and the largest employer in Ecuador. I can’t take away that I have the most important Foundation in the country which gives the greatest amount of help. I can’t take away the credit that I was raised in a good, healthy family, that I only have one marriage, that I have a lot of children who are already businessmen today, sons, students. I tell you, Daniel, my oldest son is a businessman who has graduated from NYU in New York; Carla graduated from Fordham in New York and is now learning French in Paris. Juan Sebastian Noboa is at UC Davis, California, and is learning business administration in the area of agricultural economics. Santiago Noboa is at the German School. All of my children speak three languages; all my children know the value of money and know that they can’t throw it away and they know that if they want to have it they have to work for it just like I did. Then, I have a wife who has been a three-time Assembly Member in her own right. I have a series of blessings, but it is important that Ecuador knows this as well. Many times it has a confused image of me.
Diego Oquendo: Believe me, Mr. Álvaro, I appreciate your words very much. I have never failed to recognize that you are a profoundly hardworking man, believe me. I have never doubted your intelligence, your clearsightedness, and your academic background. I know that, at all times, you were an amazing student and I congratulate you. I congratulate you from the heart, because I believe that you are a great worker. And now that you mention your wife, let me send, through you, a very cordial greeting to Dr. Annabella Azin who I have interviewed a few times in regards to fundamentally political issues, but without failing to recognize Mrs. Annabella Azin’s social sensibilities. How is Mrs. Annabella, Mr. Álvaro?
Álvaro Noboa: One moment, here she is at my side and she wants to say hello, she says.
Annabella Azin: Hello Diego, good day.
Diego Oquendo: Hello! What a pleasure to hear you! Well, what do you think about this already very long conversation with your husband? We’re listening, Annabella.
Annabella Azin: Well, it seems to me very interesting that the people know Álvaro Noboa’s proposals and you have a very large audience. He is a very well-loved and respected person and it is very important that you present him in your program.
Diego Oquendo: Believe me, I have accepted this conversation with your husband with the best of intentions, with great interest. Annabella, well, how’s the love between you and Mr. Álvaro? Excuse me of this strictly personal question, now that no one is listening.
Annabella Azin: Well, we’ve just celebrated 25 years of marriage in June, and here we still are together, moving forward, raising our children.
Diego Oquendo: In many aspects, I recognize that we’re talking about an admirable marriage. Congratulations! I want you to know, Annabella, that I reserve the best of my appreciation for you, a sincere admiration and equally, the greatest of respect for your husband. We can differ in some aspects, but I believe that, in the main, there is a great affinity in respect of the interests of the country. We all want social change for the country. Thank you very much, Annabella. If you would allow me to formulate one last question for Mr. Álvaro?
Ánnabella Azin: Of course, one moment.
Diego Oquendo: Mr. Álvaro, Jose Mujica, President of Uruguay, who has been described as the poorest President in Latin America has stated, word for word, “I am not a poor President. Poor aren’t those who have little; the poor are those who want a lot.” I ask myself, do you feel that Mujica’s premise talks about you? What do you think? Mujica says: the poor aren’t those who have little; the poor are those who want a lot. What do you think, Mr. Álvaro.
Álvaro Noboa: Look, it’s very poetic to speak of poverty, but my father was poor, and you were poor and you know that poverty is very bad. Poverty can mean that one of your brothers can get sick and if you don’t ask for help, he can die. Poverty can mean that you can’t get an education. Poverty can mean having a house without a roof, which I have seen with my own eyes, so in the winter it fills with water and the citizen, the child, the wife, get up and upon touching the floor they are stepping in water. Poverty can mean they end up living in neighborhoods where there is no protection, where there is no safety, where the people rob, rape and when a rich person is robbed of his car, he loses one of his goods, but when a poor person is robbed, they take everything. And if there is a rape, even worse. It’s that poverty means not having your own means of transport and to have to take a bus, which today is an adventure because thieves get on to rob them and whoever says something is killed dead. It’s that poverty many times implies not having the basic needs, so, you will never hear me talking about the good of poverty.
Diego Oquendo: I have no doubt of your upright intentions, Mr. Álvaro. Besides, I believe and have always believed that you are a man with a special sensibility towards people in need, that that remain perfectly clear. For me it has been a real opportunity to speak with you, Mr. Álvaro. You should have felt comfortable because as always I have intended for my questions to inspire the most upright good faith , with the best intention in the world. Have you felt comfortable, Mr. Álvaro?
Álvaro Noboa: I have felt very comfortable and this has been one of the best radio interviews that I have had in this campaign because you have allowed me to speak. Many times bad journalists devote themselves to attacking and to concentrating on scandalous issues because perhaps in that way, in the view of some ghoulish clients, they can garner attention. You, on the other hand, have allowed me to explain to the people how they are going to leave poverty behind, how they are going to transform themselves into a middle class and with that you have made a great contribution as a citizen with whom I can communicate. And your profession is that of communicator and you, with all due respect, I tell you, are one of the best communicators in the country.
Diego Oquendo: You are very kind, Mr. Álvaro, I deeply appreciate your words. To me, the interview is a ritual, believe me, it’s a complete ceremony. And to me, every person deserves the greatest respect; to me, each interview is a human challenge. I was a little bit tense before talking with you, because you are such a personality, with a great career track. You have followers, you have challengers, but you are Mr. Álvaro Noboa Pontón, and you have all the right in the world to go ahead with your political proposals. May God help you, Mr. Álvaro! May you have the best of luck. Once more, my respects to Mrs. Annabella, good day.
Álvaro Noboa: Thank you, good day. And may God bless all Ecuadorians! And thank you to all your listeners.
Diego Oquendo: Well, via telephone from Guayaquil, and there with Counselor, Mr. Álvaro Noboa Pontón. He is, of course, a very well known businessman, he is a working man and he has thrown his hat into the ring for the fifth time as candidate for President. We have been speaking in terms of the most absolute good faith, I feel calm, I believe it was a good chat. My greetings to Álvaro Noboa and surely as well to his distinguished wife, Mrs. Annabella Azin. That you may have enjoyed this chat according to your taste and own point of view. Good day.