During an interview carried out by Andres Mendoza from Atalaya radio station, Alvaro Noboa talked about the announcement published today that shows with facts, the political persecution he is victim of.
“I am a political persecute because Carlos Marx, director of the SRI, is charging Bananera Noboa $ 98 million dollars of tax revenue for the financial year of 2005, while Dole, a foreign coroporation, is being charged for the same year, only $700.136 despite the fact that they sold more than Bananera Noboa.”
It’s a magic number made up by Carlos Marx to persecute me, he can’t demonstrate from where it came, said Noboa. “During an interview in CNN, Carlos Marx was evasive when he was asked questions about it. Until now, neither Correa or Marx, have answered.”
“They should tell me what kind of arrangement they have with Dole corporation, since Correa is meeting with its owner in his office while charging Bananera Noboa 150 times more.”
I am a political persecute, added Noboa, “because they have prevented Bananera Noboa to go to trial an defend itself.”
“I am a political persecute because they have banned me to leave the country in order to keep me imprisoned and prevent my international campaign with the ecuadorian migrants.”
“I am a political persecute because, despite the fact that there is no lawsuit against Bananera Noboa, they seized assets and alienated agricultural companies from Noboa Corporation.”
The businessman denounced that the government wants to take away all his assets, he has no guarantees, the ecuadorians are living in a state of terror, with judges and journalists being persecuted, or any person who expresses opinions against the government
“I am a political persecute because I have been discredited and my honor and good name have been offended with a lie, which is being repeated over and over, alleging that I am a tax evader.”
Álvaro Noboa insisted in what is already proven: “I don’t owe the Treasury, I am the biggest taxpayer in the country, on my own account and on Noboa Corporation, which is among the 10 biggest taxpayer companies.”
All these facts prove the political persecution against me, said Noboa, “I am denouncing them before the United Nations, the American States Organization (OEA) and presidents and communication media around the world.”
Andrés Mendoza: To start, I’ll ask you, on Saturday, a PRIAN rally took place in the Molinera facilities. What results and what advantage did the rally give you? And as far as I understand, there will be one in Quito next Saturday.
Álvaro Noboa: In Quito it’s going to be on October 6, and I want to inform all Ecuadorians, that in ’98, here, I don’t know of any rally where there was so many people, so much happiness and enthusiasm as I saw. I would say there were about 12,000 people and the enthusiasm and the joy was fantastic since everybody was there with their patriotic spirit, with this famous desire for change that I am promoting, of a transformation into a middle class where they have cement construction houses, where they have a car, where they have a university education, where they have honorable work and can earn as much as they do in countries like Chile, the United States, more than $1,000 a month; that middle class– And all right, I am going to tell you a little story.
Andrés Mendoza: All right, tell us. Tell us what is was like.
Álvaro Noboa: Well, it all began at 4.30 in the afternoon. After my speech, we started to do a introduction to Ecuador of the young people on the platform, because my goal is that more than half of the Assembly Members in my next government be young people of 18 years and older in light of the population being of that age. They make up half of the population and half of the population both men and women should be represented in the Assembly, and from there I went on to every single member of my family who is participating. My wife, Anabella, was there, my daughter, Carla Noboa; my son, Juan Sebastian Noboa. Carla is 21 years old, she’s going to be 22 next month; Juan Sebastian has just turned 21, Juan Sebastian is studying in California, at the university of UC Davis, where he is learning agricultural business administration because Grupo Noboa has a very large amount or agricultural production and plantations, especially banana plantations.
Andrés Mendoza: UC Davis is one of the most important universities, not only in the United States, but in the world, and your son Daniel we remember from previous campaigns is here, or, he is also studying abroad.
Álvaro Noboa: He is in New York on business, and for that reason he couldn’t be present. He’s a grown man already, 24 years old, and he’s got thousands of business commitments. My daughter Carla has just graduated as a business administrator from Portland University, it’s the first Jesuit university of New York and at the moment I’m on a visit. The rest of the year she’s going to be in Paris studying French, a language which she speaks pretty well, so she’s just polishing it off. All of my children speak three languages. The men speak German, English and Spanish, and my daughter, Carla, speaks French, English and Spanish, and then there’s also Santiago, who’s 11. He’s at the German School, and is also tri-lingual, he’s in the sixth grade, having just finished primary school this year and started secondary, and then later university, and after that a professional degree. Carla will return on January 1 to accompany me on the campaign trail, to help me with the elections on February 17 and she’ll become part of the industrial part of the company if she’s finished with her French. She likes business, she’s studied for business and will work in the industrial part.
Andrés Mendoza: Santiago is your youngest son.
Álvaro Noboa: He’s my youngest son at 11 years old.
Andrés Mendoza: At the German School, with reason, then I see, you have commemorated the government of the Republic of Germany for academic excellence abroad, for the Humboldt German School in Guayaquil.
Álvaro Noboa: That’s the reason we chose that school. It’s a school that isn’t for the social snobs. Since Germany subsidizes it, it’s not the money that counts there, what counts is the student’s capabilities and my children, thank God, have all been good students and have been able to maintain good grades and just as my daughter, Carla, has had a good primary and secondary academic career, all of them have had a good primary and secondary education. In effect, the German system is very astute: it gives more aid to the schools with the best academic results and given that the German School has had the best results in Ecuador, it has received commemorative prizes and money, it has a lot of German professors, it has a lovely campus, there’s a lot of art, sport, sciences, mathematics, music, everything. It is a first rate school, I’ll say that again. When you go there you will mostly encounter middle class people, because the tuition is low compared to the service, given that it receives a subsidy from the German government.
Andrés Mendoza: Attorney Noboa, getting back to topic, you were saying your children, your wife, who were at the rally.
Álvaro Noboa: My children and my wife, because like the Kennedy family in the United States, which already has had three generations writing the history of the country, my family is also going to be writing for several generations in this country, and not only in the area of business but also in the political arena as well. Something which has also happened with the Bush family. The grandfather of the last President Bush was also a member of the government; his son was the first President Bush, and his grandson the second. And I’ve inculcated my children in patriotism, so naturally they are patriots, just like Anabella has also been a political figure in her own right, she was once the most voted for. And all the family love Ecuador because it has given us so much; it has given us health, it has given us happiness, it has given us a home, it has given us so much that Ecuadorians hope for, and what we’re missing is to end poverty in Ecuador so that it can become a country of rich people.
Because Ecuador is a rich country with poor people, which is a contradiction. I also introduced, as I was saying, to the young people, the four pillars of my campaign: that, in my government, once I have achieved the goal of transforming Ecuadorians into a middle class, that everyone would have a car, a cement-construction house, a job, or a place at university, or in some technical specialty, and as a symbol, we raffled off a house, we raffled off a car, we gave away one job to whoever won the raffle.
Andrés Mendoza: The job, where would that be?
Álvaro Noboa: Grupo Noboa has companies all over the country and the woman who won is from Manabí. I imagine that she can work in one of our Manabí companies.
Andrés Mendoza: And how much monthly salary, for example, would they pay her?
Álvaro Noboa: In accordance with her rank and depending upon her capabilities. She’s already at university and therefore will receive a very good salary. She’s not a worker, she’s a university-level employee. She’s going to work in the business. In Noboa, we always try to pay a little above the market rate, for which reason we are the best employers in the country and no one wants to leave Noboa. I have the President of Industrial Molinera, the director of Industrial Molinera, who has been working from the year that I was born, 1950. He’s been working for 61 years, and just recently he submitted a letter stating that his family needs him, that they want him with them. He’s 90-something years old. Gustavo Negrete is his name. So, working at Noboa is working for a lifetime, and there’s this sense that Noboa is not only a business but is part of their family and that’s the way I see it, like I’m a part of them, like they’re my family.
Andrés Mendoza: Attorney Álvaro Noboa, about that, an interview with you in the last few days appeared in El Universo Newspaper where they asked you why you were calling a PRIAN rally at the Industrial Molinera facilities instead of one of the political centers of the party, and they also asked you why there had been so many people, or had there been so many family members and employees of yours in the party.
Álvaro Noboa: Correct. My family’s presence is because, just like the Kennedy family, just like the Bush family, all of them are very patriotic and they would like to serve their country. In Ecuador, in the military field, there are also people who have been military grandfathers, sons, grandsons and in my family, as well, there is great support for my mission. My lovely wife, my lovely children want for me to succeed in my goal of being able to transform Ecuador into a middle class country. But I repeat, besides that, a patriotic heart has been instilled in them from when they were very young.
They know, therefore, that if God has given us so much, has given us health, has given us a good family, has given us money, has given us so many things, that we have to thank Him for it in the best way possible, which is loving our neighbor like ourselves, and the best way to love our neighbor is to end poverty in Ecuador. And well, apart from the raffle, it was really joyful, there was music; my 11-year-old son, Santiago, who was in charge of the tombola, was really excited turning it and pulling out the winning raffle numbers. There were other gifts, as well, like dozens of domestic appliances. For the many people who weren’t able to win a car, they were able to take home an appliance and we felt that the people went away very satisfied, very happy. It wasn’t one of those boring political meetings where there are 23 speeches and the people are bored stiff and want to leave and the most you can do is bring together a thousand people. Here it was a combination of a political party with a political speech and a benefit that symbolized how all Ecuadorians will be able to have a cement house, cars, university and work.
Andrés Mendoza: No, in this case it was because Attorney Álvaro Noboa, his group, held a raffle and provided the opportunity to those who won, and as President of the Republic, how are you going to do that again with the State’s money, Counselor?
Álvaro Noboa: Let’s see. I can do it again a million times over. My plan is to repeat the recipe that Chile has followed, that Singapore has followed and that South Korea has followed and that Taiwan has followed and which, before that, the United States and Japan followed, which is first to open the doors in a friendly way to all Ecuadorians and foreigners who want to invest in the country; to lower income taxes to sweeten the deal. So, instead of there being a hundred large companies as there are in Ecuador, or a hundred large groups like there are in Ecuador paying a lot of taxes, hopefully there will be ten thousand large groups paying taxes. Those ten thousand businessmen who I am thinking of bringing to Ecuador are company businesses or individual millionaires who are very keen to find a good return on their money. They would have – For example, the man from Blackberry who today produces 50% of his telephones in Mexico. He could come to Ecuador, bringing benefits and we would take advantage of that if we made it so that the company would have the obligation to train its workers in electronics and in the making of cellular phones. If it’s tourism in France, fifty million tourists visit France, and if we would achieve a floating population of a million tourists, there would automatically be a million jobs, because each yearly floating tourist generates one yearly job.
Andrés Mendoza: But for that to happen, the system or the model instigated by the current President, Rafael Correa, together with the Constitutional Assembly, and then with his majority in the National Assembly would have to change drastically, which tends more to a state model in which the State is what promotes investment and which generates employment. In reality, that model would have to be overturned.
Álvaro Noboa: An overturn of the model or an overturn in the Constitution. The first thing that we would do is make radical changes to the Constitution via a plebiscite, or via the Constitutional Assembly in order to attract investment. Second would be judicial security. Third, to bring class conflict to an end because in our companies there is no class conflict. They are companies that are more than fifty years old and workers go to work as if they were at home, and the boss is as if he were a member of the family, and we all work in order to produce and generate a product that we export since the Ecuadorian market is limited, it only has 14 million people. We work to generate production for the entire world. We look for people with training, and we train people. In Noboa, there are people who start by earning $1,000 and who can end up earning $20,000 a month. I am talking about, and this is because that man has acquired training and contributes to the growth of the company, and he becomes a valuable and indispensable individual. There are workers who start at the basic salary and later, after a certain amount of time learn their tasks. Sometimes I remember the example of El Café, in the area of refrigeration, which is a complex issue, and they start by earning the basic salary and in a short time they triple the salary and they’ve just become refrigeration technicians, trained by us, and hardly time goes by they have offers of $2,000 and $3,000 dollars. Some stay, others leave, and so this example is important, and in the company, furthermore, there are always people studying, so the doorman who becomes a lawyer gets transferred to the legal department. That man has stopped earning the basic salary and has become part of the legal department of the Group, the Molinera, I’ve just learned. Now that I am in the United States, the director of the Molinera came on the plane, and he was a man who had started really low, and I asked him where he was going. The people think that I am above everyone else. That’s impossible. I’m the biggest employer in Ecuador, and a times I see certain employees once a year, or every two years, and this miller learned from an Englishman that we brought and who earned a lot of money. That Englishman earned $10,000 a month, he’s still a friend of mine. The Englishman retired and has a house in Punta Blanca, his daughters made good marriages, he’s become Ecuadorian, his daughters married Ecuadorians and this assistant, who was really from the lower middle classes is today the miller. And I asked him, where are you going? I’m going to Canada. And what are you going to do there? They’ve sent me to buy oats for Quaker Oats. So today he is one of the key men and he had been the Englishman’s assistant. He intelligent, and he learned the job from the Englishman who was there in a desire to get ahead and he got ahead.
Andrés Mendoza: But, this success in loyalty and good atmosphere and your promotional issues within your own company with your workers isn’t there and hasn’t functioned in the same way within the PRIAN, because, for example, people like Carlos Vallejo and Jorge Cevallos, and in some way, Wladimir Vargas and others, have in some senses, betrayed the party. They have gone and taken decisions that have, well, been some distance from what you would have liked, or that you would have taken. Why the difference? Things don’t function as they are planned.
Álvaro Noboa: Your assessment is correct, and I am conscious that politics, in the eyes of Ecuadorians, is a dirty business. They see it as something dirty. For that reason, it is difficult to attract candidates with a good résumé, because — you, yourself, could be a great Assembly Member – I prefer not to go into it.
Andrés Mendoza: And the people are put off by it.
Álvaro Noboa: Businessmen don’t want to go into it because they say, “No, later they’re going to come, they’re going to go after my business. The government is going to try to bankrupt me and when I’m done with government, then the persecution will begin. We’ve seen how they’ve kept politicians like Abdalá Bucaram out for twenty years; Mahuad, well, fifteen years. Dahik was also out. Gustavo Noboa, also out. And so people run from this world. There is on the part of the executives of the Chief of State, many times it springs from those offices, they say – I can’t vouch for it – the man with the suitcase: the guy who approaches this, that or the other Assembly Member to try to bribe him, this or that Congress Member to try to bribe him. That doesn’t happen in private business. In business, nobody is going to bribe the miller so that he commits a crime of corruption against me. Nobody is going to bribe the truck driver who became a farm director. Nobody is going to bribe my son or my wife who is working patriotically, and remember as well, that my wife works in the New Humanity Crusade, and in the Medical Brigades.
Andrés Mendoza: Yes, of course, she’s a doctor.
Álvaro Noboa: Of course, in politics there is that atmosphere, and I would like to get into power and establish an anti-corruption team like those of The Untouchables.
Andrés Mendoza: Like the Secretary of Transparency that there is at this present time.
Álvaro Noboa: You remember the The Untouchables.
Andrés Mendoza: Of course.
Álvaro Noboa: Your excellent memory. He lived at a time when the gangsters had control of Chicago and they had to create the same kind of special forces in order to root out the corruption that had infiltrated the very police, that had reached City Hall, that had reached all areas and Al Capone had taken charge of corrupting, and in that I would have to put together a team of untouchables. I just want to say that I am to work, as my dream, which is of the middle class, and I want to work with middle class people, and believe me, in Ecuador there are wonderful middle class people who, more than anything, defend their honor because that’s their asset. Or that is to say, if an engineer is known as a thief, no one else is going to contract him. And if a doctor is known for stealing and for keeping drugs or whatever, then he’s struck off the list. Therefore, among the middle classes there is a defense of personal honor and middle class people are very proud of being honorable, and it’s that middle class that I am trying to work with.
Andrés Mendoza: And with the lower classes? What’s up there?
Álvaro Noboa: The lower class is going to become the middle class.
Andrés Mendoza: You want the people to level out, but upwardly, in this case.
Álvaro Noboa: Upwardly, because as things are going, suddenly you’re going to end up going downwards because each day they bother you and other communications media, they are putting on the pressure, they are blackmailing, they are taking away publicity if you’re not with the government, and that is bad. I want to he who works in the press, that he who works in tourism—
Andrés Mendoza: What would happen if there was a communications media, a journalist, or a channel, or someone who strongly criticized you. In that case, what would you do?
Álvaro Noboa: Well, I would do what I have done all my life. I believe in the free press. I received huge criticism in Ecuavisa, I received huge criticism in Teleamazonas, in certain newspapers, in certain radio stations, and today I get along very well with them. Because I believe that everyone has the right to criticize, but I also think that at some moment the truth reigns, and after having seen me for now almost 14 years in this political struggle, and it took Mandela 50 years to change South Africa from a segregated country to an equal rights country where blacks and whites have the same options.
It wouldn’t be surprised if it took 50 years for me to achieve the same, but as I’m thinking of living until I’m 150, I hope to be stronger than Mandela in his 90s, which is when he arrived to power.
Andrés Mendoza: It has also cost you enough money, because I imagine that you’ve spent a lot of your money on every campaign.
Álvaro Noboa: I’ve spent a lot of my money, but Mandela spent his lungs, his life, he lost his wife, they killed his child. That hasn’t happened to me, nor is it going to happen, thank God for that. And the money goes, and you earn it back it again. No one beats me at that. So the money doesn’t worry me. For that reason I always say that between my wallet and my love for the people, my love for my mission and the love I feel for my life, it’s my love of the people, for my mission, and for my life. I’ve made enough money for myself already, and now I want to make money for others.
Andrés Mendoza: Very well, Counselor, here we are a little against the time, and I wanted to take advantage, we have had the opportunity to talk with you in three weeks, and now again, I would like to touch upon the topic of taxes. We’ve talked quite a lot on other areas. I wanted to finish with two specific questions because of time issues. One was what your opinion was of the monument to Leon Febres Cordero? These days it’s once again a fashionable topic, and number two, the topic of Barcelona is also in fashion, that is, if your nephews Luis Noboa Icaza and Antonio Nobo Icaza will once again be PRIAN candidates or not?
Álvaro Noboa: Let’s see, Lucho has told me that he would like to be a candidate. He’s an American resident. As an American resident, having acquired the residency, he could run as a candidate for the Ecuadorian immigrants in the United States without their being a conflict with the American laws. So, this very day, he’s been working with me full time; he left the Assembly, the alternate Maria Elena Pontón took over and we haven’t discussed the political issue again and he’s in Europe working for the company which carries the same name as he does. So, when he comes back from his trip I will touch upon this idea again. He would be a good candidate because Barcelona has become very fashionable, and there are Barcelona supporters in New York. In and around New Jersey there are 300,000 Ecuadorians living in the area, and all of them know the name Luis Noboa.
Toño Noboa has already been, as you will remember an Assembly Member. Both of them have been Assembly Members and he was the Assembly Member for El Oro, and this time, if it works for him, he seems to me a great figure to accompany Anabella as an Assembly Member for Guayas. Or Toño could also be a National Assembly Member because Barcelona is national, They tell me that Barcelona is the favorite team in Loja and that there are many cities in the sierra and on the coast where Barcelona is very cherished and many people know that he is capable and honest, and that I have been a father figure to those boys and that I’ve raised them right. They are capable and honest and that is what Ecuador is looking for. Ecuador is tired of traitors, of the men with suitcases, of the tricks that have done so much damage to the country, so the more representatives we have, whether they are my nephews or not, the more capable, honest, and young representatives that enter into this new Assembly the better it will be for Ecuador.
Andrés Mendoza: And the monument to Leon Febres Cordero?
Álvaro Noboa: Well I believe that every President of Ecuador deserves a monument. He has given many years to the country. Leon was with me in a very big conflict in ’98. I accused him of having worked against me and I even accused him of having participated in the electoral fraud carried out against me in ’98 when I won the presidential run. But before that and after that, he was a great friend of mine and since the year 2006 he has voted for me.
Andrés Mendoza: And he has said so publicly.
Álvaro Noboa: He was a great mayor, a great president, and therefore he deserves a monument. That is to say that even Correa will one day deserve a monument because everyone, in their own way, has served the country. One can’t go around saying, no, I don’t like this and no, I don’t like that. That way we would be tearing down monuments and building new ones every year.
Andrés Mendoza: Of course. Counselor Noboa, we thank you very much. You are traveling through New York and we will wait for your return. We’ve had a very productive chat with the listeners of Atalaya.
Andrés Mendoza: Thank you very much to Atalaya listeners. Thank you very much, Mr. Mendoza, it’s always an honor for me and a pleasure. May God bless everyone and that we forge ahead. I would just like to take these last minutes to denounce the taking of the courts on the part of the Chief of State by which they are imprisoning any judge who takes a decision against him or in favor of Exportadora Bananera Noboa. We are going to lodge a complaint with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. It is not right that Judge Posligua is in prison for having given a protective measure that was completely in accordance with the law, and it is not right that Mr. Carlos Marx is interfering the offices of the judges and that Sylka Sanchez is continually – a lawyer from our company and a spectacular lawyer – seeing this from here, that the Head of the IRS is holding meeting every day with judges and clashing, clashing totally with Ecuadorians. It’s very similar to the case with El Universo, where the one who sided with El Universo was fired, and the one who said that Correa was right was promoted.
Andrés Mendoza: Thank you, Attorney Álvaro Noboa Pontón.