WHAT PREFERENCE DOES CORREA HAVE TOWARDS DOLE, AND WHAT PERSECUTION AGAINST ME
In an interview with Alfredo Pinoargote in Contacto Directo–Ecuavisa, Álvaro Noboa stated that Dole, which is a foreign company, is given protection while we, who are the national exporters, are persecuted.
“In 2005, they charged Dole $780,000 dollars, while they charged Exportadora Noboa 150 times more: $99 million dollars.”
Noboa, referred to the visit that Correa made to Murdock (a Dole owner) at the Kannapolis Research Center.
“Because he’s going to finance a project, Correa protects him like a king. It seems strange to me that he hasn’t said to Murdock, “Listen, Mr. Dole, if we want to charge Noboa $99 million dollars, then you, who are bigger, are going to have to pay $120 million dollars.”
Álvaro Noboa accused Correa of protecting the foreign companies and of attacking the banks and national companies, which he has besieged, he says. He stated that the persecution has reached such an extreme as to investigate in detail the surety that was presented by Bananera Noboa to the Court in order to defend itself.
“Four auditors from the Superintendents of Banks and three auditors from the IRS went to the insurance agency to verify the details of the surety. The State has wasted millions of dollars in publicity and in lawyers against me and has not spent even one penny investigating Dole, nor Chiquita, nor Del Monte.”
Alfredo Pinoargote: With us we have Attorney Alvaro Noboa Pontón, PRIAN presidential candidate. Good morning. Welcome to Contacto Directo.
Álvaro Noboa: Thank you very much. Good morning.
Alfredo Pinoargote: Fine, as we are running a little bit late, we are not going to have the same amount of time we usually have, so let’s get to the point. You allege that the IRS is persecuting you because, while it is demanding $49 million dollar in taxes from you for the year 2005, that is to say, not under the Correa government, they collected $600,000 for the same year from the multinational Dole, which exported more than Bananera Noboa. Now, it happens that Mr. David Murdock, a major Dole stock holder hosted President Correa on Wednesday gone by, October 30, a few days ago at the Kannapolis Biotechnology Research Center in North Carolina. What can you tell us in regards to this?
Álvaro Noboa: That Dole’s a foreign company, but nevertheless it’s not persecuted. We, as national exporters, are persecuted. That from Dole they collected $780,000 in taxes for the year 2005; from us they did an audit resulting in a fine and interests of $99 million dollars, or they are demanding 150 times as much from us. Besides that, it seems strange to me that Economist Correa has not taken advantage of saying to Dole, “Mr. Dole, if we want to collect $99 million dollars from Noboa, then because you are bigger, then you should pay $120” but that has not changed. In the years 2006, 2007, 2008, they keep lumbering us with amounts 10, 15, 20 times greater than Dole’s, so the big question that I put to Economist Correa is: What kind of favoritism is there towards Dole, or what kind of persecution is there against me?
Alfredo Pinoargote: What is Dole doing for the government? Here is something interesting. Mr. Murdock is a rich friend. He’s a friend of Ivonne Baki. He came to the change of power of Jamil Mahuad; he came to Lucio Gutiérrez’s handover of power; now, evidently, he’s President Correa’s friend, who has taken the trouble to go especially to the United States to visit him, and Mr. Murdock has offered to finance the “Yachay City of Knowledge,” a spectacular project the President is initiating. But if you see this, about the relationships with businessmen, the majority of the big businessmen get along well with the President, and until a little while ago, even the bankers who had 10 discount points in income taxes. So, in that context, now, to what point does your candidacy favor or disfavor Correa? To what point are you obligated to throw yourself into this conflict in order to defend yourself?
Álvaro Noboa: The most incredible thing of all is that I don’t know Rafael Correa personally, but I have nothing against him personally either. We hold completely different ideologies, but in the area of persecution, I am going to tell you of a case: we are right now defending the case of Bananera Noboa, and in the courts they are debating a surety that Bananera Noboa submitted in order to defend itself. Four auditors from the Superintendents of Banks and three auditors from the IRS went to the insurance agency to verify the details of the surety. The State has wasted millions of dollars in publicity against me. The State has wasted millions of dollars in lawyers against me and has not spent even one penny investigating Dole, nor Chiquita, nor Del Monte. I believe that Correa likes the foreigners and I believe that Correa attacks the nationals; he attacks the national bankers, he attacks the national exporters, and he embraces the foreigners.
Alfredo Pinoargote: On three occasions you’ve had the scent of victory in the second presidential election round. Now, after the low results of 2009, with new game rule – advertising is prohibited – you are also launching yourself under the constraints of these cases. Is it proof that you don’t now have the organization you had before, that you have to dedicate yourself to your businesses, that you’ve had to dedicate yourself to your defense? You maintain that all the candidates will take votes away from Correa; it’s my impression, and that of the people, that it’s more likely that between them, they will take votes from each other. I remind you of the difference between you and the other candidates of a similar tendency like Guillermo Lasso, Lucio Gutiérrez, Mauricio Rodas.
Álvaro Noboa: At one moment, I wanted to unite all the candidate in only one front, to see if in that way we would have more strength. But the surveys revealed that, effectively, what you’ve just said, that only one candidate would not improve the voting because the “Lucistas” don’t want to vote for the “Noboistas”; the “Noboistas” don’t want to vote for those from Lasso. Look, in Quito there is graffiti stating that Lasso is a tuned up Álvaro Noboa, a term that the young people use to mean “renovated”, nevertheless I have to say to them that Guillermo Lasso brutal opponent of mine and has been all the time. He was with Mahuad, not just supporting him, but in Mahuad’s government in ’98; he was with Lucio Gutiérez in 2002; and in 2006, he financed Correa. Therefore, he always, Lasso is with the opposition, he is in the little gang, he is with the people like Mahuad and that is going to mean and will keep meaning that Lasso will keep going down, and I think that it’s going to be similar to the situation with Roldós in 2006, that he’s going to be in fourth or fifth place.
Alfredo Pinoargote: So you don’t see Guillermo Lasso as a rival?
Álvaro Noboa: I see Correa as my rival, coincidentally, what I am trying to say, those other two strong candidates, Lucio and Lasso, are going to go out, like a candle that slowly goes out. Lucio stands at 7% declining to 6%, and then declining to 5%, and he’s committed a series of political mistakes. He doesn’t have Lasso’s money which financed him before.
Alfredo Pinoargote: Now we’re talking about the problem. The problem, that is to say, is that there is a President who wants consecutive re-election for the second time, and then this panorama presents itself. So, Álvaro Noboa is obligated to enter the race, is contributing with what you mentioned. Nevertheless, there is something more, which is the difference with Correa. In 2006, precisely, with all the offers that Álvaro Noboa launched, with all the generous efforts Correa, who in the beginning spoke only of politics, of revolution, of political reform, ended up making offers, but in the name of the state, which is richer than Álvaro Noboa, and now the result is that the campaign is in that. So now, whoever offers the voucher and subsidies with the State’s money bullies out the rest and distorts the campaign. How can the country change the situation? How does your proposal differ from that of Rafael Correa?
Álvaro Noboa: I am very similar to Rafael Correa in the social aspect, for that reason I am very distinct from Lasso.
Alfredo Pinoargote: Or that is to say, everyone says the same thing.
Álvaro Noboa: You know that Lasso is not going to do the same things in the social area. What he says is one thing; what the people perceive is another. I am going to maintain the voucher that Economist Correa is maintaining, but that voucher is going to become insignificant once I achieve an economic reintegration and people are earning $1,000, $2,000 and $3,000 in order to buy themselves a cement house, to buy themselves a car like the middle classes in Europe do, like the middle classes in Chile, like the middle classes in South Korea.
Alfredo Pinoargote: What is it that you are going to do so that the people will have jobs, work stability and can earn a lot more than they are earning now?
Álvaro Noboa: It can be achieved much faster than you think. Money moves quickly when there is opportunity. But in order for there to be that opportunity it’s important – and that’s where we are completely different – it’s important to have good game rules for investors, that is to say, a court system in which Economist Correa, who always prefers the foreigners, the Chinese or Murdock, isn’t pulling the strings.
Alfredo Pinoargote: That about not pulling the strings of the Courts, the problem is that there have been antecedents. There was “Pichicorte”; that PRIAN was also in “Pichicorte.” That is something like a structural weakness in the country, in which the same drama is always going to repeat itself.
Álvaro Noboa: We have to stop one day. I want to break that pattern, and while that pattern continues, no investment is going to come to the country. We have to sign free trade agreements with the whole world. You are expert in that, you have been a diplomat and you know international business. We have to stop the owner-worker conflict. We have to have less taxes but more taxpayers.
Alfredo Pinoargote: Now in regards to the owner-worker conflict, for example, that is a singular bit of news. An accord has been reached regarding minimum salaries and that almost never happens. There’s always disagreement.
Álvaro Noboa: Yes, but we know that the State often uses its influence to create conflicts. We’ve already seen that happen in TRAMAGO, another Grupo Noboa company. It continually uses the Business Superintendence to intervene in Grupo Noboa businesses. I’ve already told you: Correa loves foreigners, hates national businessmen. How many big national companies are there? 20, 30, 40 and those 30 or 40 include banks, which he has besieged. While foreigners, like Mr. Murdock are welcomed. For that reason we are going to go to international courts to denounce the Murdock case. We are going to denounce Ivonne Baki, who was clearly heard in New York, in the American Consulate saying, “They have to fix my cell-phone, because here I have a call I am taking from Mr. Murdock and Mr. David de Lorenzo.” That is to say, any foreigner, who more or less wants to help with two or three things becomes a king here in Ecuador, and any Ecuadorian who works like Noboa works becomes the focus of persecution, the center of attack. We are optimistic: the polls put us in second.
Alfredo Pinoargote: That about the polls is also so relative. Each candidate has his own polls and finally, one day before the elections is when one knows which is the true poll.
Álvaro Noboa: In this case, it’s true, because the people also move a lot.
Alfredo Pinoargote: Unfortunately, our time is up.
Álvaro Noboa: I just want to add two important words before saying signing off from this very agreeable and intelligent interview. Álvaro Noboa and Grupo Noboa have resolved to support Barcelona financially in a moment of terrible crisis, because even though the team is in its highest moment in terms of soccer, it is in its worst moment economically, and it’s a popular hope that the team survives, and for that reason it needs a financial injection and later on it will need to buy new players because many of the players who are playing are going to be sold, and so, like I am a patron of the arts, I want to be a benefactor for Barcelona; not me, but rather Grupo Noboa.
Alfredo Pinoargote: Well, the important thing is that Barcelona become champions, and that they build up for the Copa Libertadores.
Álvaro Noboa: Exactly, that is where we come in.
Alfredo Pinoargote: Thank you for your participation in Contacto Directo.
Álvaro Noboa: Thank you.