Alvaro Noboa’s Interview at Telerama

Álvaro Noboa: When they escape poverty, they won’t be interested in subsidies

In response to a question posed by journalist, Javier Segarra, who interviewed him in the television channel, Telerama, this morning, about whether he would maintain or get rid of subsidies the PRIAN List 7 candidate for President of the Republic,  Álvaro Noboa, stated that he would maintain them, but that when his plan of government would eliminate poverty, Ecuadorians would no longer be interested in subsidies. They would then be middle class, and with their incomes would have better living conditions, with access to lines of credit enabling them to have their own house and car, he indicated.

“My Treasury is going to be larger, thanks to the production of the thousand companies that are going to come. Mexico developed in this way. Replacement parts for General Motors are made in Mexico because they have the cheapest labor and the lowest income taxes, and that’s what I want to do in Ecuador.”

The presidential candidate, running together with his wife, Annabella Azín, as running mate, repeated that, under his government, he would apply the Noboa Plan, which includes political and economic reforms that would allow a thousand big businesses to be attracted to the country, which would generate two million new jobs.

He would fight common crime with employment and organized crime by bringing in international expert consultants, like the form mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani, who ended organized crime in that city.

He would encourage the work of farmers by writing off their debts to the Development Bank; lowering prices for farming supplies; improving the commercialization of their products; improving the educational system by creating technical colleges specialized in products of the zone, like corn in Balzar, banana in El Oro, flowers in Cotopaxi, etc; and that there would be no tuition, no quota, and no entrance exam, plus the freedom for students to choose their degree.

“It’s very easy to attract large companies: China did it, Singapore and South Korea did it, because they looked for profits, and if you lower taxes on profits and, on the other hand, give judicial guarantees and do not provoke owner-worker struggles as happens in this government, then there is investment and that generated millions of jobs. In the Grupo Noboa, there are various industries that have two thousand employees.  The agricultural group has more than 6,000 families and 10,000 and 20,000 families working indirectly.  In the international world, the Grupo Noboa is considered a mid-sized company.  Imagine what large companies could bring!”

Upon concluding the interview, Álvaro Noboa said that there are districts in Guayas in which he is beating (Rafael) Correa, and that in the working class neighborhoods, he is beating Guillermo Lasso 10-to-1, and that Lasso’s middle class voters, to not lose the opportunity, are coming over to Noboa. He put out a call to Ecuadorians: “that they keep adding to our numbers. That I am inspired by seeing how keep going up, going up, going up, and in many places I am winning against the current incumbent, and if this wave keeps up, I will win the first electoral round and enter in the secon


 Javier Segarra:   Counselor Noboa, PRIAN candidate for President of the Republic, is with us. How are you, Counselor?  Good morning and welcome.

Álvaro Noboa:  Well, I’m very well, and I wanted to answer questions that the public might have. One is, How is it that with a thousand companies that are going to come to Ecuador the problem of employment will be resolved? Very simple.  Each one of those companies has 50,000, 60,000 employees throughout the world, and even if they had 2,000 employees, each one of them, that would be 2 million jobs. With the Voucher, there are 2 million unemployed, because under Correa, unemployment has doubled, and once that the majority of that population is employed, a voucher of $100 could be given because there would be very few people left unemployed.

Javier Segarra:   Foreign investment is very easy for you, but it also requires judicial guarantees, Counselor.

Álvaro Noboa:  Judicial guarantees. Attract them with a sweet, lowering taxes on income to 10% for them. Ten percent multiplied by a thousand is ten thousand, while today, in the country, there are only 40 mid-sized companies, not even big ones, that pay 23%, and that don’t come to a thousand. That is to say, mathematically, the Treasury is going to have much more income and is going to be able to carry out much more social work in the area of healthcare, in the same area as the Voucher, which will be at $100.  In helping farmers. Look, farmers have spent six disastrous years. They have debts that are unpayable at the moment, which the Development Bank would have to write off or they’ll lose their lands, the commercialization is at a bad price and the cost of supplies has skyrocketed. In those conditions, the farmers, whether they grow corn, soy, banana, palm oil, flowers, vegetables or fruits, are completely broke and in the hands of middlemen who make their life even more impossible.

Javier Segarra:   When we speak of the lack of judicial guarantees, that obviously means that the investors don’t seek to carry out their projects in our country, how are we going to give these guarantees, independently of that sweetener, as you say, of this incentive that those businesses can be given. It’s easy to attract 1,000 big business to Ecuador?

Álvaro Noboa:  It’s very easy. China did it; South Korea did it; Singapore did it; because they looked for profits, and if you lower the income on rent, if you give judicial guarantees, and on the other side, you don’t incite warfare between owners and workers, as this government is doing, then there is investment.

Javier Segarra:   And that generates employment.

Álvaro Noboa:  Two million jobs. Look, in the Grupo Noboa, there are various industries that have two thousand employees. The agricultural group has more than 6,000 families and 10,000 or 20,000 families working indirectly. In the international world, the Grupo Noboa is considered a medium-sized company, it is not considered a large company. Imagine what kind of employment those big companies would bring.

Javier Segarra:   And in what timeframe could we have those large companies here?

Álvaro Noboa:  Very quickly. In China it was so big that the people felt that they were going to lose the opportunity, like when they discovered goal in some place, and the miners went to exploit that mine.

Javier Segarra:   It isn’t a process that could be delayed until clear rules are established?

Álvaro Noboa:  It’s going to take some three, six months.

Javier Segarra:   Not more?

Álvaro Noboa:  Not more. What we can’t achieve via Congress, we will achieve via a plebiscite. So in that way the people don’t have to wait.

Javier Segarra:  You say, in your plan of government, that besides guarantees of citizenship, judicial guarantees, in order for large businesses to function and that that is going to generate employment, what you propose is that access to employment is planned, the incentives, both in the public sector as well as the private sector?

Álvaro Noboa:  Yes, I believe in a state working with businesses, unions and workers. That is the only way; it was achieved in Japan.  The other problem that people tell me about in the streets is the high cost of living, which is the fault of the IRS. There are so many taxes:  the non-refundable advance payment of taxes on profits; the 5% for foreign currencies; VAT. During one disagreeable conversation that I had, unfortunately, with Carlos Marx Carrasco, I told him that he is causing inflation and I am right. Today there is a high cost of living, that the people complain that they can’t make ends meet on their salaries. Crime is a result of the lack of employment and from the working classes, because the person who doesn’t have enough to eat, or one of his family members is sick, goes out and steals. And the gangsters, mafias, etc., one has to bring advisers like (Rudolph) Giuliani, who was the mayor of New York, who chased out the gangsters in New York. And finally, before turning to another topic, I want to say to you that I have good news, that there are now districts in Guayas in which we are beating (Rafael Correa), beating (Guillermo) Lasso, in the working class neighborhoods we are beating the vote for Lasso 10 to 1, the middle class. In order not to miss the opportunity, they are coming to Noboa, so perhaps there will be a repeat of 2006, and that I won’t come in second, but first, in the second electoral round.

Javier Segarra:   Education and healthcare, what is the proposal?

Álvaro Noboa:  In regards to education, with regards to the university, it should be free, without restricted places, without an entrance exam, and with each citizen choosing the degree that they wish to pursue. That’s the way I studied at the state university, it was free, I chose the profession of law, there were no restrictions, and I had no entrance exam. And if you studied like that, and I studied like that, and you are one of the best journalists in Ecuador, and I am a businessman, then the system didn’t do us wrong.

Javier Segarra:   Education should be linked to the productive process of research and development. Is that what you propose in your plan for government?

Álvaro Noboa:  Yes, I have a son who studied in Ecuador and abroad and he is crazy about research and development.  He has a shirt pro-research and development and the United States grew big on research and development. They have, before all else, the best cure for such and such, the best anti-depressant, or the best tranquilizer, they invented Viagra. That has caused a revolution in technology and in medicine. We see with Apple, Blackberry, they have also caused revolutions in the world.

Javier Segarra:   The universities, should you become President of the Republic, are going to become centers of research and development?

Álvaro Noboa:  That’s right.

Javier Segarra:   Is there investment for that, the necessary money?

Álvaro Noboa:  There should be. We should make new money, because the return, there, is a hundred to one.

Javier Segarra:   The benefits are clear. But research also goes towards agricultural production, Counselor.

Álvaro Noboa:  There, above all. I believe in putting technical schools about corn prodcution in zones like Balzar; technical schools about banana production in zones like the province of El Oro; technical schools about floriculture in zones like Cotopaxi so that farmers can produce their products with the greatest profits and that they are more efficient and of greater quality.

Javier Segarra:   Agricultural schools in productive centers, not only for electrical engineers, but also technicians.

Álvaro Noboa:  Exactly.

Javier Segarra:   And the funding for it, where are you going to get it from?

Álvaro Noboa:  It’s the same concept as with education. Remember that my Treasury is going to be very much richer than the current one, thanks to the production of a thousand businesses. Remember that Mexico developed itself in the same way. The Americans came and the replacement parts for General Motors are made in Mexico because they have the cheapest work force and the lowest tax on income and that is what I want to offer in Ecuador, the same as Mexico offers the United States.

Javier Segarra:   Also to create tourism schools. That’s what your plan for government includes?

Álvaro Noboa:  Yes, because for each tourist on average a year, I have one job. So if I bring a million tourists, we are going to have a million jobs. The people ask why France has so much wealth? Because of tourism, because each time that you and your family go to France and buy something , or go to a restaurant and eat, that has brought millions and millions of dollars to France.

Javier Segarra:   These tourism schools are going to fortify the wealth that has not been exploited in Ecuador?

Álvaro Noboa:  Clearly, it has already happened in Costa Rica, and it’s a good example for Ecuador. Costa Rica developed three markets:  ecotourism, celebrity tourism, and tourism for retirees, because a retiree can live on his check better in Costa Rica than in the United States.

Javier Segarra:   And in the area of healthcare?

Álvaro Noboa:  In the area of healthcare, yesterday, I visited, together with my wife, Dr. Annabella Azin, who is the Vice-Presidential candidate and who will be in charge of the area of public healthcare under our government, we visited hospitals and we took account of their being hospitals with very good installations, but very bad service. Under our government, we will develop two areas:  in the rural area, mobile medical brigades to give first aid care to those in an emergency in the countryside, on a farm; and in the city, we will develop specialized hospitals, a specialized hospital in every city, whether it’s in coronary care, in cancer, and other illnesses, so that there is better attention and a better use of resources.

Javier Segarra:   What’s to be done about Vouchers and subsidies?

Álvaro Noboa:  Under our government, subsidies and vouchers will be maintained until there is a 3-stage  economic improvement. If you read the Noboa Plan, first the very company takes a simple worker who earns the basic salary and they specialize him via training so that he earns double or triple the basic. If he goes to technical school, then he will begin to earn $1,500, $2,000 dollars. And if he goes on to university, as any university student demands from $1,500 to $3,000 as a minimum, in that moment that man is able to buy a house or a car and no longer requires a subsidy.

Javier Segarra:   That well-paid job means what to you?

Álvaro Noboa:   Between $1,000 and $3,000 dollars.

Javier Segarra:   In the case of foreign investment arriving.

Álvaro Noboa:  That’s right. And that the training processes are done, that are going to be demanded of the companies, that they train the young people to be specialized.

Javier Segarra:   They continue to grow professionally.

Álvaro Noboa:  They continue to grow professionally with the support of the State.

Javier Segarra:   That’s how to get Ecuadorians out of poverty?

Álvaro Noboa:  That’s how they’ve done it in Chile, South Korea, China has taken 300 million people out of poverty. 50% of Brazil became middle class in the last years. Why follow the bad path of Cuba, of Fidel Castro, where it’s the poorest country in America, when we have another example, like Chile, like China, Singapore where there is no longer any poverty, and that’s where I want to take Ecuador.

Javier Segarra:   That’s how you reduce the Voucher and the subsidies.

Álvaro Noboa:  No, the Voucher will double to $100 dollars for those small groups of people that have a disability or some problem.

Javier Segarra:   And the gas subsidy?

Álvaro Noboa:  We will continue to maintain the gas subsidy for a long while, when the people are earning $3,000 dollars, then we won’t need to subsidize gas. Remember that today, the middle class doesn’t receive a gas subsidy. So, I am going to transform all Ecuadorians into a middle class, they won’t receive a gas subsidy. The working classes, yes.

Javier Segarra:   What do you propose to combat crime? What do we do with the police, what do we do with the judicial system?

Álvaro Noboa:  The first way of combating crime is with jobs, because people don’t go out and steal if they have a good job, have enough to eat, etc. The second way is by bringing in specialists. But the Police harbors resentments against the government. I’ve been told to propose publicly, and I’m proposing to restore their rights that were taken away by Economist Correa and which caused impasses and everything between the police and the government. Under my government, I am going to restore those rights. And I’m going to do the same thing with the teachers, and also with retirees. Retirees will be able to retire at a younger age, and with a better pension, because no retiree can live on what they are giving them.

Javier Segarra:   Are you going to professionalize the national police?

Álvaro Noboa:  They already are professionals. They need to be converted into, as in other place, different special forces. One dedicated to drug issues, another dedicated to theft issues, another dedicated to murders. That exists in cities like New York. Specialized police can do their work better.

Javier Segarra:   The majority of crimes are committed by people young people.

Álvaro Noboa:  Yes, that’s the poverty. The guy who is dying of hunger, who doesn’t have food for his children, etc, he goes out and robs a mobile phone, a wallet, etc. When poverty is ended, which is my mission and I’m going to achieve it, that problem will end.

Javier Segarra:   But it’s necessary to fight crime while poverty is being ended.

Álvaro Noboa:   Yes, but it will end when poverty ends, and crime needs to be fought, but if a middle class person robs a mobile phone, then we’re really doing badly.

Javier Segarra:   Would you exploit the blocks in Yasun ITT National Park? Are you a supporter of that?

Álvaro Noboa:  That is in the hands of the worst people in the history of Ecuador, who is Ivonne Baki, and while Ivonne Baki is manipulating things in favour of (David) Murdock, from Dole, in order to do damage to me, we are doing badly. Look at how the government persecutes me and Ivonne Baki gets a meeting with (Rafael) Correa and Mr. (David) Murdock, and Dole pays $700,000 in taxes while from me they want to collect $49,000,000 dollars in the worst act of persecution. I join the other candidates who say that this election is completely tendentious.

Javier Segarra:   Counselor, I asked you about ITT, what are you going to do?

Álvaro Noboa:  In ITT, take out Ivonne Baki and in the moment that resources from first-world countries come in order to protect that zone to generate the oxygen that the world needs, it is justified to not exploit the petroleum. But we have to carry out the procedures now and make a decision, because the people have to eat.

Javier Segarra:   But you would be a supporter of the extraction of resources?

Álvaro Noboa:  I am a supporter, as a first option, of them coming and giving us subsidies so as to not take out resources, and I am a supporter of there not being poverty. I am going to manage my government towards there being subsidies and not exploitation.

Javier Segarra:   The other option could come to be: exploitation if subsidies don’t come?

Álvaro Noboa:  That’s right.

Javier Segarra:   So, there would be a need to broaden the horizons. How should that be done there?

Álvaro Noboa:  We have to sacrifice the lungs of the entire world. If you didn’t want to help us, we have to eat, because the people need money for their roads, for healthcare, education, for everything.

Javier Segarra:   Would you maintain the eleventh petroleum round in the Amazon?

Álvaro Noboa:  I am in favour of privatizing the exploitation of petroleum. I have heard the Chief of State threatening that if Petroecuador doesn’t produce what it should, he will privatize it. We are in agreement about that.

Javier Segarra:   On the horizon of petroleum exploitation, do the protected areas need to be respected and what about the utilization of advanced technology?

Álvaro Noboa:  Indeed, one has to protect.

Javier Segarra:   Does your plan state that you would create a tax premium to incentivize companies to adopt policies that guarantee the environmental heritage in the short , medium and long term?

Álvaro Noboa:  That’s right. Simply, instead of paying 23% in taxes on income, it will be reduced to 10% in exchange for fulfilling a series of additional regulation that will cost the company in order to protect the environment.

Javier Segarra:   You would lower income taxes.

Álvaro Noboa:  I would lower all taxes. And I would take away the 5% on currency sent abroad, the guaranteed, non-refundable advance payment on income tax. Farmers have spent six years losing. That’s the very last straw. Those taxes have to go. They’ve cause a refrigerator that costs $200 in the United States to cost $400 or $600 here. And it means that the people can’t get by on their salary, because the cost of living has the same problem because of the cost of supplies for farming and that is a form of tax.

Javier Segarra:   And in your opinion, are they policies that can be applied immediately.

Álvaro Noboa:  Yes, these can be applied 90 days after I am in government.

Javier Segarra:   And if those taxes are eliminated wouldn’t the farmers see themselves as benefitting?

Álvaro Noboa:  They are already ruined but at least the land wouldn’t get put up for sale or be abandoned. That’s why I insist I am in favor of striking off the debt with the Development Bank, that is many cases is larger than the value of the land held by the debtors.

Javier Segarra:   Thos measures can be applied immediately>

Álvaro Noboa:  In China, it took between 10 and 15 years, but you will see drastic changes in improvement for Ecuadorians in the first four years. After that, I would retire in four years, and hopefully you would be the next president in order to continue the work. I will retire to a more peaceful life, maybe I’ll become a musician.

Javier Segarra:   Why are you running for a fifth time for the Presidential candidacy?

Álvaro Noboa:  Because I am going to run as many times as there is poverty in Ecuador. I pray to God that he gives me 150 years of life. You must be 20 years younger than I am, so perhaps we will be, when I am 150 and you 130, if Ecuador continues to be poor, sitting here with you.

Javier Segarra:   And you’ll keep fighting for the Presidential candidacy?

Álvaro Noboa:  That’s right, like Mandela did, who waited 60 years for blacks and whites to have the same rights in South Africa; as Abraham Lincoln did, who ran six times; as Lula did who ran five times, as Allende did, who ran five times, as Dr. Rodrigo Borja did, who was a candidate five times.

Javier Segarra:   There’s no bad fifth, then.

Álvaro Noboa:  Dr. Rodrigo Borja was President one of the fifth times that he ran, but he did it and later on what was he: a patriot.

Javier Segarra:   Is it necessary to think about a consensus?

Álvaro Noboa:  I invited Lucio and Guillermo Lasso, and they all want to be President. Where did it get to? I told them, if you two, Lucio and Lasso come to an agreement, I will withdraw my candidacy before registering and they didn’t want to, because I just want to be President, I want to change the country, and the road we are on is an abyss.  I want to thank God for my health, for my children, for my good economic standing, for the work that I have been given, and as far can be, I am grateful for getting Ecuadorians out of poverty.

Javier Segarra:   Can efficient public policies be applied, optimizing existing resources, whether they are human, physical or infrastructural?

Álvaro Noboa:  Of course, Ecuadorian bureaucrats are another of the hard hit groups; teachers are another of the hard hit groups.

Javier Segarra:   And they are not going to be subject to evaluation, then?

Álvaro Noboa:  They will be spoken to, like the police will be spoken to about all of their complaints and all of the rights that they had and that were taken away by the current government. Why do all those people want to vote for me and against the incumbent? Because they feel hassled, there is a great complaint about high-handedness on the part of the Chief of State.

Javier Segarra:   Would you guarantee freedom of expression, Counselor?

Álvaro Noboa:  Freedom of expression, freedom of commerce, freedom of thought, freedom of everything. I believe in freedom.

Javier Segarra:   What is the message for your sympathizers and voters?

Álvaro Noboa:  That they keep adding to our numbers. That I feel inspired when I see that the numbers keep growing, growing,  growing and in many places I am beating the incumbent and if this wave continues, I will win the first electoral round and I will enter into the second round with (Rafael) Correa/.

Javier Segarra:   I would like to thank you for have been in Telerama.

Álvaro Noboa:  And I would like to thank Telerama, and to say to Ecuador that this is a great channel and that you are a spectacular journalist.

Javier Segarra:   Thank you, Counselor Álvaro