Presidential Debate at the Guayaquil Chamber of Commerce


In the Presidential Debate held by the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, December 12, Álvaro Noboa confirmed that the principal objective of his government would be to bring down the monster of poverty, the cause of all the evils Ecuador has to bear.

“I am a warrior who has been fighting against poverty for 14 years now. 30 years ago, I started the largest foundation in the country, giving a friendly hand to the poor of Ecuador in order to get them out of poverty, and today I would like to use all the resources the state has in this objective. 

Poverty is the main cause of the crime that Ecuador is putting up with, said Álvaro Noboa.

“This government has not been able to slay the monster of poverty; a monster that I will slay in my government.”

To a question posed by Andrea Bernal, the debate moderator, of what his complete proposal was, Álvaro Noboa referred to the German miracle with the Marshall Plan, which brought Germany out of poverty and destruction.

“They did it with what I call attracting investment from the entire world. That investment came with the Marshall Plan. They did it by training the Germans, which I propose to do through universities and technical schools.”

They did it, said Álvaro Noboa, with willpower, united, without class war, and that is what we need to achieve in Ecuador.

“While there is no freedom, no judicial due process, while taxes are not lowered, no investors are going to come to the country.”  “If 1,000 large companies come, like the ones I am proposing – which don’t exist in Ecuador – and we lower the taxes to 10%, the economy will grow at least 50 times over. Therefore it is very important to attract companies to resolve the problem of the poor.” 


TEXTUAL TRANSCRIPTION Andrea Bernal: We’re going to speak about one of the most important issues, without a doubt, for citizens, for Ecuador, which is security. One of the issues of greatest interest for common citizens is the lack of security, which has reached unprecedented [levels], especially in regards to organized crime, which is headline news every day, and as an axis of the political debate, it concerns many and I believe it concerns everybody. That what we call public security is a function under the responsibility of the Executive power, via which, and via effective action of information, dissuasion, repression and a strong attitude the prevention of criminal activities guarantees the tranquility and integrity of each member of society, is achieved.  The question: What do you propose in order to reduce the crime index and how do you think to achieve it? A very good evening. ÁLVARO NOBOA:  I ask God to inspire me this evening, to be able to reach the hearts of every Ecuadorian, not only those present here, who I thank for accompanying us, but also the 14 million Ecuadorians who are suffering in poverty, and from prices shooting up, both of imported goods as well as foodstuffs, and who are suffering because of problems of safety. Poverty is at the heart of the problem. I am a warrior who has been fighting against poverty for 14 years now. 30 years ago, I started the largest foundation in the country, giving a friendly hand to the poor of Ecuador in order to get them out of poverty, and today I would like to use all the recourses of the state in order to clean up the worst problem of Ecuador, which is poverty, and that the current government, although it has had successes in the social arena, in the voucher, in social security, in healthcare, in the construction of roads, has not been able to slay the monster of poverty; a monster that I will slay in my government.  And the moment that monster dies, crime will die, illicit behavior will die, the degradation people reach in a state of poverty will die. Thank you very much. ÁLVARO NOBOA:  If you are the father of a family and your child doesn’t have anything to eat and your wife lacks the medicine she needs not to die, and you haven’t eaten in two days? What do you do? You go out to steal. What other option is left you? You can either die or kill. Where poverty doesn’t exist, crime doesn’t exist. In Sweden, in Norway, in Germany, in Japan there is no poverty, and they are the countries with the lowest level of crime. The father who doesn’t go out and steal when his child is dying of hunger and doesn’t go out and kill when his wife is dying, is lying. ANDREA BERNAL:  Let’s go to the second issue. Without a doubt, an issue that is directly linked to security, that’s the fight to overcome poverty that we’ve heard about from various candidates. The fight to overcome poverty constitutes a fundamental public policy for those countries on the road to development and the assistance programs by the State are important but they only give limited and temporary support. What proposal do you have to face the phenomenon of poverty? We are in the second round and we are going to begin with Counselor Álvaro Noboa. ÁLVARO NOBOA:  Thank you very much. Germany, 1945, not 3% of the houses were standing, they were completely destroyed, 70% of the men had died, there was a state of absolute destruction and 100% poverty, and when I propose that we Ecuadorians can have housing, that we can earn $1,000, $2,000 and $3,000 and we can have a car in two years, they say it’s impossible.  However, in Germany, with the Marshall Plan, 15 years later they were the third strongest economy in the world. That is to say, from zero, they went on to become the third economic power in the world. Something similar happened in Japan, they became the second economic power in the world. What happened. And why, in Ecuador, don’t we think that it’s possible?  We think that it’s been a 300 or 400 year history of colonialism, here, and 200 years of bad government. Why, then, in Germany and in Japan did they do it in 15 years? They did it with what I call attracting investment from the entire world. That investment came with the Marshall Plan. They did it by training the Germans. That I propose to do with universities and technical schools. They did it with the will to get ahead by ending the class war. One united fist:  the Government, the businessman and the worker, and that’s what we have to achieve in Ecuador. If the Germans can do it, we Ecuadorians can also do it. Because our hearts are burning to achieve the same thing as them. ANDREA BERNAL:  The response set out for the issue were alternative or parallel proposals to the State’s programs, and we were speaking about the Human Development Voucher, a work that has become something of a battle horse for the elections in 2013.  Can we go a little deeper into these alternative proposals, precisely for the State’s assistance programs?  One minute, please. ÁLVARO NOBOA:  I have said that in Ecuador before, it was usual to either throw out a President or to issue a warrant for his capture just after his mandate finished. Now I am here with a prohibition to leave the country, with businesses that are completely intervened with. every week they send someone from the Superintendence of Companies to intervene in the companies and in that way achieve my giving up the fight for Ecuador. Other candidates present here have also been victim of this persecution. No one is going to come to the country while that keeps occurring, while they keep trying to ANDREA BERNAL:  The numbers reveal that since 2007 there has been systematic growth of the State together with the economy. The public sector has increased its participation in the GDP from 25% IN 2007 to 49% in 2012; that is, it has doubled. This tendency of transferring resources from the private sector to the public sector means that national and foreign investment has stalled or it reveals very little dynamism.  What do you believe can be and should be done to encourage this investment directly linked to the possibility of productive employment and permanent social well being? ÁLVARO NOBOA:  I said before that while there is no freedom in the country, there is not going to be investment. Also, while there is no judicial due process, there will not be any investment in the country. While we don’t lower tax on income. Why are they going to come here if they can go to Switzerland?  They can go to South Korea, and produce more at a lower cost and they can do it at the same or lower taxes than here. Therefore to bring the there, we have to lower taxes to 10%. Because if 1000 large companies, here at the moment there are no big companies, if 1000 large companies come to Ecuador and pay 10%, we are not going to know what to do with that much money in the Treasury. For that reason it is very important to attract those businesses that can resolve the problem of the poor. I won the election in ’98 with the PRE. I won the first round against Correa in the year 2006, knowing the poor neighborhoods. I don’t even go along the main streets in my tours and I already know what are the needs of the poor. They want that their streets are paved:  50% or the little towns and cities along the Ecuadorian coast have streets without pavement. They don’t have sewer systems, they don’t have security, they don’t have water, and they buy water from the tank driver, and that water is too expensive. They don’t have a high level of education, they don’t have computers, they have refrigerators, televisions with monstrous taxes. Here a refrigerator costs $600, when in the United States, it costs $200. Here they earn $300 while in the United States they earn $2,000.  One has to stop the increase in prices for basic household goods. One has to make job markets for young people. The young of Ecuador are the most unemployed in Ecuador. They come out of university and don’t have anywhere to go and work. There should be a Saturday market for provisions at affordable prices, there has to be an honorable ceiling [in prices], there have to be safe streets with more and better policemen. For that reason, I always end up with 4% in the polls, because the pollsters never go to those neighborhoods, they never go to those neighborhoods, and it is there where I win Ecuadorians. Thank you. ÁLVARO NOBOA:  The business that would come would have the obligation to train the worker and to have them specialize. Whether it’s to put together a Blackberry that is today built in Mexico, they should train them in-house so that that worker automatically becomes a specialized worker. That’s what happens in the businesses I work in.  That worker, once they have specialized earns triple and if besides that, the business and the state help them to go to a technical school, the $988 becomes earning of $1,500. And if they develop a scholarship plan or the university becomes free, they start earning $3,000 in their own right. So therefore, yes, one can. ANDREA BERNAL:  Strengthening a platform of freedoms of a different order, between freedom of expression, of enterprise, of selection of professional careers, or of listening and seeing what one prefers in order to underpin a system of production with productivity and competitiveness that constitutes a permanent challenge for Ecuador within a dynamic scene of economic globalization.  What is your vision with respect to this issue of freedoms, your proposal in regards to this crucial topic? ÁLVARO NOBOA:  In order to love and to respect freedom, one has to have lost it. I believe in the freedom of religion, in the freedom of free enterprise, I believe in the freedom of the Press, I believe in freedom of thought, I believe in the freedom of expression, I believe in free commerce, I believe in all freedoms. When I was 22 years old, the abusive military junta came in the moment headed by Rodríguez Lara and I was “disappeared.”  If you were to look at my police record, there is no record of my capture. I was tortured, they took me to the wall three times. Once they were going to throw me off a cliff, another time they left me in a room to die from starvation, and they said that it was because I was a leftist, because I loved the poor in the university, and I went around with those young people who wanted a change in Ecuador who wanted there to be freedom, who didn’t want a dictatorship. Today, almost 30 years have gone by, and one day, just like that, they invent an audit against a Bananera Noboa business of $250 million dollars in sales and they say that we earned $260 million, or that is to say, we didn’t have any costs. They have never allowed the business to defend itself in court, they sequester place embargoes against a series of goods, all to see if I would be frightened, and wouldn’t run to defend the poor. And should this persecution and this lack of freedom continue, today, tomorrow and forever I will defend the poor of Ecuador. Today, tomorrow and forever I will work to achieve my dream, my dream to see a prosperous Ecuador, a free and wonderful Ecuador which I and all the poor of Ecuador would like to reach. Long live Ecuador! Thank you. ÁLVARO NOBOA:  In my government, I will invite all of Ecuador to participate, no matter what party they come from. I will ask all persecuted politicians to return to the country, I would not persecute Economist Rafael Correa, nor would I have him searched for via Interpol, nor would I sequester his apartment in Belgium, nor would I prohibit him from leaving the country, nor would I put a $100 million dollar demand for payment against him. But rather I would ask him, ask Counselor Abdalá Bucaram, former President, Lucio Gutiérrez, the candidates here present,  to work together towards a great Ecuador. ANDREA BERNAL:  Let’s talk about the development model. What is your opinion with respect to the model of development that has been implemented since 2007 under the philosophy that the role of the State should be expanded to have sovereign exercise, but at the same time distancing itself from its traditional economic and democratic partners like the European Union and the United States, to privilege other nations like Iran, China, Russia, among others? In what terms would you propose its reformulation in case you are not in agreement with this model. ÁLVARO NOBOA:  The jump from the third world to the first world is similar that to playing in neighborhood leagues versus going to the Football World Cup, and I want to take Ecuador to the Football World Cup.  I put my grain of sand into Barcelona, and look, after 14 years, my nephews, with great merit, achieved it, and likewise I hope that after 14 years I can make the leap. China achieved that great leap 30 years ago and I was visited by a Chinese delegation in one of our companies.  The only thing that they had to export were Mao-style uniforms and rice. Between 15 years ago and today, they were making everything. I am in agreement with Engineer Lucio Gutiérrez in all the areas in which he would like to work, in tourism, in agriculture, in fishing.  I also think that we should work in mining, we should work in the heavy industries, in light industries, there is a whole technological area to work in and for that we need to end the war between classes, that there is judicial due process, that there are very clear rules to the game because here, in Ecuador, they love to talk about the rich people. There are no rich people here. There’s not one Ecuadorian here who appears in international magazines among the wealthiest, not one. To be able to get to that, one has to imitate the Chinese Phenomenon that being, and that’s the way I am, of a socialist mentality in regards to social service, and of the right in regards to production. And that is what we have do on behalf of Ecuador. ÁLVARO NOBOA:  I want to ask every Ecuadorian to become wealthy. When Christina Aguilera, the daughter of an Ecuadorian, became rich for singing beautifully, everybody was happy. When Messi, or Maradona, or Pele, became rich because of playing football, everybody was happy. When a citizen comes and dedicates himself to exporting bananas or coffee, or whatever, and he becomes rich, then right, “Oh, how horrible, that’s ugly.”So I’m going to become a singer or a soccer player or boxer, I’ve got no other choice. In that way they will love me more. ANDREA BERNAL:  In 6 years, Ecuador has had 10 tax reforms. In what way would the tax demand vary in regards to the productive sector? And, in general, what would be your policy with regard to the taxes that affect the people’s lives and the growth of the economy. ÁLVARO NOBOA:  If the thousand businesses come here that I am proposing to come, of which there is none of the same size here in Ecuador, the economy would grow at least 50 times over. If it grows 50 times over, what does it matter to us if, to attract those investors we lower the taxes to 10%, just to say a figure, if the Treasury is going to be 40 times bigger than it is now?  The current Chief of Staff wants to imitate Cuba, which has zero foreign investment. What happens? They can put all the taxes they want, because 90% of 0 is 0; 80% of 0 is 0; 60% of 0 is 0; 40% of 0 is 0. Believe me, here you can beat me in singing, in boxing, in playing soccer, but in making money, nobody is going to beat me. And this time I am going to dedicate myself to making money for Ecuador, for the poor Ecuadorians. I am going to transfer the knowledge that I learned in life, that I learned from books, that I learned from my father, I’m going to put it at the service of the Ecuadorian State so that every Ecuadorian can improve his economic level, and it is known in economy, that any economy that has less taxes and more freedom has greater growth. The best example of that is Indonesia, whoever wants to can Google it. Singapore and Taiwan, any one of those economies has enormous growth and less taxes but with great freedom and that is where we have to leave behind this class hatred, this hatred for the rich, this hatred for the successful businessman, this hatred towards everyone who wants to generate wealth. If we don’t hate Messi, if we don’t hate Christina Aguilera and we don’t hate Cassius Clay, then let’s not hate the businessmen. Let’s work with them and let’s create more wealth with them. ÁLVARO NOBOA:  What concerns me is the tax that the poor pay. They have four basics: a refrigerator, a stove, a television, a radio. They are all at prices of 300% more than what they cost in the United States because the importer pays a fixed income tax, which is a non-evolutionary advance on the income tax. The consumer pays the IVA, they pay taxes on the importing. In conclusion, here, the man who earns $300 pays for a $600 refrigerator, and in the United States, the man who earns $21,000 pays $200 for the refrigerator. ANDREA BERNAL:  Counselor Noboa, Engineer Gutiérrez sets the standard for asking you the following. What would you do in case you were to attain the Presidency so that Ecuador could compete in equal conditions or with better conditions with its neighbors without having a Free Trade Agreement signed by the United States? Would you take up that issue again. Colombia just implemented it a little while ago. Peru has it. ÁLVARO NOBOA:  I would sign agreements with all the countries in the world, the more, the better. This example is given us by Chile, that is today the country with the highest per capita income. Therefore we should sign not only with the United States, with Europe, with all of our neighboring countries, with Asia, with all of them we should sign Free Trade Agreements. That is very important in order to develop our production more, even if my aspirations, those of my economic program, lie in attracting a thousand investors here, and that those investors, many of whom will be exporters and it is necessary to provide them the ease of doing business with the whole world. ANDREA BERNAL:  We are going to close this debate with a final message of one minute for each of the candidates. ÁLVARO NOBOA:  I would like to thank God for this great opportunity to debate with all these illustrious citizens. What I have expressed is the popular sentiment. They are tired of the lack of jobs, of the high cost of living, of the lack of security. They are tired of being poor, they want to change and to become a middle class.  We have won, Ecuadorian people, the elections before and they stole it from us, and I am now running, while being persecuted and in a state of protest. Therefore, Ecuadorians, watch the urns, that it be this time, and today we will be able to change Ecuador. Glory to God. Long live Ecuador. Photo Gallery: