I DON’T AGREE WITH INTERAGUA OR WITH THE GAS PIPELINE
The press conference called by Álvaro Noboa was with the objective of making his opinion on two fundamental issues known: the design of the gas pipeline and the high cost of water.
“I ask Interagua to improve its efficiency and to maintain the tariff, and in regards to the issue of the gas pipeline, the responsible party is Petroecuador, which is the government, given that the manner in which they have designed the gas pipeline is very dangerous to human life.”
I am the Defender of the People, stated Álvaro Noboa, I am the defender of the poor, who are concerned about the water issue and of the people living closely to where the gas pipeline goes.
“It is unacceptable for INTERAGUA to aim to raise their tariff.”
“The design via the coast puts the inhabitants of that zone in danger, after which it goes through all of the Bastión Popular and Flor de Bastión [regions], which, when the design was done, were uninhabited zones.”
Noboa stated that he is not an engineer and therefore could not give a technical solution, “but rather to simply tell Petroecuador to not cross those populated zones.”
ÁLVARO NOBOA: Ecuadorians, I want to touch on two issues of great public interest: the issue of water and the issue of the gas pipeline. I am the defender of the people. I am the defender of the poor, who are those who vote for me, and are very concerned about the issue of the water, for the rise in tariffs for water, which is what Interagua is asking. Therefore, I ask Interagua to improve their efficiency and to maintain the current tariff. And as regards the gas pipeline, well, the responsible party for that is Petroecuador, that is to say, the government. Experts in this, as well as the poor, have shown me that the manner in which the pipeline is designed is very dangerous to human life. First, there is a zone in which it comes by the road along the coast, which puts the inhabitants of that zone in danger. After that, it crosses all of what are Bastión Popular and Flor de Bastión [regions], which, before they created this design were not inhabited zones. But today, they are totally inhabited, and if in the United States, which is a very technically advanced country, there have been gas pipeline explosions, imagine the dangers that the people at the entrance to Guayaquil – the people of Flor de Bastión and of Bastión Popular – will be facing along the Coastline Highway. Therefore, I am against this design and it needs to be redesigned so that it does not cross populated zones. Thank you very much.
PRESS: In the case of the gas pipeline, what alternative would you suggest in order to do what is necessary? What is the greatest danger it generates?
ÁLVARO NOBOA: It could go through all the ESPOL zone, the way in back of ESPOL. But I’m not an engineer and I don’t want to give a technical decision, but rather simply to say to Petroecuador to not cross populated zones.
PRESS: What zone would it be occupying?
ÁLVARO NOBOA: The zones that today are very populated.
PRESS: In regards to water. What would the alternative be?
ÁLVARO NOBOA: Efficiency. They say that there is a huge loss of water that is not used. Many times the pipes break, or water leaks and therefore is lost due to the porosity of the tubing. With full efficiency, that water could be regained and that would lower costs.
PRESS: Do they charge too much?
ÁLVARO NOBOA: At the moment, the tariff is high. Imagine that their hope is to raise it. That would be unacceptable to the people of Ecuador.
PRESS: Counselor, last week you were campaigning in Manabí. This week you are campaigning in Guayas? What do you have scheduled for the electoral campaign?
What do you have scheduled for the electoral campaign?
ÁLVARO NOBOA: Last week I had a marvelous experience in Manabí because I visited 11 cantons, among the ones I toured were: Manta, Montecristi, Chone, Bahía, San Vicente, Junín, Portoviejo, Tosagua, el Carmen, Jipijapa, Calceta. Imagine it, we toured all of them and well I had I great experience, with wonderful human experiences, with our great Manabite people, who typically have been those who, percentage-wise, most vote for me. We did a survey, as we finished the tour on Friday, we did survey on the weekend, and indeed, together with Correa, we are leading the polls in that province.
PRESS: What is the difference between you and President Correa in the survey done in Manabí?
ÁLVARO NOBOA: There is still a distance, but one notes a fall in the number of his followers and a tendency to rise in mine. I am in second place in the national results as well. I repeat, it will still take me two months more to rise, and hopefully I will keep going up, and well, he will keep falling. It could be very similar to the election in 2006 where he said he was going to win in only one round, and where I ended up in the first round.
PRESS: Counselor, are you going to be focused on Guayas this week? Will you campaign in Guayaquil?
ÁLVARO NOBOA: We will be in District 3, which is headed by my nephew Luis Noboa Ycaza, the Vice-President of Barcelona, as well as other important figures and we are going to take advantage of giving the children Christmas presents in different poor neighborhoods, because it’s a festival for children and one has to celebrate with them this Christmas week.
PRESS: Counselor, what is the lesson that you in regards to what happened last week, in regards to the debate. It seems that you received apathy on the part of the population.
ÁLVARO NOBOA: There was no apathy at all. What there was is that the government channels, which have the obligation to cover the debate, didn’t cover it. When you see the presidential debates in the United States, all of them are transmitted by obligation by C-SPAN which is the State channel, it’s not owned by the government, it belongs to the State, because the channels don’t belong to Rafael Correa, they belong to the State and the State is who is most interested in listening to the candidates and – what a surprise! – as Rafael Correa wasn’t one of the members of the State, while all the rest were present, Rafael Correa decided not to send the State cameras. I hope that they will put it on again, so that the people can judge. Because in the words of Economist Correa, it would be an act of corruption not to show the People of Ecuador the thoughts of the other candidates.
PRESS: In any case, you would describe it as positive?
ÁLVARO NOBOA: The debate between us was very positive according to many commentators. They said I spoke in popular terms and intelligibly to all, not technically, nor had I exaggerated at any time. I was smiling a lot and very happy to debate.
ÁLVARO NOBOA: The phrase that has become a famous phrase is that they can beat me at soccer, they can beat me at singing, they can beat me at boxing, but nobody can beat me at making money. That has become a very repeated phrase here in Ecuador. And my interest is in making money for the Ecuadorian people in the next years. I have made money from myself. Now I want to use this God-given talent on behalf of the poor and all Ecuadorians.
PRESS: Counselor, what distinguishes the Chinese investment that there is in the country? One doesn’t see United States investment.
ÁLVARO NOBOA: Well, unfortunately, in the conditions that one is living. One of the most talked about cases is the Bananera Noboa case where there is monstrous persecution, and where there is a case that is being studied in national and international courts of how it can be that they want to collect 150 times more taxes from Exportadora Bananera Noboa than from a foreign company like Dole. And how it can be that Mr. Economist Correa goes to visit Mr. Murdoch in the United States, he invites him to the Palace, and he doesn’t give him a bill of $100 million dollars. Because nothing held them back from sending us the bill and perhaps because they are foreign, because there is always favoritism. It’s like the foreigners light them up, because they pay $700,000 dollars in taxes and from us they want to impose an tax adjustment of $99 million dollars. 150 times more! Thank you very much.