ÁLVARO NOBOA PRESS CONFERENCE
Álvaro Noboa: May God be with us. Water! Water! Water! That is what I hear them ask me on the tours that I have made until now since having registered my campaign. We have places, like Durán, in front of the city of Guayaquil, where 300,000 or more people live. It has 200,000 voters, and in Durán there is no water provision. Just to give you an idea of the size of Durán. Durán alone is bigger than many provincial capitals in Ecuador. Take account of the fact that neither Ambato nor Portoviejo have any water provision at all. The same occurs in Esmeraldas; the same occurs in Manabí; the same occurs in Los Ríos; the same occurs in El Oro. So, included in my campaign proposal, and when I am in government, I will give special priority to resolving the problem of the lack of water provision in Ecuador, above all in the poor neighborhoods where this great need exists and at a reasonable price. For that reason I am happy that Interagua has changed its position. Now what I ask of Interagua is that they become more technological in such a way that the price of water comes down. We are going to ask all the state institutions to modernize and to lower the price of water. Just imagine, most of the cities that lack water provision, as is the case in Durán, are next to a river. That is to say, the only thing that they have to do is take water from the river and make it potable, but nevertheless, there is no water for human consumption. In the case of Manabí, its twice as bad: there’s no water for human consumption and there’s no water for farming. Manabí, in size, is the largest province in Ecuador. It could be the coffee-growing center of Ecuador, but while the canals are not built agricultural development cannot take place like it should.
I would also like to give you the good news that, due to my walking tours, given my proposals, and I think also because of the support of the Barcelona fans, I have begun to close the gap to Correa in the polls, and Mr. Guillermo Lasso and Mr. Lucio Gutiérrez have fallen behind. So from here on out, it’s up to me to continue campaigning in the way that I have been doing, which is visiting the poorer neighborhoods. Because the other candidates, including Economist Correa, what they do is “Candidate visited Daule” and what do they really visit? The principal street in Daule. I do that and from there I continue walking to where there really are poor people who are in those “miserable” neighborhoods, as they are commonly called, and in the name of the New Humanity Crusade Foundation, we are establishing micro-businesses so that jobs are developed in Ecuador. We donated an oven to a bakery yesterday in Daule, and yesterday, in Guasmos, we put up a food store. The food store is called Carlitos, and I myself bought a bag of sugar and between all the neighbors we put up all the food so that the store progresses and to keep generating business in Ecuador, because employment, security and water are, today, the requirements of Ecuador. Thank you very much.
Press: Counselor Noboa. You say that in the polls you have caught up with Rafael Correa?
Álvaro Noboa: No, I am catching up.
Press: You are catching up. A poll that took place when? How many people? And by which survey company?
Álvaro Noboa: The poll is carried out by an international company that works with Mercanoboa and that we supervise. We have had polls of up to 2,000, 3,000 and 4,000 pollsters and supervision to ensure they go to those neighborhoods where the other pollsters don’t go. Because the pollsters are afraid to go to those neighborhoods where there is no police. That’s the way the poor neighborhoods are, for those that have never gone, where there are dirt streets, they are not paved, where there is no sewer system, where there is no water provision, where there isn’t any drainage, and that’s where you will see a fervor for change, a fervor for the search for jobs. The young, above all, and towards them my campaign is directed, and I have various Assembly Members of less than 29 years in age. All of those from District 4 in Guayas. I also have in Cañar, and also in Carchi and in various important provinces in the country, Assembly Members who are 22 years old, 24 years old, 26 years old, because it is the young today who represent 60% of Ecuador, and they more than anyone know about unemployment because they leave universities and they can’t find jobs. I agree with Economist Correa in regards to social issues, I support and congratulate him. The $50 voucher seems right to me. The attention he gives to all those affiliated with Social Security via the health centers in Ecuador seems right to me. His plan of construction for highways, and finally there are various works of that kind, seems right to me, and I hope to continue Economist Correa’s work and that he cooperates in my government when he is no longer President, and that he supports me in the social arena, or by being Ambassador of Ecuador to Belgium. He will not be persecuted as I am persecuted. I won’t impose any restrictions upon his leaving the country. I won’t hassle him, nor come to take away his cars, none any of the things of which I have been a victim. I will invite him to work, he is forgiven, and I, what I will do – that he hasn’t been able to do – is eradicate poverty in Ecuador by establishing thousands upon thousands of businesses. By giving those businesses the necessary conditions as China has done, that being socialist, like Economist Correa, has had great success in the social arena but also gives very good treatment to national and foreign investors.
Press: Counselor, your nephew, Luis Noboa, said in an interview that they were in talks with you regarding a new loan for the Barcelona team, and that you were also speaking about this money being to contract a new foreign player. Is that true. How are the conversations going?
Álvaro Noboa: The talks are continuing.
Press: How much will the new loan be?
Álvaro Noboa: That will be in relation to the needs that they have and the limits that our companies have.
Press: Counselor, in regards to the topic of gas pipelines, there is concern among residents of Puerto Azul, of Flor de Bastión. What is your opinion about that?
Álvaro Noboa: That, quite right, lives need to be protected. That is more important than capital. In that I am also in agreement with Economist Correa. I am not a materialistic man, as neither is he, and lives and human beings are more important than money. What I believe is that a man in extreme poverty, earning one or two dollars a day, does not have a life, and therefore I am in favor of protecting the human being from the gas pipeline and from poverty.
Press: Counselor, being an official candidate for President of the Republic, are you able now to leave the country?
Álvaro Noboa: No, I cannot leave the country. The immunity does not allow me to break the rules of the prohibition to leave the country. I believe that it is a strategy of persecution by Economist Carlos Marx, who has caused more damage to Economist Correa than to any other functionary because Economist Carlos Marx, unfortunately, is hated throughout the country, while Economist Correa is loved by many.
Press: Counselor, in regards to the issue of banana production. Today banana producers are meeting to set the official price.
Álvaro Noboa: We are producers more than exporters, so we are always in favor of there being a good official price that benefits the producers. Because that is another problem Ecuador is going through: the cost of living has shot through the roof. It has shot up, among other reasons, and I had a conversation with Economist Carlos Marx in regards to this, it has shot up because of the amount of taxes that there are, which mean that the manufacturer or the businessman shifts those taxes onto the price of the product. Today, producing bananas in Ecuador is much more expensive than it was 6 years ago.
Press: How should the collection of taxes be channeled in the country?
Álvaro Noboa: I think it’s much better to have lower taxes in a country with a thousand businesses than higher taxes where no one comes to invest. We, as a group from 2006 until 2012, keep on investing, despite the persecution of Economist Correa, but with the last from Economist Carlos Marx, we have stopped our investment. That is very bad for the country. So, les taxes, but multiplied by more contributors, more company contributors, more personal contributors, etc.
Press: The government says that there are incentives for new investors.
Álvaro Noboa: Well, the Economist is today being given a prize in Argentina for being a great defender of the free press. So I would like a round of applause from you for Economist Correa.