It happened over a month ago, but the country did not notice it until last Thursday, when Ecuavisa reproduced -during an interview with Jaime Nebot- a fragment of the “dialogue” Rafael Correa held on January 12 with three journalists hired by the government, Orlando Perez, Carlos Rabascall and Carlos Padilla, broadcast by TV stations of the government.
The attention was concentrated these days in Correa’s assertion that the country was like an unemployed person that was able to survive with a credit card, and thus, another very important passage went unnoticed:
Rafael Correa: They think it is necessary to cover all deposits. No, only private deposits must be covered, these deposits have been more than covered … It is as if you are owner of the bank, you deposit your money in your own bank and you can not make it work because they say you have to back your own reservoir. This is absurd, it is better if you make this money work. You must have reserves, a financial backing for private deposits, but public deposits must work.
Orlando Perez: Where did they go then?
Correa: To the Ministry of Finance and to pay [late payments in December]. And that is why the news came out in January: ‘Reserves decreased.’ We paid billion dollars in December, what do you expect ? that reserves grow?
Please note that Correa admits: 1) That he disposed of money that does not belong to the central government but to autonomous public institutions, municipalities, provincial governments, IESS, ISSFA, ISSPOL, etc., over which he has no authority, and 2) he did not make those funds “work” but rather spent them to pay bills and current expenditure of the executive branch.
This, as Guayaquil Mayor Jaime Nebot warned last October (foreseeing that something like this could happen), is a crime.
The appropriation of the deposits of public entities was pointed out by Cordes and Strategic Intelligence in December, when they complained that the deposits of the nonfinancial public sector were not covered by cash reserves, but so far there had been no way to prove it.
On Saturday, Correa referred to the slight increase in January showed by deposits in private banks as a sign that the economy is recovering. What he did not say is that these deposits come from the “billions” injected into the system after been illegally snatched from retirees and city halls.