The first egg fell from one of the buildings surrounding the Prosecutor’s Office. And although the car was not the former president, but members of his entourage, the thunderous crash of shell warmed spirits on the site, where opponents and idearios expected Rafael Correa surrender his version in the Petrochina case and the investigation of the terrorist attack in San Lorenzo.
From that moment, the streets of downtown Guayaquil, besieged by a hundred police officers before 9:00 am, were filled with shouting and pushing. While some expressed their support to the ex-president in a loud voice, others raised signs against him and demanded that he be banned from leaving the country.
Correa arrived ten minutes before the stipulated time for his version. He left an armored vehicle, covered entirely by shields and entered after a brief greeting to the Prosecutor’s Office. He entered a building guarded at the entrance, the corridors, the elevator and everywhere by agents or staff of his team. The attention to the public was suspended until Correa left four hours later.
The diligence little was known until past 13:00 when the former president himself faced the media to detail his version. It started with thanks. For his party, now non-existent, for Manabí, where the ‘no’ won a majority, for the citizens who helped spread his message. The first electoral setback in a decade, for the former president does not represent a defeat. “We obtained 40% without advertising spots,” he said.
And although the statement he gave to the prosecutor Fabián Salazar was private, he was responsible for disseminating it, and criticizing the performance of the state entity. “The contract with Petrochina benefited the country!”, He argued.
He also added that Salazar did ask him the questions prepared by the activist Fernando Villavicencio, who denounced the irregularities in the oil presales. “That’s why we’ve been delayed so much. Sixty-eight questions were asked of the denouncer paid by the Isaias.
“What he told the prosecutor about his responsibility in the negotiation with Petrochina is a secret, but what he defended before the media is basically that he did not know the fine print of the contracts.”
I sign a single operation and they accuse me from 2011 to 2016. I do not know technical details such as how much the discount was or how much the freight cost. But I do not have to distrust our team. I was not involved in the technical details, “he cleared the ball. What was clear yesterday were the headlines: “They were tremendously beneficial operations for the country. China has great financing capacity, but it has a hydrocarbon deficit. Ecuador has an excess of hydrocarbons and a financing deficit like any other developing country.
That’s where the strategic alliance is clear. ” Then he again distanced himself from the exact information: “there have been several” operations, but “I do not know how many … Nearly 19,000 million dollars.” However, if the former president does not know certain specifications, it has not been for lack of transparency. Since, according to EXPRESO, the “information has always been available” on the conditions of pre-sale negotiations with China. If these contracts, which go from 2011 to 2016, are considered reserved and, therefore, they are targeted by the Comptroller’s Office, it is because “an official of the current Government”, “an employee of the current Minister of Finance is the who makes the mistake of saying that they are reserved, “lawyer Alexis Mera added, giving him a hand in the response to his client. “He must be sanctioned for not having delivered the documentation to the Comptroller’s Office”.
The closest that Correa was to recognizing that something had been done wrong when committing Ecuadorian crude oil to China was when he accepted that “it was an unprecedented operation”, that they were “acquiring experience” and that, perhaps for this reason, it could have been done better the negotiation.
“But that’s not corruption,” he said. When asked about the ministers of his Government who have problems with the Justice, what he remembered is the situation or the person through those who knew them and who were very little time in office.
But to his management, he added, he will continue to defend it.
A Correa firm ordered the presale
The argument of Rafael Correa on the presales of oil to China and Thailand leaves several doubts. Although the former president says he only signed a transaction, in 2010, the fact is that Executive Decree 466, of that same year, opens the door to unlimited negotiations with crude oil in between.
At the moment there are eight operations that are still valid. The decree in question, signed by Correa, orders the Ministry of Finance and Petroecuador to establish an agreement, still in force, with Petrochina and the Development Bank of China (CDB) to obtain loans with long-term oil sales.
In the same document, as EXPRESO published in January, control of Petroecuador’s bank account in China is granted. The former president’s orders are also evident in the agreement signed by his Finance Minister, Fausto Herrera, and the ex-manager of Petroecuador, Marco Calvopiña, in December 2014. This document, which also evidenced this newspaper, allowed the company oil company borrows abroad to finance the government of Rafael Correa. (I)