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ENTREVISTA EXCLUSIVA DEL PRESIDENTE DE ECUADOR, RAFAEL CORREA, A GRANMA – “NO ES CON MÁS CAPITALISMO, CON MÁS NEOLIBERALISMO, CON MÁS MERCADOS QUE SE VAN A SOLUCIONAR LOS PROBLEMAS DE AMÉRICA LATINA”

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 14, 2009

[13.01.2009]

por Oscar Sánchez Serra

PUBLISHED BY ‘EL ECONOMISTA’ (Cuba)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘EL ECONOMISTA’ (Cuba)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECUADOR, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MACROECONOMY, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

EUA vão tirar base militar do Equador antes de novembro – Afirmação é da embaixadora americana em Quito, Heather Hodges

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 14, 2009

14/01/2009 – 07h18min

EFE

PUBLISHED BY ‘A NOTÍCIA’ (Brazil)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘A NOTÍCIA’ (Brazil)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, DEFENCE TREATIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ECUADOR, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, FOREIGN POLICIES - USA, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MILITARY CONTRACTS, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR, THE ARMS INDUSTRY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, USA, WEAPONS | Leave a Comment »

ECUADOR SUSPENDS OUTPUT OF FOREIGN OIL FIRMS TO COMPLY WITH OPEC CUTS – THE ECUADORIAN GOVERNMENT HAS DECIDED TO SUSPEND OIL PRODUCTION BY ITALY’S AGIP AND FRANCE’S PERENCO, BOTH OF WHICH OPERATE IN THE AMAZON REGION, TO COMPLY WITH NEW OPEC CUTS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 11, 2009

Friday, January 09, 2009

EFE News Services

PUBLISHED BY ‘RIGZONE’

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PUBLISHED BY ‘RIGZONE’

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECUADOR, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, OPEC, PETROL, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY | Leave a Comment »

EQUADOR PAGA PARCELA DE US$ 28 MILHÕES AO BNDES – VALOR TOTAL DA DÍVIDA É DE US$ 286,8 MILHÕES (Brazil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 30, 2008

29/12/2008 – 21h05min

EFE

PUBLISHED BY ‘ZERO HORA’ (Brazil)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘ZERO HORA’ (Brazil)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, BNDES, BRASIL, COMMERCE, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECUADOR, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, EXPANSÃO INDUSTRIAL, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, FOREIGN DEBTS, FOREIGN POLICIES, HYDROELECTRIC ENERGY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MINISTÉRIO DAS RELAÇÕES EXTERIORES, O MERCADO FINANCEIRO, O PODER EXECUTIVO FEDERAL, O SISTEMA BANCÁRIO - BRASIL, POLÍTICA EXTERNA - BRASIL, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECEITA FEDERAL - BRASIL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RELAÇÕES COMERCIAIS INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES DIPLOMÁTICAS - BRASIL, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL | Leave a Comment »

ECUADOR USES SOCIAL SECURITY AGENCY TO FUND BUDGET

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 30, 2008

Dec 29, 8:12 PM

EST

by Jeanneth Valdivieso –

Associated Press Writer

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW’

(USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECUADOR, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

ECUADOR PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES OIL PRODUCTION CUTS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 28, 2008

12/27/2008, 1:07 p.m. EST

Associated Press

PUBLISHED BY ‘SYRACUSE.COM’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘SYRACUSE.COM’ (USA)

Posted in COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECUADOR, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, PETROL, RECESSION | Leave a Comment »

ECUADOR PRESIDENT SAYS WILL MEET MANY DEBTS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 22, 2008

December 20, 2008

The Associated Press
<brPUBLISHED BY ‘NEWSDAY’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘TOPIX.NET’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECUADOR, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION | Leave a Comment »

BANANA FIGHT THREATENS DOHA DEAL – Deals in the Doha global trade talks next month are at risk if the European Union fails to settle a long-running banana dispute

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 27, 2008

November 27, 2008

by Alonso Soto in Quito, Ecuador

Article from: Reuters

Ecuador, the world’s top banana exporter, said it would not agree to agricultural accords in the Doha talks after the World Trade Organisation upheld a ruling against the EU in the lung-running “banana wars” pitting Brussels against the United States and Latin American producers.

“Unfortunately, our country will not agree to the consensus to settle the agriculture terms of the (Doha) round … if this problem is not properly resolved by then,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

A top government official told Reuters later that Latin American banana producers were demanding that the EU lower import tariffs on the fruit, beginning with a series of cuts starting next year.

The official, who asked not to be identified, said the EU should eventually cut its current duty of €176 ($349) per tonne of bananas to €114 ($226) in eight years.

Latin American states came close to securing a deal with the EU during a WTO ministerial meeting in July, but Brussels walked away from the deal when the broad Doha negotiations fell apart.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE AUSTRALIAN’ (USA)

Posted in 'DOHA TALKS', AGRICULTURE, BELGIUM, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMY, ECUADOR, FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, LATIN AMERICA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, USA, WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION | Leave a Comment »

5 MIL INDIGENAS MARCHAN POR NUEVA LEY DEL AGUA (Ecuador)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 21, 2008

Jueves, 20 de Nov de 2008

Alrededor de 5.000 indígenas ecuatorianos marcharon hoy en la provincia de Imbabura (al norte de Siete mil indigenas ecuatorianos marcharon en Quito en protesta por la operación militar colombiana realizada en territorio del vecino pais en la que murió Raúl Reyes, miembro del secretariado de las Farc - 11 Mar 2008 - Foto - Agencia EFEQuito) para exigir a la Comisión Legislativa que acepte su propuesta sobre una nueva ley de agua y soberanía alimentaria.

Convocados por la Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas de Ecuador (Conaie) y por la Confederación Quichua (Ecuarunari), integrantes de las comunidades indígenas de la región andina caminaron entre siete y diez kilómetros al grito de: “El agua no se vende, el agua se defiende”.

Los indígenas avanzaron en varias columnas desde diferentes poblaciones para reunirse al pie de un escenario, situado en un cruce de la vía Panamericana, en donde los dirigentes del movimiento emitieron sus discursos.

El presidente de la Ecuarunari, Humberto Cholango, manifestó desde la tarima oficial, primero en quichua y después en español, que los indígenas no permitirán “ni muertos la privatización del agua” ni que privaticen sus recursos naturales.

Acompañados de indígenas de Bolivia, Perú y Colombia, entre otros países, la Conaie y sus filiales presentaron su propuesta de ley de agua y de soberanía alimentaria ante un grupo de asambleístas de la Comisión Legislativa que fueron invitados a la concentración.

Cholango pidió a los asambleístas que “se acabe la infamia de apropiarse del agua y de los recursos naturales”, y advirtió a los políticos que tengan cuidado de que “la revolución no se quede a medio amanecer”, refiriéndose a la revolución ciudadana que promulga el Gobierno de Rafael Correa.

Según el dirigente de la Ecuarunari, los pueblos no van a dimitir y van a continuar “con este proceso de cambio”, y anunció que habrá próximas concentraciones y marchas para fortalecer sus peticiones al Gobierno.

“Esperamos que la Comisión Legislativa abra las puertas, abra el debate a los ecuatorianos para que podamos participar, no tenemos miedo al debate”, agregó Cholango.

En un acto cargado de simbolismos de las culturas ancestrales, los indígenas regalaron un collar de flores y frutos a los asambleístas “para que no se vendan” y defiendan la propuesta, gritó alguien de entre el público.

El vicepresidente de la Comisión Legislativa, César Rodríguez, uno de los asambleístas invitados, destacó “el ejercicio democrático” que demuestra el trabajo que realizan los indígenas con esta propuesta.

“Esta iniciativa confirma que se puede construir una legislación desde el pueblo, con el pueblo y para el pueblo”, indicó Rodríguez.

El pasado lunes se realizaron otras marchas en diversos puntos del país, convocadas por grupos de indígenas y ecologistas, pidiendo que se archive el proyecto de una nueva ley minera que está trabajando el Gobierno ecuatoriano.

Dirigentes indígenas consultados por Efe informaron de que se preparan propuestas para incluir en esta ley minera, que pronto presentarán a la Comisión Legislativa.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘EL DIARIO’ (Ecuador)

Posted in ECUADOR, HUMAN RIGHTS, INTERNATIONAL, NATIVE PEOPLES | Leave a Comment »

DEUDA ESTÁ EN EL BANQUILLO – Una serie de ilegitimidades e ilegalidades halló la comisión auditora de la deuda. Informe será presentado en un acto público en Quito (Ecuador)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 21, 2008

Publicado el 20/Noviembre/2008 – 00:08

Casi toda la deuda contratada por el Ecuador entre 1976 y 2006, ya sea con los multilaterales o con la emisión de bonos en el mercado interno, está viciada de ilegalidades, al menos esa es la conclusión del informe presentado por la comisión encargada de auditar el manejo de las obligaciones del país.

El documento de más de 200 páginas revisa cuatro tipo de obligaciones: la deuda comercial, la multilateral, la bilateral y la interna.

“La comercial corresponde al 30% de la deuda pública total del Ecuador; sin embargo, fue la responsable del 44% de los pagos de intereses en 2007”, se asegura.

Esta deuda se origina, según el informe, en los contratos originales, préstamos de la banca privada internacional a organismos del sector público. En 1976, ese ítem llegaba a $115 millones. Para constatar la evolución de ese rubro, la comisión había solicitado a 18 entidades públicas los registros de los orígenes de sus obligaciones, pero solo cuatro habían contestado.

“No hemos encontrado documentación sobre la información que detalle préstamos de la banca privada internacional (…) desde enero de 1976 a diciembre de 2006”, es lo que respondió la Junta de Defensa Nacional.

Entre 1976 y 1982, la modalidad usada para contraer deuda comercial, según el informe, fue la emisión de pagarés que “solo beneficiaron a la banca privada internacional representada por las firmas Shearson Loeb Rhoades, su cesionaria E. F. Hutton y Morgan”.

La auditoría comprobó que ni el Ministerio de Economía ni el Banco Central guardaron respaldos sobre esas operaciones por unos $697,9 millones.

“En 1982, la banca privada internacional se organizó en el denominado Comité de Gestión, cerró las líneas de crédito al Ecuador, y se articuló con el FMI y con el Club de París para forzar al país a cumplir con el Plan de Estabilización.

Ese Comité, según el informe, estaba liderado por el Lloyds Bank y el Chase Manhattan Bank. “Única instancia por la cual tendría que pasar todo el trámite para la renegociación de las deudas externas”.

La auditoría también pasa revista a la sucretización decretada en 1984: el Estado asume la deuda externa del sector privado.

Esas obligaciones debían cancelarlas los deudores privados en sucres (moneda oficial de la época) con una paridad cambiaria y una tasa fijas. La operación fue por $1 476 millones, correspondientes a 40 mil créditos de unos 15 mil clientes.

Según la auditoría, solo en ese proceso el Estado perdió $1575 millones, por asumir el diferencial cambiario.

A comienzos de los noventa salió a la vista el Plan Brady, que no era otra cosa que el reemplazo de la deuda comercial con papeles emitidos por el Chase Manhattan Bank. Aquí es donde la Comisión halló el “anatocismo”, una figura del Código Civil que estipula que intereses atrasados no producen interés.

El capital de la deuda que debía transformase en bonos Brady era de $4521 millones y los intereses alcanzaban $2549 millones.

El monto convertido en bonos Brady fue de $1 174 millones y los intereses “fueron convertidos en Brady PDY e IE, que también generaban intereses”, destaca el informe de auditoría.

Las irregularidades no concluyen ahí, porque luego viene el canje de los bonos Brady por los Global, algo que fue concretado en el Gobierno de Gustavo Noboa, que fue enjuiciado por ese proceso por el ex presidente León Febres Cordero, pero que recibió la amnistía de la Asamblea de Montecristi por pedido del presidente Rafael Correa.

El canje de los bonos Brady por los Global ocurrió luego de la moratoria de la deuda declarada por el Gobierno de Jamil Mahuad en 1999, en plena crisis bancaria.

La Comisión negociadora de la deuda externa, integrada en 2000, sacó al mercado Bonos Global a 30 años plazo con tasas que empezaban en el 4% y aumentaban 1% al año hasta llegar a 2010. Los otros tenían un plazo de 12 años con una tasa fija del 12%.

La Comisión ahora considera que eso fue ilegal, porque la oferta de emisión fue publicada antes de que esté en vigencia el Decreto autorizando la renegociación.

En total, la auditoría halla nueve irregularidades y destaca que fue un “fraude incalculable para el Ecuador”. Además, destaca que “se suscribieron convenios en idioma inglés y en formas preestablecidas, por lo que el país pierde su autonomía y se vulneran sus derechos constitucionales”.

Por esas razones pide la suspensión del pago de la deuda de los Global y el enjuiciamiento de los responsables, entre los que identifica a Coudert Brothers y la firma Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen y Hamilton.

Los multilaterales

En el informe tampoco salen bien parados los organismos multilaterales, con los que el Ecuador obtuvo 286 créditos entre 1976 y 2006 por $12 500 millones, el 42% de la deuda externa contratada en ese período.

La Comisión seleccionó 12 de esos créditos con la intención de probar que contemplan “condicionamientos y recursos expresos para la inserción del país en el modelo del libre mercado”.

“En actos concertados, cinco préstamos -cuatro del Banco Mundial y uno del BID- se suscribieron en un solo día (10 de febrero de 1995); previamente, tres créditos del BID se firman también en un solo día, el 8 de diciembre de 1994”. Eso hace deducir a la Comisión que “se configura en estas operaciones la coalición multilateral para apoyar y asegurar, en primer lugar, la negociación del Plan Brady (….), y con la percepción de introducir la doctrina económica del momento relacionada con la reducción del tamaño y rol del Estado, las privatizaciones, la liberalización comercial y productiva, a espaldas de las inequidades prevalecientes”.

Bajo está premisa, la Comisión recomienda suspender de manera definitiva el pago de los 45 créditos multilaterales auditados.

Y luego le toca el turno a la deuda bilateral que al 31 de diciembre de 2007 llegaba a los $2 615 millones, comprometidos en 109 proyectos.

El saldo es de $1 371 millones, el 52,45 del valor contratado. Los mayores acreedores son Brasil y España.

Los cuestionamientos de la auditoría a este tipo de obligaciones van desde que se trata de una ayuda “atada a la expansión de bienes y servicios del país acreedor que impone restricciones de calidad y precios”, hasta la renuncia a la soberanía.

“En la práctica, el dinero solo cambia de cuenta en el país acreedor, generando a cambio efectos de ajustes por inflación y diferencial cambiario que se traducen en incrementos sustanciales para el prestatario”.

Uno de los ejemplos que cita la auditoría es lo ocurrido con el proyecto hidroeléctrico San Francisco, que estaba a cargo de la constructora Odebrecht. (JT)

Supuestos responsables de irregularidades

Mauricio Pozo

Ex ministro de Finanzas

‘Lo único que se hizo en mis funciones es cumplir con los pagos’

“Durante mi administración, lo único que se hizo con los bonos Global es cumplir con pagos que estaban previstos. No se realizó una operación de compra ni de garantía ni de nada . Yo no topé los bonos Global y me extraña que se diga que hay indicios en la ejecución de estos papeles. Cuando vencieron los intereses en los plazos de toda la deuda externa e interna se pagó en los tiempos establecidos. Recalco, lo único que se hizo es cancelar como corresponde y de forma correcta. Las operaciones que se hicieron fue cuando se cambió los bonos Brady por los Bonos Global en 2000. Y recuerdo que en el Gobierno del presidente de la República Alfredo Palacio se hizo una operación de recompra; yo no participé en ninguna de las dos operaciones.

Por lo tanto, no se de qué se acusa o por qué razón está mi nombre en este listado. Yo quiero revisar detenidamente cada parte del informe de auditoría para definir un criterio más amplio sobre este tema”. (APB)

Magdalena Barreiro

Ex ministra de Finanzas

‘Mi nombre y el de mi ex equipo de trabajo está ahí por error’

“El informe hace un listado general de todas las personas que de una u otra manera han tenido que ver con la emisión de algunos créditos. No está el listado de las personas que deberían ser cuestionadas por un mala decisión. De hecho, la tabla donde está mi nombre y de los funcionarios que conmigo participaron en la regulación de los bonos 2015 es una copia de la página del examen de auditoría que se hizo a los bonos 2015, donde se comprobó que no existe ningún tipo de ilegalidad.

Además, en la página donde se hacen las recomendaciones legales de la auditoría son los llamados a juicio de los emisores de los bonos 2012 y 2030. Por lo tanto, es un error que mi nombre conste en este listado y es notable que este informe tiene grandes errores, pues está muy mal redactado y no tiene ninguna consistencia técnica ni jurídica”. (APB)

Opinión

“El Régimen debe llegar a consensos”

Jaime Carrera, analista económico

“El que se mencione varios nombres de los supuestos implicados en las irregularidades del manejo en la deuda externa tendrá fuertes implicaciones, debido a que se está jugando con la honra de las personas y como es lógico, sin duda, habrá que tomar medidas judiciales.

Ahora, si el Gobierno decide negarse a pagar la deuda se generarán grandes problemas económicos como el cierre de los créditos y el aislamiento del país.

Una opción sería que el Régimen llegue a consensos y no a una decisión unilateral con los acreedores”. (APB)

‘El informe causará revuelo en el país’

Julio José Prado, investigador financiero

“Esta auditoría va a crear mucho revuelo en el país, en una época en la cual se vienen complicaciones por una crisis financiera internacional de grandes proporciones. Por lo tanto, este no es un buen momento para que el Régimen pueda tomar un decisión de negarse a pagar todos los tramos de la deuda, a pesar de las conclusiones y recomendaciones de la Comisión.

Me cuestiono sobre por qué en esta etapa de campaña política se da este tipo de acciones y en la parte económica una decisión de esta trascendencia pondrá al país en dificultades”. (APB)

‘La recompra de la deuda es una opción’

Felipe Hurtado, experto de Cordes

“No creo que el Gobierno tome la decisión de negarse al pago de la deuda, pues creo que el presidente Correa se tomará su tiempo para elegir una medida final.

Hay que tomar en cuenta que una moratoria, además de afectar la imagen del país en el exterior, perjudicará a los sectores productivos que necesitan financiamiento. Ahora el Régimen tiene la opción de recomprar la deuda y bajar el monto que adeuda y así beneficiar al país. El problema es que para esto se necesita recursos y actualmente el Estado no cuenta con ellos”. (APB)

Hora GMT: 20/Noviembre/2008 – 05:08

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘HOY’ (Ecuador)

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECUADOR, INTERNATIONAL | Leave a Comment »

RAINER SIMON ON HIS LOVE OF ECUADOR AND MAKING MOVIES IN THE FORMER EAST GERMANY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 16, 2008

Nov 14, 2008

Renowned German film director Rainer Simon has been on a fall 2008 tour of North American Rainer Simon - © DEFA Film Libraryuniversities organized by the DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Simon began his career at the DEFA Studio for Feature Films and became one of the most important East German directors. He is also the only GDR (German Democratic Republic) director who was ever awarded with the Golden Bear at the International Berlin Film Festival.

Six of his most important films and his Latin American documentary trilogy are part of the presented film program: The Airship (1982), a fantastic, experimental film about the dream of flying; the German family saga Wengler & Sons. A Legend (1986); and The Ascent of Chimborazo (1989), which is about Alexander von Humboldt’s expedition to Ecuador.

Simon’s comedy Till Eulenspiegel (1974), the banned film Jadup and Boel (1981), and The Woman and the Stranger (1984), which was awarded the Golden Bear in 1985, were newly subtitled into English by the DEFA Film Library and are celebrating their North American premiere on this tour.

Germany.info caught up with Simon during a stopover at the Goethe-Institut in Washington, DC, which also screened several of his films as part of his tour.

You are currently on a North American tour during which your films are being screened in various The Colors of Tigua - © DEFA Film Librarylocations and you are discussing them with viewers. What kinds of questions are you most frequently asked?

I spent three weeks in Canada and then moved on to the US, where I have been exclusively at universities.

For the youngest people memories of a time before the Fall of the Wall are minimal. So I always have to start from the beginning and explain what the GDR was and what the DEFA was. It’s different of course with the more mature graduate students, who tend to ask more detailed and interesting questions.

Mostly of course there are questions about what it was like to make movies in the GDR – how much of a role did censorship play?

In the socialist countries there was the censorship of the ideologues, but now there is the censorship of money. Based on my own experiences and the experiences of many of my colleagues that is really much more difficult than the censorship of the ideologues. It is not as if you can just do whatever you want today.

How would you describe you life’s work until now? Would you refer to two phases – in Germany and later in South America?

My films are devoted to very different topics. They run the gamut from a historical comedy like Till Eulenspiegel to a contemporary story like Jadup and Boel to other themes drawn from German history, and then there are my three documentary films from Ecuador, so luckily I do not always have to speak about the same topic (grins).

And it is in particular regarding these films made in Ecuador that people often ask me about what it was like to work with the indigenous people. And it seems to me they are always surprised when I say our collaboration was excellent and how important it was to me that they wanted to work so hard at being so actively involved in these projects. So we did not just go there and use them. And that is precisely what attracted me.

How would you describe the legacy of the DEFA film studios? Were there particular regulations that Till Eulenspiegel - © DEFA Film Library you and other filmmakers had to follow, or were you given a lot of artistic freedom? Why could you, for example, only screen your film Jadup and Boel years after it was made? Were legendary German figures like Till Eulenspiegel easier to portray?

Till Eulenspiegel is based on a story written at the time by (East German writers) Christa and Gerd Wolf. I was in particular interested in Till Eulenspiegel as an anarchic figure, who clashed with the powerful people of his time in a very blunt and direct manner. He tore the masks from their faces but at the same time exposed the stupidity of the little people, over and over again. Till Eulenspiegel was a contemporary figure in his time and still is today. Who would really take it up the way he did today with the people in power in our own time?

The film was a really big hit in the GDR at the time with over one million viewers in such a small country. So people understood that this was not really a historical film, but that the attacks of Eulenspiegel were also attacks against the regime of the GDR, that they applied just as well to the ruling classes in our country, or anywhere else for that matter. And when you watch that movie today it is relevant all over again – people apply it to their own era.

We only had one state-run film production company at the time, not 100,000 or more different producers like here, and that was the DEFA. And so the money for these films came exclusively from the state. And like always the sponsor wants to see his ideas realized (grins ironically).

It was more difficult to make the movies you wanted in the early days, in the 1950s, when I was luckily not involved yet. That was the toughest time, during and right after the Stalin era, when the mindset was the most propagandistic. Later it became much easier to make movies. Although it is true that during the entire history of the GDR the DEFA studios produced at least two anti-fascist films annually. That was just something which always happened every year – those kinds of films just had to be included on the annual agenda.

But the films which led to the toughest disputes with the authorities were those that portrayed real life in the GDR. And those weren’t made until a younger generation born during or right after the war that grew up in the GDR – my generation – started to make movies. We wanted to make realistic films about life in the GDR. And that led to conflicts with the authorities. But screenplays were generally heavily scrutinized during the entire production process. And so films were rarely forbidden after 1965 – a censored film was really more the exception than the norm.

So what happened in 1980 with my film Jadop and Boel was unusual. They didn’t pay enough Jadup and Boel  - © DEFA Film Libraryattention with that one. It’s about a mayor in a small town in the GDR who realizes in the middle of his life that his socialistic ideals no longer work. And the main critique against us at the time was: “Our lives are not so ugly, so grey, so triste as you portray them!”

But we did not exaggerate at all. It was a realistic study of this time, without us having to expand upon anything in particular. And all the people knew that things were really like this – only the authorities did not know it was really like this.

After Jadop and Boel I decided that I would not do anything else about the GDR, because “you will forbid me from doing it again.” And so I only made movies featuring historic topics that did not address contemporary problems, and luckily I was allowed to continue doing that. And that was when I made some of my most important films, like The Woman and the Stranger, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale, like Wengler and Sons and The Ascent of the Chimborazo. Those were all very important films for me.

The Ascent of the Chimborazo was also the first, the only and the last co-production between the The Ascent of the Chimborazo  - © DEFA Film LibraryGDR and the Federal Republic of Germany. In the 1980s both sides wanted to make a co-production, as there had a already been a lot of collaboration before. And we were looking for a topic that would be politically palatable to both sides and so we hit upon Alexander von Humboldt (the film chronicles the famous 19th-century German naturalist and explorer’s ascent of this South American mountain). And so we got really lucky with that and were happy that the film was not just funded by GDR money.

Was there any other kind of creative exchange in this regard between East and West Germany? How easy was it for you and your crew to travel?

There was cooperation before, as in for my films Wengler and Sons and The Airship, where certain scenes had to be shot in the West – and the GDR of course had no western money. So deals were struck in advance between DEFA and (West German) public broadcaster ZDF, for instance, with rights sold in advance so that we could go shoot in the West, including some scenes in Italy and Spain. We always traveled with a small crew. These were generally short scenes and did not involve huge sums of money. Every now and then there was a problems for someone not being allowed to travel, but mostly it worked somehow.

What do you think of German film today, and of the next generation of German directors, like The Airship  - © DEFA Film LibraryAndreas Dresen, who is also originally from the East? And what did you think of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s megahit The Lives of Others? Some East Germans seemed to think the film did not accurately portray life the way it really was in the GDR. Do you agree?

I know all about this criticism against Donnersmarck. This film was condemned by many in the East, including many of my colleagues, who claimed “but life was not really like that then.” I am not that much of a fundamentalist about it. I think it’s a really good film as a thriller – not necessarily as a realistic film about daily life in the GDR, although it does of course tell you something about the GDR.

And I think that 20 years after the fact we have to tolerate this kind of creative freedom. If I had made a movie about World War II and the fascist time in Germany 20 years after the end of the war, then it would probably look different than a movie made by someone who was actually really there.

Otherwise I do no think that German cinema is in a great place. In the United States it is only possible to see German films in art house theatres in a few locations. There are a lot of very good small German films, but nobody gets to see them!

Andreas Dresen is pretty much the only young East German director who has really made a name for himself since the Fall of the Wall, and he makes very good films.

How do you view the future of German film? Are you pleased that big, international productions The Woman and the Stranger  - © DEFA Film Libraryare being made in Berlin-Babelsberg again? Will Berlin once again become a more important center for the global film industry?

All of that with Babelsberg is a joke. Before the Fall of the Wall films were being shot there around the clock and all the studios were perpetually occupied. Afterwards a French water company came and bought it up and then closed it. And then, with the eager support of Volker Schlöndorf, they made it what it is now: Every few years a Hollywood director shows up and makes a movie there. That is a joke.

You spend a lot of time in Ecuador, where you have made several documentaries and conducted filmmaking classes. Are you working on any new projects right now?

The Ascent of the Chimborazo was released two months before the Fall of the Wall. I fell in love with this country and its people. I made three low-budget films there with Indians in the mountains and in the jungle. I organized workshops, I was at their film festivals and I presented this films all over South America. For me my work in Ecuador was much more satisfying than my work in Germany …

And now I’ve started writing. In 2005 I published my autobiography Die DDR, die DEFA und der Ruf des Chimborazo (The GDR, the DEFA and the Call of the Chimborazo).

And that same year I published my first novel, Regenbogenboa (Rainbow Boa), which is about a German man who has spent the last 30 years in Ecuador and in which I refer back to my own experiences there.

I have also taken up photography and have an exhibition on in New York called “Living with Mother Earth.”

How do you perceive Germany’s role globally? Do you think Germany is a role model when it comes Talking With Fish and Birds  - © DEFA Film Libraryto modern environmental technologies? What about the United States? Do you think we are about to enter a new era of change here?

Germany is definitely among the countries that try the hardest in this regard. And Germany really does have a lot to contribute here.

In the former GDR we had a lot of pollution and environmental problems that thankfully have been mostly cleaned up now. When I was driving in a car between Iowa and Illinois I suddenly saw and industrial site that looked just like these things did back then in the GDR and suddenly it stank extremely just like it did in the GDR, and I was quite surprised and really wondered about that.

Regarding change in America we can only hope that Obama will have the strength to push through the necessary measures (to help protect the environment).

The indigenous people in Ecuador understand that human beings are part of nature. This means that they do not see human beings as the pinnacle of conception, as we do in the Christian tradition, but really one part of the whole that makes up the natural world. In their world, human beings are worth just as much as a plant or an animal.

We could learn a lot from them.

DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Goethe-Institut USA

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Posted in CINEMA, ECUADOR, GERMAN FILM PRODUCTIONS, GERMANY, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS | Leave a Comment »

ECUADOR FIRMA CONTRATO CON PETROBRAS Y ROMPE CON REPSOL YPF

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on October 31, 2008

La Habana, viernes 31 de octubre de 2008. Año 12 / Número 303

Actualizado 5:45 p.m. hora local

QUITO, 31 de octubre (PL).— El gobierno ecuatoriano firmó hoy un acuerdo con la petrolera brasileña PETROBRAS que garantiza mayores ingresos al país y terminó su relación con la compañía española Repsol YPF.

El presidente ejecutivo de la estatal PETROECUADOR, Luis Jaramillo, destacó la rubrica del convenio con PETROBRAS, el cual despeja el camino para modificar los actuales convenios de participación por otros de prestación de servicios.

Jaramillo y el gerente general de PETROBRAS en Ecuador, Dirceu Abrahao, firmaron el acuerdo, que establece un incremento de la renta petrolera para Ecuador del 67 al 81 por ciento por la explotación de crudo en el Bloque 18 y el Convenio de Explotación Unificada del campo Palo Azul.

PETROBRAS produce unos 32 mil barriles diarios de petróleo en este territorio andino.

El nuevo contrato tendrá una vigencia de un año mientras se negocia otro para cambiar a la modalidad de prestación de servicios, en el que el Estado será el dueño del crudo y sólo pagará por su extracción.

El ministro ecuatoriano de Minas y Petróleo, Derlis Palacio, saludó este convenio y señaló que evidencia la buena voluntad y seriedad del gobierno del presidente Rafael Correa para dialogar con las compañías.

Palacio anunció, asimismo, que el gobierno resolvió concluir la relación laboral con Repsol YPF y ordenó a PETROECUADOR iniciar la terminación anticipada de los contratos con esa empresa española.

Repsol tendrá que salir del país “apenas se cumplan los procesos legales que se establecen”, recalcó al reiterar que “la decisión está tomada”.

El titular indicó que “lastimosamente con Repsol no hemos podido llegar a un acuerdo” para la modificación de los acuerdos de explotación petrolera y enfatizó en que “ellos han cambiado constantemente de criterio y no nos han permitido llegar a una negociación”.

Finalmente, reiteró la decisión del Ejecutivo de cambiar los actuales acuerdos por otros de prestación de servicios y no le temblará la mano para adoptar medidas similares con otras petroleras si fracasan las pláticas.

Repsol opera los bloques 14 y 16 y en 2007 reportó una producción de 6,6 millones de barriles.

Al momento Ecuador modificó sus acuerdos con las empresas Andes Petroleum y PETROBRAS, mientras ha terminado por mutuo acuerdo el contrato con City Oriente y avanza en negociaciones con otras compañías petroleras.

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Posted in A QUESTÃO ENERGÉTICA, BRASIL, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECUADOR, ENERGY, EUROPE, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, EXPANSÃO INDUSTRIAL, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, INDÚSTRIAS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PETRÓLEO, PETROL, RELAÇÕES INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, SOUTH AMERICA, SPAIN, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »