19 April 2016

Bailout Risk Grows for Ecuador After Worst Earthquake in Decades

By Nathan Gill
April 19, 2016 (Bloomberg) -- Before a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador on Saturday, the South American nation’s finances were already in tatters as the government struggled to meet payments to municipal authorities, oil companies and even cancer hospitals. Cut off from global bond markets, President Rafael Correa must now find enough money to rehouse thousands.

As volunteers continue to rescue victims from the rubble of collapsed homes and buildings on Ecuador’s Pacific coast, doubts are growing about the country’s ability to pay for the reconstruction. The nation is already in its worst recession since the financial system collapsed in the late 1990s, and international reserves are at their lowest levels in almost seven years.

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16 April 2016

Ecuador Quake Death Toll Rises as World Leaders Offer Support

By Benjamin Bain and Nathan Gill
April 16, 2016 (Bloomberg) -- World leaders from the Vatican to Washington offered support to Ecuador as casualties mounted following one of the strongest earthquakes to strike the South American country in decades.

By Sunday evening, the number of dead had climbed to at least 246, from 77 earlier in the day. At least 2,527 were injured, the government said. President Rafael Correa flew to the epicenter in hard-hit Manabi province after cutting short a trip to Rome, for a conference at the Vatican, in the aftermath of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

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12 April 2016

77-Year-Old Wall Street Favorite to Face Fujimori in Peru Runoff

By Nathan Gill and John Quigley
April 12, 2016 (Bloomberg) -- The victory by Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former finance minister, for second place in Sunday’s Peruvian president elections sets up a showdown between two business-friendly candidates, part of a regional backlash against left-wing politicians.

Kuczynski, a 77-year-old Oxford-trained political economist who’s spent more than 50 years championing debt control and free trade, won 21 percent of vote with 96 percent of the ballots counted, according to the electoral office. He will face Keiko Fujimori, who won 39.8 percent, in a second-round vote on June 5.

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08 April 2016

Latin America Oil Producers Call for Action to Improve Prices

By Nathan Gill and Andrew Willis
April 8, 2016 (Bloomberg News) -- Oil-producing countries must take the necessary steps to stabilize the global crude market in a bid to improve prices, Ecuador Foreign Minister Guillaume Long said on behalf of Latin American nations after a gathering in Quito.

Waiting for the market to balance itself would be “catastrophic,” Ecuador Oil Minister Carlos Pareja said earlier, before the meeting on Friday. Ecuador, OPEC’s smallest member, hosted the talks ahead of a summit of producers in Doha, Qatar, on April 17.

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18 November 2015

Eight Defaults and 180 Years Later, Ecuador to Repay Bondholders

By Nathan Gill
November 18, 2015 (Bloomberg) -- Ecuador is poised to do something it’s never done in its more than 180-year history: repay a bond.

“What’s positive is that Ecuador has a new chance to honor, for the first time, the payment of its bonds,” said Santiago Mosquera, a former Fitch Ratings analyst who is now head of research at Quito-based brokerage Analytica. “But that’s probably not enough to lower rates to what they were in their last bond sale.”

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24 August 2015

Everything Is Going Wrong in Ecuador

By Nathan Gill
August 24, 2015 (Bloomberg) -- As emerging markets come unhinged around the world, few nations face tougher challenges than Ecuador, a dollarized oil producer in El Nino’s path, where street protests are flaring up alongside one of the planet’s most dangerous volcanoes.

“Sometimes it makes you want to laugh,” said Jose Hidalgo, director of Cordes, a Quito-based research institute. “What else could happen to us?”

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09 July 2015

Pope Apologizes for Church Abuse in Conquest of the Americas

By Nathan Gill
July 9, 2015 (Bloomberg) -- Pope Francis asked for forgiveness for crimes committed by the Catholic Church during the colonization of the Americas at a summit in Bolivia, home to one of the region’s largest indigenous populations.

“I say with sorrow that the church has committed many serious sins against the indigenous peoples of America in the name of God,” Francis said to applause at a summit of popular movements in Santa Cruz, Bolivia on Thursday. “I humbly ask for forgiveness not only for the offenses of the church itself, but also for the crimes against native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.”

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07 July 2015

Pope Seeks Unity in Latin America Plagued by Political Strife

By Nathan Gill
(Bloomberg) -- Pope Francis, the first Latin American to lead the Catholic Church, called for unity and greater respect for diversity Tuesday during a mass in Quito, where thousands camped overnight in the rain to hear the pontiff speak.

“There was no shortage of conviction or strength in that cry for freedom which arose a little more than two hundred years ago,” Francis told about 1 million people gathered in Quito’s Bicentennial Park. “But history tells us that it only made headway once personal differences were set aside, together with the desire for power and the inability to appreciate other movements of liberation.”

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05 July 2015

Pope Francis Brings Focus on Poor to South America

By Nathan Gill and John Follain
July 5, 2015 (Bloomberg) -- Pope Francis arrived in Ecuador Sunday, starting a nine-day visit to South America in which he’s expected to focus on the poor and challenge policies on oil drilling that damage the environment.

“In the words of the gospel, we can find the keys that will permit us to face current challenges, appreciate differences, and promote dialogue and participation without exclusions,” Francis said in seven minutes of remarks on a windswept tarmac after landing in Ecuador’s capital, Quito.

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04 July 2015

Pope’s South American Homecoming to Spotlight Poor, Environment

By John Follain and Nathan Gill
July 4, 2015 (Bloomberg) -- Pope Francis will fly to South America on Sunday for a nine-day visit in which he is likely to focus on the poor and may challenge policies on oil and gas drilling.

The first Latin American pope, who was elected in March 2013 and called for “a poor Church for the poor,” will visit three of the region’s poorest countries, Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.

During the visit, the Argentine Francis, 78, will meet prisoners, slum-dwellers and grass-roots groups representing indigenous peoples and landless peasants. He will deliver 13 speeches and six homilies to crowds likely to run into the hundreds of thousands.

Francis’s message is for God’s “children most in need, to the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, to those who are victims of this throw-away culture,” he said in a statement on the eve of the trip.

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