Languages
Page last updated at 08:31 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 09:31 UK

Ecuador seizes dam company assets

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa (Sept 2008)
Mr Correa is expected to win a vote on constitutional changes on Sunday

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador has ordered troops to seize the assets of a major Brazilian construction company.

The move follows a dispute over the country's second largest dam, which was built by the Odebrecht company but shut down just a year after it was opened.

The government says this was due to construction faults and it is demanding large sums in compensation.

A deal was believed to have been reached, so it is not clear what led to the latest move, say correspondents.

President Correa issued a presidential decree ordering the requisition of Odebrecht's assets and dispatching troops to take over the company's projects.

A national emergency was being declared, the decree said, to recover the operational capacity of the San Francisco hydro-electric dam and to avoid internal unrest as a result of power blackouts across the country.

Odebrecht's assets, amounting to around $800m (431m), include a small regional airport, two hydro-electric plants and a rural irrigation project.

Four officials of the company have been banned from leaving Ecuador.

'Reasonable offers'

Ecuadorian press reports last week had suggested that the parties had reached an agreement on a compensation package amounting to nearly $30m (16.2m).

Odebrecht was reported to have agreed to meet the cost of repairing the faults in the dam, so it is not clear what prompted this latest action, says the BBC's Tim Hirsch in Sao Paulo.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said he understood the company had made offers to Ecuador which were "reasonable to us, at least at first sight".

Speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Mr Amorim said he believed Odebrecht was "a great company" but that Brazil could not "prejudge complaints by the government of Ecuador".

Mr Correa is widely expected to win a referendum on Sunday on a new constitution under which the president would have greater control of Ecuador's economy.

Mr Correa says the reforms will tackle political instability and make Ecuador a more just society.

But critics say they will focus more power in the president's hands.




SEE ALSO
Ecuador tells US to quit air base
30 Jul 08 |  Americas
Ecuador draft constitution passed
25 Jul 08 |  Americas
Ecuador head defends TV seizures
09 Jul 08 |  Americas
Ecuador puts off Colombian ties
26 Jun 08 |  Americas

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific