1-Prominent Ecuador Leaders Charged
2-Ecuador anxious for IMF cash to back dollarization


Wednesday March 29 4:04 PM ET

Prominent Ecuador Leaders Charged

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) - The Supreme Court charged four prominent figures
Wednesday, including one of the court's former justices, with taking part
in the military-backed Indian uprising that toppled Ecuador's president in

Antonio Vargas, leader of the Confederation of Indigenous Nations of
Ecuador, and former Supreme Court Judge Carlos Solorzano were two of the
three members of a short-lived
junta that took power after seizing Congress with hundreds of Indians and
a cadre of young army officers.

They were charged Wednesday with ``attempts against the security of the
state'' and, if found guilty, could face three to 16 years in prison.

Also charged were Paco Moncayo and Rene Yandun,
leaders of the Democratic Left party, who were voted out of
Congress by fellow lawmakers for taking part in the uprising.
Solorzano had already left the bench.

Former armed forces chief Gen. Carlos Mendoza, who
forced then-president Jamil Mahuad from power and took the third seat on
the junta, was not charged by the Supreme Court, but will have to offer
sworn testimony, authorities said.

Mendoza turned power over to Gustavo Noboa, the democratically elected
vice president, under pressure from the U.S. State Department and at least
20 regional commanders under
his command who opposed the overthrow of civilian rule.

Mendoza, who resigned his post, said later that he agreed to join the coup
as a stall tactic until democratic order could be restored.

Ecuador's high military tribunal is considering whether to pursue charges
against Mendoza and dozens of other officers for possible court martials.

Military tribunals are trying 17 military officers, most of them colonels,
for their part in Mahuad's illegal ouster.



Tuesday March 21, 4:20 pm Eastern Time

Ecuador anxious for IMF cash to back dollarization

(Recasts, adds quotes, comments from multilateral lenders, bond holders)

WASHINGTON, March 21 (Reuters) - Ecuador is anxious to get final
International Monetary Fund approval of a $2 billion loan package to rescue
its battered economy and adopt the dollar as its currency, Foreign Minister
Heinz Moeller said on Tuesday.

Moeller said additional reforms required by the IMF, including steps to
recover loans to private banks, should win congressional approval this
week, allowing the signing of a
``definitive'' agreement with the fund as early as next week.

But an IMF spokesman said approval by the IMF board of directors could take
another month, as Quito has yet to sign a letter
of intent for consideration by the IMF staff.

Ecuador last week began injecting dollars into its economy to replace the
national currency, the sucre, which will be kept only for coins. In the
first week, the Central Bank pumped $32 million into circulation, of some
$400 million needed for the swap.

Moeller said Quito will inject between $150-180 million in the initial
phase of dollarization, and the rest later, to avoid rekindling
inflation, which exceeded 60 percent in 1999.

``Dollarization is a straight-jacket. It means absolute fiscal
discipline,'' said Moeller, who is in Washington for talks with
multilateral lenders and U.S. officials on the recovery plan.

``We are going to sink those damned money printing machines in the
Pacific,'' he said at a news conference.

The dollarization plan was proposed by former President Jamil Mahuad and
embraced by his successor, Gustavo Noboa, who
took over in January after a military coup amid mass protests by indigenous
groups against Mahuad's economic policies.

Moeller said multilateral loans will be used to cushion the social impact
of the adoption of the dollar.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) will disburse $100 million in
loans to bolster the crippled banking system and
fund social programs as soon Congress approves the second batch of reforms
required by the IMF, the minister said.

IADB officials said the sectoral loans were approved last year and were not
part of the IMF-led rescue package, which
includes funds from the IADB, the World Bank and the Andean Development

With dollarization underway, Moeller said Ecuador has taken steps to
restart talks with private creditors and multilateral
lenders, and hoped to restructure Paris Club debt next year.

Holders of Ecuadorean Brady bonds said in new York that no meetings have
been held to restart stalled negotiations launched
last year after Ecuador declared a moratorium on most bonds.

They told Reuters they expect to meet Ecuadorean finance officials at the
IADB annual meeting in New Orleans beginning on
the weekend.

A senior World Bank official said it was premature to talk about
restructuring Ecuadorean multilateral debt. Ecuador does not
qualify for debt relief given to poor countries.

Ecuador's multilateral debt accounts for $5 billion of its total foreign
public debt of $13 billion. This is larger than the country's
output and three times its annual exports.

Moeller said plan to build a new $500 to $600-million oil pipeline to the
coast could allow Ecuador to increase its oil exports by
180.000 barrels-a-day and generate cash to buy back Brady bonds or restart

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