Ecuador: Center of the Earth and reliable partner of Belarus

Ecuador: Center of the Earth and reliable partner of Belarus

Latin America is a big and promising market for the sale of Belarusian goods. The Presidents of Belarus and Ecuador have exchanged mutual visits in recent years. A few months ago in an interview with our program, Rafael Correa said that Ecuador is waiting for Alexander Lukashenko's visit to promote both political and economic cooperation.  And quite recently, during the UN General Assembly, the two leaders have met in New York and reiterated their serious intentions to make friends.

What is Ecuador? What makes it interesting for Belarus? Our special correspondent Olga Petrashevskaya knows.

Olga Petrashevskaya, CTV special correspondent:
There are no seasons here. Here the day is equal to night. Here people know where the center of the Earth is. This is Ecuador!

Quito is the second highest capital of the world after Bolivian La Paz. 2,800 meters above sea level.

Andrei Nikonov, Director of PA "Belorusneft" in Ecuador:
Every 100 years devastating earthquakes occur here. The last was 130 years ago, so it may revive at any moment. I came for the first time in Ecuador, and just three months after that it all shook here quite strongly. Office doors slammed.

Many foreign companies compete for the right to work in the fields in Ecuador. Belorusneft managed to integrate into the "black gold stream" thanks largely to the relations between the two presidents. 

In 2012, Alexander Lukashenko visited Ecuador on an official visit and met with President Correa.

Andrei Nikonov, Director of PA "Belorusneft" in Ecuador:
Had it not been for that successful visit and had we not got these cordial relations between the two states, we would have it difficult. We did our best too of course. We now take a strong market niche in Ecuador and it's hard to push us away. We have signed two very large seismic contracts, one for $75 million and the second project is seismic surveying worth $100 million.

One of the agreements will allow Belarus to extract oil from the field Armadilo for 15 years. But do not forget that

for Ecuador mining and export of black gold is the most important article of the economy.

Therefore, every foreign company operating in the field of petroleum, faces many, sometimes difficult, conditions. And add "natural tests".      

Andrei Nikonov, Director of PA "Belorusneft" in Ecuador:
Sometimes during the rainy season, people actually go in water up to their chests and drill those wells. It really is hard work. Ecuador has very strict requirements for work, especially in respect to oil companies in the Amazon jungle.

The country has been in litigation with US oil giant Chevron for nearly 20 years.

According to the Ecuadorian side, in the '70s -' 80s, during drilling, a subsidiary of Chevron - Texaco - did not carry out cleaning of oil waste, and this resulted in the pollution of the Amazon region.

Ecuador wants $19 billion for environmental damage. Chevron disagrees.    

Jose Luis Diaz, director of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Ecuador:
Now I will take a stick and you will see oily spots on the surface. This is the oil waste.  And the worst thing is that pollution reaches levels from which people get drinking water.

Emil Cabrera Armijos, resident of the village of La Primavera (Ecuador):
My two daughters, 16 and 18 years old, they died. Died! One eleven years ago, and the other four years later. They were treated in Quito, but before the autopsy no one could diagnose them - such specific were the symptoms!  I have four more children and they constantly have some skin rashes. I just do not know what to do!

The local philosophy is to cook on an open fire but have energy-saving light bulbs!

Ernesto Garcia:
We grow corn, rice, and cocoa. Breed poultry, pigs, so we don't need any grocery store. Except for salt! We are not rich but we have electricity! Believe me, this is great! Shower with cold water is in the street, but we are quite happy!

Pouring climate means pouring money. The country on the equator is world number one supplier of bananas. Profit from sales amounts to billions of dollars a year. Banana trade bridges between Ecuador and Belarus are well-built unlike this boat, in which we are travelling across the river.

"Only" 11,000 kilometers - and fruit from South American plantations are already unloaded not far away from Minsk.

These bananas are not ripe but, with modern technologies, it takes them just 3-4 days to become yellow under a certain pressure and temperature. Hundreds of tons a week!

In Ecuador, bananas are actually worth nothing! This stern-looking bunch is only $1! In addition to bananas everything can be found in Ecuadorian streets! Insoles, flags and of course flowers.

Ecuadorian women are lucky: the country is one of the world's largest exporters of flowers, therefore any Ecuadorian can buy a rose to his lady for cheap.

Alberto, owner of a flower plantation:
The key is that, firstly, we are high in the mountains and secondly, our flowers, in contrast to Europe, have 12 hours of light a day time. But this is not all: we turn on the music for flowers. (What kind of music? Hard Rock?) No! Only classical music!

There are lots of colors of roses on this plantation and their height reaches 2.5 meters.

Olga Petrashevskaya, CTV special correspondent:
After hours of air travel roses from our Ecuadorian plantations come to Amsterdam - the center of the world blossoming business. This is their transit point. And then, from the capital of the Netherlands, tons of flowers fly around the world, including to Belarus.

Through flower exports Ecuador budget gains more than $700 million a year.

Diego Aulestia Valencia, Minister of Foreign Trade of the Republic of Ecuador:
Belarusian and Ecuadorian economies complement each other. Deliveries of potash fertilizers from Belarus to Ecuador have increased, in addition, we are particularly interested in the establishment of assembly plants of Belarusian machinery. And, of course, we would like to enter the market of the Eurasian Economic Union. We hope that Belarus will become the center of the relationship of Ecuador with the EEU.               

Igor Poluyan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus in the Republic of Ecuador:
We here are exporting fertilizers and bars. Plus equipment that our oil workers use here. Services add to the figure... While in 2013 the mutual trade in services was $2 million, a year later, in 2014, it was already $62 million. We are just starting.  

Belarus has the Garden of Simon Bolivar, who once freed the South American country from Spanish rule.  This businessman says that there will be more associations with Ecuador in Belarus.

Banner Moya, businessman:
Now our company is designing a huge residential complex. And we call one of the buildings Belarus - it will be written on the front. On one wall designers will place elements of the ornament of your country.

Banner Moya, businessman:
In Ecuador, as in Argentina, Venezuela, it is dangerous to go out late at night, in the best case, your mobile phone will be stolen. In Belarus, as my daughters told me, you can walk even at night.

Soon "Belarusian bricks" will appear in Ecuadorian construction sphere. 

The Belzarubezhstroy company, known including for the erection of houses in Venezuela, is currently working on several projects of cooperation.

Thanks to the quality control of our specialists Ecuador is getting new substations and power lines.  

In addition, the Belarusian company plans to build in Ecuador several industrial enterprises and schools. Schools located hundreds of kilometers from Quito resemble farms.

The ocean here is something like a natural city-forming enterprise

Each house has a kind of parking but not for cars. Boats are more important.

Olga Petrashevskaya, CTV special correspondent:
Even if fishermen return to the village without fish, their wives are not always in a hurry to pick up a machete. Some manage to sell fish directly to passing ships and this all turns into a kind of a supermarket in the open ocean!

Another option is market. However, fishermen are unhappy: they say the wholesale price of $8 per one kilo of dorado is a robbery! Someone buys for restaurants and someone for lunch.

Ecuador is also unique because it is located in several climatic zones.

And thanks to the equator, different parts of the country have their own temperature all the year round. For example, Quito has 20-22 degrees. Not hot, but the sun is aggressive.

Almost every night, hundreds of people gather at the mini stadium and cheer for volleyball teams of colleagues, neighbors and just passing-by citizens. 

Shoulder to shoulder businessmen and workers are playing. The audience makes bets, not just to cheer, but also to earn.

As the net divides the field, the line of the equator in Ecuador is exactly in the middle of the world. Here it is - the zero parallel, the center of the Earth!