Chile’s Post-Quake Money Conflict

The man who may have been partly responsible for the failure of three buildings in Chile’s February earthquake is now leading the reconstruction of the urban Santiago region. Fernando Echevarria’s construction company led Chile’s chamber of builders before the quake and successfully lobbied against government inspections that would make companies like his accountable for faulty structures. Three of his new buildings failed to withstand the quake.

In an article on the Google News site, Associated Press reporter Michael Warren says this is one of many possible conflicts created by Chile’s president, and that he is running the reconstruction “like the private ventures that made him a billionaire.”

President Sebastian Pinera told a reporter for Argentina’s Clarin newspaper that the important thing in this situation is knowing how to resolve it correctly. By demanding quick results after the quake he was able to deliver shelters and schools ahead of schedule with minimal bureaucracy. But there have been a number of conflicts of interest, says the article, including the $15 million Pinera gave to three giant building-supply companies associated with his cabinet in no-bid contracts, “cutting out local vendors who desperately needed the sales after the quake,” says the article.

To read the Associated Press article, click here:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM 5jPZQBWg59z2zpYYkEE8e6KWOoxMwD9GAQJ1O0