Ecuador says new Defense Minister to be a woman

Saturday, January 27, 2007; 2:52 PM

QUITO (Reuters) - President Rafael Correa of Ecuador said on Saturday that he will name a woman to the top security job after the country's first female Defense Minister Guadalupe Larriva was killed in a helicopter crash earlier this week.

"It's important for the ministry to be headed by a woman. Guadalupe's maternal heart was able to do more than the strong hand of the generals," Correa said in his weekly radio interview show.

He added that the next minister will also come from Larriva's home province of Azuay.

The crash and Larriva's death shook Correa's young government and briefly deflated tensions between the leftist and Congress over his plans to rewrite the constitution in the unstable country, where three presidents have been ousted in the last decade.

Correa has called for an investigation with the help of international experts to determine the cause of Wednesday's crash of the two Gazelle helicopters, which killed Larriva, her teen-age daughter and five military personnel in the coastal province of Manabi after a military air practice.

Larriva was a 50-year-old former teacher and leader of the socialist political party supporting Correa.

Full Legal Notice
© 2007 Reuters