FERNANDO ECHEVERRÍA’S ministerial career will be remembered, if at all, for its brevity rather than its accomplishments. On July 18th he was sworn in as Chile’s energy minister. He resigned three days and eight hours later, after news reports revealed that ENAP, Chile’s state energy company, owed money to Echeverría Izquierdo, Mr Echeverría’s private construction firm. As energy minister, Mr Echeverría was also chairman of ENAP. Since he could not act in the interests of both companies simultaneously, he left the government. The fleeting minister and his erstwhile boss, President Sebastián Piñera, should perhaps be congratulated for their swift and transparent handling of his departure. But the fact that no one in government noticed the banana skin before Mr Echeverría stepped on it is indicative of the pitfalls faced by Mr Piñera’s business-friendly government.