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Ecuador News

Diesel price heads higher, U.S. begins drug surveillance flights from Guayaquil, Nations agree to relax rules for Venezuelan refugees

Ecuador to allow U.S. drug surveillance flights

Recently appointed Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo announced Tuesday that U.S. anti-drug surveillance aircraft will begin flights from Guayaquil on Thursday. She said that the aircraft, Lockheed Martin P-3 Long Range Trackers, will operate under the joint supervision of Ecuador and U.S. drug enforcement agencies.

Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo

“All flights will have the direct oversight of the Ecuador customs office and the anti-narcotics division of the national police, working in cooperation with U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officials,” she said.

Romo said that the surveillance aircraft will be based at the Guayaquil airport and that there are no plans to establish a separate U.S. military or drug enforcement base, which is illegal under Ecuadorian law.

Diesel price headed higher, fishermen protest

The price of diesel fuel will increase to $2.20 from the current $1.02, President Lenin Moreno’s office announced Monday. The price will be adjusted in three phases, according to Eduardo Jurado Béjar, executive secretary to the president. “We are working on the details and many things remain to be worked out,” he said.

At a press conference Tuesday in Guayaquil, representatives of the Chambers of Fisheries and Aquaculture warned that increasing the price of diesel could have a “devastating impact” on the country’s fishing industry. “We are insisting on a dialog with the government on the diesel issue,” said Rafael Trujillo, president of the chamber. He added that a fuel price hike could raise the price of shrimp production seven percent, reducing Ecuador’s competitiveness in the world market.

Nations agree to reduce barriers for Venezuelan refugees

A two-day meeting to address the Venezuelan refugee crisis concluded Tuesday in Quito with representatives of 12 countries agreeing to “facilitate” the movement of refugees in Latin America. One measure agreed on was to allow refugees to cross borders with expired travel documents. It was not clear how this will affect new requirements for valid passports and cedulas adopted recently by Ecuador and Peru. In other action, the countries agreed to work with the United Nations to share information and to provide special services for vulnerable refugee groups.

Besides Ecuador, countries attending the summit included Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic and Uruguay. Venezuela refused to attend, calling the meeting “illegitimate.” The countries attending the meeting agreed to meet again in November.