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Ecuador, Colombia sign drug control and immigration agreements and guarantee health care too

Although the focus of last week’s meeting between Ecuador and Colombia was on controlling drug trafficking near the border and dealing with the flood of immigrants from Venezuela, it also delivered good news to travelers.

President Lenin Moreno (left) with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos during last week’s bilateral meetings.

One of the agreements signed Friday guarantees free emergency medical care for residents of Ecuador and Colombia when they visit the other country. “The agreement provides peace of mind to citizens of our two nations that a health emergency while they are traveling will not cause financial distress,” Ecuador President Lenin Moreno said. “Residents of Ecuador with a valid cedula visiting Colombia now know they are protected.”

Moreno and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, along with their cabinets, met for three days in the Colombia city of Pereira to discuss growing drug trafficking concerns, border protection, immigration and other issues. In all, 80 agreements were signed.

Both Moreno and Santos agreed that confronting the threat from drug production and trafficking was the central concern of the meeting. By some estimates, the amount of land devoted to coca crops in Colombia has doubled with cocaine production also sky-rocking. An emerging concern is the heroin production in southern Colombia.

Violence from the drug trade spilled over the border into Ecuador’s Esmeraldas Province January 27 when a powerful bomb destroyed much of  a police command center in the town of San Lorenzo. On the same day, six Colombia police officers were killed in drug-related bombings in northern Colombia.

“We are very aware that we face a major challenge controlling these illegal operations and we must work together with Ecuador to control and stop it,” Santos said. “The explosion in San Lorenzo makes us aware that drug trafficking is a bilateral concern.”

During the meeting, Santos doubled the award offered by the Colombian government for the capture of those responsible for the San Lorenzo bombing, from 150 million pesos to 300 million pesos (about $105,000).

Colombia and Ecuador agreed to commit additional police and military personnel to the border area near the Pacific coast. In separate agreement, the two countries said they would establish a joint command to improve intelligence sharing in the region.

6 thoughts on “Ecuador, Colombia sign drug control and immigration agreements and guarantee health care too

  1. So even though all of Ecuador’s “foreign residents” are required to have full coverage health insurance, Colombian tourists will be given free “catastrophic only” emergency care and that will satisfy the health insurance requirement under the new law as a “tourists”. Who’s driving this bus?

    1. It’s a reciprocal agreement. The same benefit will apply to Ecuadorian tourists in Colombia.

      BTW, not sure what putting “foreign residents”, “catastrophic only” and “tourists” in quotes was supposed to accomplish. The people “driving the bus” took the time to understand the entire agreement before rushing to vent their outrage.

      1. If you don’t understand the difference between mandatory full coverage paid health insurance and catastrophic only freebies then that’s where you need to start.

        Clue: Discriminatory, again, against foreign residents of Ecuador.

        1. If you don’t understand the difference between a reciprocal agreement between two neighboring nations to ensure that their citizens can receive emergency medical care when traveling and your whining about not being able to get free care from a system you never paid into, move to another country.

          1. Not so brilliant, Jason. You don’t like what a poster wrote so you become the jillionth person to tell them to move to another country.

            Education, not expulsion, is the higher ground.

    2. Complete misuse of what are called “scare quotes”.

      Each of the three instances you have used quotation marks is incorrect.

      scare quote
      (SKAIR qwot)

      noun: The quotation marks used to indicate that the quoted word or phrase is incorrect, nonstandard, or ironic.

      Coined by the philosopher G.E.M. Anscombe in 1956. The equivalent term in spoken communication is air quotes.

      Scare quotes are used to indicate the writer’s disagreement or disapproval of the use of the term.
      Example: Some consider Trump to be the “greatest” president ever.

      “Caspar always thought of his ‘time machine’ thus, with scare quotes around it, since it was not really a machine, and Caspar did not believe in time.”
      Gardner Dozois; The Year’s Best Science Fiction; St. Martin’s Press; 1990.

      See more usage examples of scare quote in’s dictionary.

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