President Rafael Correa has aplogized for comments he made last week about Ecuadorian singer Jaime Guevara. Among other things, Correa called Guevara “a drunk and drug addict.”
The comment followed an incident last Thursday in which Guevara shot a bird at Correa’s limousine on a Quito street. The presidential motorcade came to a stop and the president and police accosted Guevara. Guevara said that the president’s body guards had their guns drawn while he and Correa argued.
In his Saturday television broadcast, Correa said he has learned that Guevara suffers from a rare neurological disease, similar to epilespy, that causes emotional outburts and seizures. The president said he was sorry and that his comments were beneath the dignity of his office. “What I said was an error of judgment,” he said. “I reacted rashly.”
On Thursday and Friday, Correa and the singer traded social media insults. Guevara said that the incident was an example of Correa’s “high-handed and imperious” governing style and his lack of respect for freedom of speech and human rights.
Ecuador moves up in competitiveness rankings
Ecuador has advanced 15 positions in the the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index, ranking 71 among the 148 countries included in the survey.
The ranking is based on 12 categories including technology advancement, government stability, general infrastructure, currency stability and business climate.
A major factor for Ecuador’s improvement, according to WEF, is a new openness to businesses interested in investing in the country and overtures made by President Rafael Correa to Germany and other countries to engage in trade talks.
In Latin America, Chile ranks highest in competitiveness, while Panama, Colombia and Costa Rica also get high marks.
Damaged satellite is declared a loss
Ecuador’s EXA space agency said it has given up trying to recover signals from the Andean nation’s first satellite, which went silent after in was struck by space debris in May.
Participants in an Aug. 28 meeting among officials of the space agency, security ministry and State Intelligence Directorate agreed to terminate efforts to re-establish contact with the Pegaso NEE-001, EXA said in a statement.
Pegaso, a cube weighing just 2.1 kilos (4.6 pounds), was placed in orbit April 26 and began transmitting video on May 16, providing overhead views of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.
The nano-satellite was launched from China’s Jiuquan space center.
The device stopped emitting signals on May 23, when it was side-swiped by floating debris from a Russian rocket launched in 1985.
Ecuador has announced that it will launch another satellite later this year.
Photo caption: President Correa and singer