ECUADOR DIGESTNational Assembly passes part of new penal code; condo collapse prompts warning about construction standards

Oct 13, 2013

Ecuador’s National Assembly overwhelmingly approved two of the three parts of the country’s new penal code Saturday night.

The approved parts include 77 changes, including revisions of laws governing drivers’ licenses, traffic infractions, genocide, wrongful death, torture, sexual violence against women and family, fraud, theft, smuggling of migrants, evation of IESS payments to employees, smuggling, money laundering, arms trafficking, and terrorism.

The assembly voted to continue discussion on the third part of the code, which includes reforms civil judicial rules, a number of issues relating to children and adolescents and procedural changes to existing laws.chl assembly

The new code strengthens the country’s anti-money laundering laws. The international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has criticized Ecuador for inadequate efforts to control international money laundering and President Rafael Correa had pushed for a tougher rules.

The vote for passage was 90 in favor, six opposed and 20 abstentions.

Medellin condo collapse leaves 2 dead, 11 missing

A member of a committee created to examine national construction standards says that Saturday’s collapse of a new 22-story residential building in Medellin, Colombia, should be a wake-up call for increasing oversight of large projects in Ecuador.

Jorge Gonzalez, member of a construction standards task force established by the National Assembly, said that highrise buildings in Ecuador follow many of same standards used in Colombia. “This building was similar to those being built in Ecuador, particularly in Quito, Cuenca and on the coast,” he said. “We are in the process of examining our construction and inspection standards to make sure this doesn’t happen here.”

Two people are dead and eleven others are missing in the Medellin collapse although most residents were evacuated Friday when large cracks appeared in support columns. The building is part of a building boom in Medellin’s El Poblado district, popular with middle class Colombians and foreign investors and expatriates.

Bolivia will sell coca products to Ecuador

Bolivia is planning to sell more coca products to Ecuador under an agreement signed law week following a visit by President Rafael Correa to Bolivia.

The products would be primarily for medicinal and therapeutic uses but would also include some food products.

It is legal to grow coca, the plant used in the production of cocaine, in Boliva under certain conditions, and the country has been marketing a variety of products, including medicines, teas and candy.

Bolivia has come under fire from the U.S. for allowing coca production. The U.S. says that too much production ends up in cocaine production. Bolivia has responded that coca has been used for centuries in Andean countries for health and religious purposes, and that it is controlling illegal growing.

Correa said Ecuador would make sure that no coca products that could be used for cocaine production enter the country.

Photo caption: Ecuador’s national assembly

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