Interior Minister Diego Fuentes reports that Ecuador’s Anti-Narcotics Unit have seized more than five tons of illegal drugs in a cargo ship offshore of Santa Elena Province. The bust is the largest in the country’s history and one of the largest ever reported in South America, he says.
The drugs, mostly cocaine, were headed for Panama and Spain, Fuentes said. The seizure was coordinated with law enforcement agencies in Spain and resulted in 25 arrests, mostly of foreign nationals.
Fuentes said earlier in the week that the anti-narcotics unit is increasing operations in an effort keep illegal drug shipments out of the country. More than 25 tons of drugs, mostly cocaine and marijuana, have been seized since the beginning of the year, most of it off shore.
Secretary General of OAS praises Correa
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, praised the administration of President Rafael Correa in a speech on Thursday.
“During his time in office, President Correa has transformed Ecuador,” Almagro said. “He has given the country institutional strength and political stability. He has developed progressive social policy and expanded infrastructure and productive capacity.”
In particular, he cited Ecuador’s record of poverty reduction, the best in the Western Hemisphere in the last 12 years. “The president’s policies were responsible for this very impressive achievement,” he said.
In the past, the U.S.-based OAS has been critical of Correa on several occasions, but Almagro said the president has always put the interests of Ecuador first.
Property owners defend Cajas housing project
Two owners of apartments in the Valle Encantado condominium, near the Cajas National Park, say the project meets all legal and environmental standards. The owners were responding to charges made two weeks ago by municipal councilman Cristian Zamora who claimed the project was built in violation of its original land use plan.
Zamora said original plans called for construction of horse stables, not human housing.
The owners say that the property is outside the limits of the Cajas National Park environmental protection area and that the original construction plans included housing as well as out buildings. They also maintain that the project’s population density meets environmental standards and that farm animals would create far more pollution than humans.