Ecuador unlikely to see U.S. inflation rates; Retired general says radar bombing probably an ‘inside job’; Lasso turns over financial records to the Comptroller
Although Ecuador’s annual inflation rate increased to 1.47 percent in October, an economics professor says the country will not suffer the same post-pandemic price surge seen in the U.S. “Because we use the U.S. dollar, there is concern that we will experience similar inflation as the U.S. but this is highly unlikely,” says Randall Covington, a lecturer in international finance at San Francisco University-Quito. On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced that inflation was running at 6.2 percent, the highest rate in 31 years.
“We are not experiencing the buying spree of consumer goods that is happening in the U.S.,” Covington says. “The U.S. government added 15 percent to the national money supply since the beginning of the pandemic, putting enormous upward pressure on consumption. In addition, the Fed has maintained historically low interest rates, which I believe is a mistake.”
According to Covington, Ecuador is “partly protected” from inflation because it uses the dollar. “The government here cannot print money and it cannot afford to infuse billions into the economy. Ecuador has one of the lowest inflation rates in Latin America and I believe this will continue to be the case as the pandemic winds down.”
Retired general says radar bombing probably an ‘inside job’
A retired Army general said Thursday that the bombing of a radar station in Manabí Province was probably an “inside job” carried out by military personnel bribed by Mexican drug cartels. “I am urging the government to move quickly with the investigation to determine who is behind this,” said retired General General Raul Prado in an interview with a Guayaquil radio station.
“Security at the site was the responsibility of the soldiers and my fear is that at least one of them was paid by drug gangs to set off the detonation,” he said. “It is critical that we identify the culprits to prevent this from happening again.”
Prado said he worries that Ecuador could become “another Mexico”, where drug cartels influence and sometimes control the police and the army. “These gangs have great amounts of money at their disposal and if proper controls are not in place they can subvert national security,” he said. “We are in the early stage of the cartels’ influence here and, if we act quickly, we can control it but we have no time to waste.”
According to investigators, damage to the radar equipment was minor but the system will be inoperable for at least two weeks. The radar is part of the government’s plan to detect small aircraft carrying illegal drugs between Peru and Colombia.
Lasso turns over Pandora Papers documents to the Comptroller
President Guillermo Lasso has turned over documents to the Comptroller General’s office he says prove he complied with a 2017 law making it illegal for public officials to hold properties and accounts in overseas tax havens. Lawyers for the president delivered the documents Wednesday that include account records and letters from companies that managed his assets.
Lasso was one of the political leaders listed in the Pandora Papers, an investigation by a consortium of journalists, for holding overseas accounts.
In a report released last weekend, National Assembly’s Constitutional Guarantees Commission recommended that the Assembly begin an impeachment trial against Lasso based on its claim that he broke the 2017 law. Lasso called the report’s conclusion “pathetic lies intended to foment a coup d’etat.”
The impeachment drive stalled earlier this week when some members of the commission claimed language was added to the report at the last minute by the commission president, before it was submitted to the National Assembly.
74% of Ecuador adolescents are vaccinated
According to the Ministry of Public Health, 74 percent of Ecuadorians aged 12 to 17 have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. National vaccine coordinator Cristina Aldaz said that the numbers are “very encouraging and better than we expected.” She added that the vaccination program for adolescents continues while emphasis is shifting to school children five to 11. “We are on pace to reach herd immunity by the end of 2021,” Aldaz said.