Interior Minister Alexandra Vela said she and President Guillermo Lasso have agreed to hold discussions with the labor leaders who organized Wednesday’s anti-government protests. On Thursday, Vela met with leaders of the United Workers Front and other labor organizations and agreed on a structure for the talks. FUT is insisting that Lasso be involved in the talks and Vela said the president is agreeable.
The government and labor unions are far apart on a number of issues, including Lasso’s proposed Law of Opportunity which makes it easier for employers to hire and fire employees as well as Ecuador’s relationship with the International Monetary Fund, which labor wants terminated.
Deputy Minister of Interior Juan Manuel Fuertes, who attended Thursday’s meeting with Vela, said the two sides share a number of common goals that should be developed. “Despite the differences, we all want to increase employment opportunities and build a stronger economy. We can start on common ground and then discuss the issues where we disagree.”
U.S. puts Ecuador on drug trafficking list
The United States has included Ecuador in a list of 22 countries it claims play the biggest roles in the production and transit of illegal drugs. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency says that Ecuador is “not involved in a significant role” in the production of drugs but has become a “major player” in the transport of drugs from Peru and Colombia to the U.S. and Europe.
The DEA statement said that inclusion of the list did not imply that the countries were not active in combating the illegal drug trade and noted that several of the countries, including Ecuador, have recently taken strong measures to improve law enforcement. The agency said that the U.S. has allocated $10.7 billion in the current budget year to fight the international drug trade, much of it going to countries on the list.
In addition to drug transit operations along Ecuador’s coast, the DEA said that large shipments of drugs pass through the uninhabited Galapagos Islands.
In addition to Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Bahamas, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Belize are the Latin American and Caribbean countries on the DEA list.
Correistas reclaim the name Citizens Revolution
The National Electoral Council had approved the Movimiento Fuerza Compromiso Social’s application to rename itself the Revolución Ciudadana, or Citizens Revolution. The CNE rejected Fuerza Compromiso Social’s use of the name in 2018 based the fact that it was still used by Alianza País, the party created by former president Rafael Correa but was then under the leadership of former president Lenin Moreno, who opposed many of Correa’s positions. The CNE granted permission Friday based on the fact that Alianza País was no longer using the slogan.
Fuerza Compromiso Social has the largest voting block in the National Assembly, with 47 of 137 of members.
Guatemala reinstates visa requirement for Ecuadorians
Guatemala is once again requiring visas for Ecuadorian travelers. The government, which had dropped the requirement in 2019 said it was necessary to reinstate it due to increasing numbers of Ecuadorians using the country as a transit route to the U.S. “We will always welcome Ecuadorian tourists to our country but the number of non-regular travelers from Ecuador requires us to once again require visas,” the Guatemala Department of Migration said Thursday.
According to the department, more than 200 Ecuadorians intending to travel to the U.S. have been detained in Guatemala City and are awaiting deportation back to Ecuador. The department says that new requirements for Ecuadorians by the Mexican government has increased the number of Ecuadorians attempting to travel to the U.S. and passing through Guatemala.