The National Alliance for Health is demanding that President Guillermo Lasso declare a national emergency for the country’s public health sector. The Alliance, made up of patient rights groups and medical professionals, claims public hospitals and clinics and the Social Security health system are in a “state of collapse.”
“This is a national crisis,” says Gustavo Davila, Alliance director. “Patients are literally dying waiting for medication and hospital procedures. Doctors are working with outdated equipment and equipment that needs repair. We are tired of all the promises and the endless planning meetings. We need action now.”
Davila blames the Lasso government of failing to deliver on plans announced during the presidential campaign. “It has been more than a year and very little has changed except for inadequate piecemeal deliveries of medicine and promises of more studies. For citizens in need of care, the government cannot even pay its bills to private providers and they are now refusing to accept more patients.”
Davila said that public health workers have been “disrespected and ignored” by the government. “These workers, doctors, nurses and staff, risked their lives to help the sick during the pandemic and promises were made to increase their pay but this has not happened.”
‘Fat and happy in Miami’: Correistas do ‘damage control
Leaders of the Correista Union of Hope party admit they are conducting “damage control” following release of a photo of Unes Assemblyman Ronny Aleaga with Ecuadorian fugitives in Miami. The photo shows several overweight men, including Aleaga, drinks in hand, in a swimming pool. Pictured with Aleaga are Xavier Jordan and Pablo Mendoza, who were convicted in absentia for defrauding two public hospitals in Guayaquil.
Former president Rafael Correa called the photo “embarrassing” and said Aleaga “must give an explanation to the country for this disturbing image.” Correa also criticized the news media for “over-emphasizing the significance of the photo.” He said Aleaga will be punished.
According to Unes leaders in the National Assembly, Aleaga had described the trip to Miami as a “fact-finding mission,” with the purpose of meeting Ecuadorian migrants in the South Florida area. According to an unnamed Unes assemblywoman, there were no meetings with migrants. “It appears he was simply there to hang out,” she said.
Chairman of the Assembly’s Supervisory Commission, Fernando Villavicencio, said he will open an official investigation into Aleaga’s trip.
Ecuador monitors fishing fleet near the Galapagos
The government said Saturday that it is keeping a close watch on a large fishing fleet operating just south of Galapagos Islands protected waters. In a statement, the Foreign Affairs Ministry reported that “more than 100” large fishing vessels have dropped anchor about 60 kilometers south of the Galapagos Exclusion Zone.
The Ministry said the majority of the fishing vessels, including several factory processing ships, are Chinese. A spokesman said it is believed the fleet is fishing primarily for giant squid and sharks. “We have sent an official notice to Beijing asking that the fleet remain outside of the protected exclusion zone,” he said. “We emphasized the importance of the Galapagos environment and the need to guarantee the sustainability of the species within the protected waters.”
In the past, Chinese fishing ships have crossed the boundary of the exclusion zone and have been seized by the Ecuadorian navy.
New, higher octane ethanol gasoline will go on sale in July
Although he refused to give an exact price, Petroecuador general manger Ítalo Cedeño said Sunday that the new Eco Plus gasoline will “probably cost a little over $3.50 a gallon at the pump.” The 89-octane ethanol brand will go on sale July 12.
According to Cedeño, Eco Plus is a cleaner-burning gasoline with low sulfur content. “It will provide greater motor power than Eco and will be better for the environment,” he said. “We believe it fills an important niche between the expensive Super and Eco.” Super, with 92 octane, currently sells at $4.69 a gallon while the price of 87-octane Eco is fixed at $2.55.
Another advantage of Eco Plus, Cedeño said, is that it can be manufactured in Ecuador unlike Super, which is imported.