Guayaquil crowd applauds when police kill two suspects; Ecuador and China to sign trade agreement; Lasso proposes tax reductions
Two suspected thieves were shot and killed in a gunfight with police Wednesday in Durán. Social media videos showed about dozen bystanders applauding and cheering police following the shootings as the victims’ bodies lay in the street.
According to the police report, the suspects, riding a motorcycle, followed a man who had just withdrawn cash from a bank. The man, who was driving a van, swerved into the path of the motorcycle when he was confronted, knocking the men onto the street.
Two policemen were on patrol at the time of the incident and engaged the suspects who attempted to leave the scene. More than 20 shots were fired during the exchange. Neither of the police officers was injured.
The Guayaquil Ombudsman’s office said it would file a complaint with the National Police command regarding the police handling of the incident. The office claims the police failed to follow proper procedure by allowing the bodies of the victims to lie uncovered on the street for about 20 minutes following the shooting.
“By not covering the bodies immediately, the police allowed bystanders to gather and celebrate the death of the victims,” an Ombudsman spokesman said. “Applauding violence of any kind only leads to more violence.”
Ecuador and China to sign trade agreement
Ecuador and China will sign a trade agreement on May 10, Ecuador’s Minister of Production Julio José Prado said Thursday.
According to Prado’s statement, the signing will be done virtually in simultaneous ceremonies in Quito and Beijing.
The authorities of both nations decided to sign the pact after 10 months of meetings and four rounds of negotiations focused on the reduction of tariffs to allow merchandise access to the two markets.
Among the national products that will be benefited are shrimp, bananas, flowers, cocoa, coffee, and other less traditional ones such as pineapple, mango, blueberries, quinoa, processed foods, as well as fresh and canned fruits.
The pact also includes rules to improve customs procedures, protocols for sanitary and phytosanitary measures, reduction of obstacles to commercial exchange, cooperation for investment, promotion of electronic commerce, among other aspects.
The commercial instrument will substantially improve the access of the Ecuadorian exportable offer to a market of over 1.4 billion consumers, the Ministry of Production stated in an official note in January, when the negotiations concluded.
China is currently Ecuador’s main non-oil trade partner, said the statement, which also highlighted how the agreement will bring multiple benefits to both countries.
Lasso proposes tax reductions
President Guillermo Lasso said Wednesday he will send the National Assembly legislation “to reduce the heavy tax burden on Ecuadorians.” The president said his proposal will reverse most of the emergency tax increase imposed in 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The proposed changes, according to the president’s office, all relate to personal and corporate income tax and will modify the 2021 rule eliminating individual deductions. The new law will allow the deduction of some personal expenses under a modified formula and institute a revised tax table and rate calculation formula.
Dialysis centers could close
The private contractors who operate 90 dialysis centers for Ecuador’s Public Health and Social Security health systems say they may be forced to end service if they are not paid by the government. The centers serve more than 20,000 patients suffering from chronic renal failure.
Cristina Freire, spokeswoman for the contractors, says the government has not made payments since September despite repeated promises. “We have been told many times by the Finance Ministry that the money would be coming within a matter of days but it never arrives. We cannot continue to maintain our centers without payment.”
According to Freire, the public health systems owes contractors about $60 million while Social Security Health Services owes $40 million.