Lasso hospitalized with infection; Soldiers conduct weapons checks on Cuenca streets; Lasso’s brother-in-law arrested; Sangay volcano ashfall affects farms

Apr 19, 2023 | 11 comments

President Guillermo Lasso will remain in the Armed Forces Hospital in Quito until at least Friday where he is recovering from a urinary tract infection. He was hospitalized Monday with a high fever and is receiving intravenous treatments and supplemental oxygen, his doctors say.

According to the presidential press office, tests showed no heart or lung complications and the president was reported to be alert and working in his hospital room. “The president continues to conduct state business with the assistance of this staff and does not anticipate delegating his general duties to others,” a statement said.

Sangay volcano in Morona Santiago Province.

The press statement added that Lasso is following the impeachment investigation in the National Assembly.

Lasso’s brother-in-law is arrested
Danilo Carrera, brother-in-law of President Guillermo Lasso, was arrested Tuesday night at the Guayaquil airport. According to the National Police, Carrera was preparing to board a flight to New York when he was taken into custody.

Carrera is being investigated for his role in the so-called “Encuetro” case involving an alleged criminal network working in public companies. Carrera was a friend of another subject of the investigation, Rubén Cherres, who was murdered last month in Santa Elena Province.

According to the Attorney General’s office, the arrest was ordered when it was learned that Carrera intended to leave the country. “The subject [Carrera] is involved in an ongoing investigation and it is important that he be available for questioning,” a prosecutor said, adding that more details of the arrest are forthcoming.

According to prosecutors, the alleged crimes in the case include extortion, bribery and money laundering. The “Encuetro” case is part of the National Assembly’s impeachment trial against Lasso.

Soldiers conduct weapons checks on Cuenca streets
More than 300 army personnel are conducting checks for weapons, ammunition and explosives in Cuenca, according to the National Police command. The soldiers are conducting searches at several checkpoints, focusing on motor vehicles.

On Monday and Tuesday, the Armed Forces Joint Command said checkpoints were set up in Ricaurte and Michichig as well as on highways leading into the city. On Tuesday, soldiers conducted searches at the El Arenal and 9th de Octubre markets.

“Our mission, as directed by the National Police, is to conduct searches in the most insecure areas of the city as well as on major streets and highways,” the Joint Command said in a press statement. “We are also coordinating efforts with the National Transit Commission and the Cuenca Transportation office, EMOV.”

The statement added that the 340 military personnel in the operation are part of the 27th Portete Artillery Brigade, based in Cuenca.

Sangay volcano ashfall affects farms
New explosions at the Sangay volcano have sent an ash cloud over three cantons in Morona Santiago Province. According to the Risk Management Secretariat, ashfall was recorded Tuesday in the Morona, Logroño and Sucúa cantons and more is expected on Wednesday. “Most of the ashfall has been light but some areas have received larger amounts,” the Secretariat said. “There is possible risk to livestock and crops and we advise agricultural interests to act accordingly.”

Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute reports that activity at Sangay has shown a “decreasing to steady level” since late 2022. The institute said the explosions occurring Sunday and Monday do not necessarily indicate a change in the volcano’s status.

Sangay is the closest volcano to Cuenca, located 120 kilometers (75 miles) to the northeast.

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