Moreno did not approve vaccines for top officials, spokesman says; Xavier Hervas supports Lasso but Democratic Left is neutral; Bus strike threatened
President Lenin Moreno was not involved in the decision to vaccinate top government officials against the Covid-19 virus, presidential secretary Jorge Wated said Thursday. “No such order came from the president’s office and he was not aware of actions taken in the health ministry,” he said.
The attorney general’s office is conducting an investigation into the vaccination of an undisclosed number of top officials and their spouses. According to the vaccination plan developed by the ministry in December, the most vulnerable groups of the population were scheduled to receive the first vaccinations in January. Former Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos admitted that he received one of the first vaccines along with his 87-year-old mother in a Quito nursing home.
Wated says that audio recordings of conversations between Zevallos and a hospital administrator seem to confirm that Zevallos understood that he was breaking protocol when he took vaccines.
Zevallos, who is now living in Miami, said he was not aware that other government officials, including Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrín, also received vaccines, saying those were arranged by other officials in the health ministry.
Hervas supports Lasso but Democratic Left will not endorse
While Xavier Hervas has announced he will support Guillermo Lasso in the April 11 runoff election against Andres Arauz, officers of his Democratic Left movement say they are not making an endorsement. Democratic Left Assemblywoman Wilma Andrade said the party is disappointed in the choice of candidates and will leave the decision of who to vote for up to its followers. Two recent polls show Lasso and Arauz in a virtual tie, indicating that most of Hervas’ supporters prefer Lasso.
Along with Pachakutik party candidate Yaku Perez, Hervas and the Democratic Left were the surprise of the election, polling almost 17 percent of the vote, making him a playmaker in the runoff.
Pachakutik officially urges ‘no’ vote in runoff
The indigenous Pachakutik movement voted Tuesday to ask its supporters to enter a “no” vote in the presidential runoff election between Guillermo Lasso and Andres Arauz. As an alternative, Pachakutik director Marlon Santi suggested that followers write in the phrase “Pachakutik has dignity” on the ballot.
Pachakutik candidate Yaku Perez, who finished third in the election with more than 19 percent of the vote, issued a statement last week advising supporters to “vote their conscience” in the election.
Inter-provincial bus strike threatened
Owners of Ecuador’s long-distance bus companies say they will suspend service on April 6 if the government does not reinstate gasoline and diesel subsidies or provide financial support to offset increased operating costs. The owners say they are in discussion with taxi coops around the country about joining the strike.