Noboa says the country is ‘on the right track’

Feb 23, 2024 | 0 comments

In interviews on Wednesday and Thursday, President Daniel Noboa said “Ecuador is finally on the right track.” He claimed that his emergency declaration to fight organized crime and narco-trafficking is “showing impressive progress.”

President Daniel Noboa answering an interviewer’s questions on Wednesday.

“The work to restore security to the country and reactive the economy is underway, but we know this will take time to accomplish,” he said, in answer to a RTS tv interviewer’s question about his first three months in office. “Coming into office, we faced huge obstacles because of the inaction of previous governments. The problems were kicked down the road and we inherited them.”

Citing statistics of lower crime rates and the restoration of order in the prisons, Noboa said Ecuadorans are beginning to believe in their country again. “This was my objective when I assumed this office and it remains my objective. I want to restore the sense of peace and security to our citizens, something we have not enjoyed for several years,” he said.

He said he intends to keep the armed forces in the prisons after the emergency declaration expires. “Because of the soldiers, order has been restored for the first time in years. We have separated many of the gang leaders from their followers and cut off their communication and we continue to separate the most dangerous prisoners from other inmates.”

Noboa said that the new taxes enacted earlier this month will help cover the costs of law enforcement efforts, including supplying the military with equipment to support the police. He defended his partial veto that raised the VAT tax permanently to 13% and allows short-term increases to 15%. “I reject the claim that this a regressive tax affecting poor people the most,” he said. “Items in our basic basket list, like food, are exempt from the VAT, as are expenses for health care, education and rent. The largest impact will be on those who buy nonessential products and services.”

The president said he is confident of passage of the 11 referendum questions to be decided by voters on April 21. “I believe the citizens will approve all of them,” he said. “The people understand we must make changes to our rules and laws to ensure security and economic stability.”

Noboa confirmed that Ecuador will not transfer Soviet-era military equipment to the U.S. “This decision, worked out with the help of the Russian and U.S. ambassadors, is the correct one and it does not affect our agreement with the U.S. for assistance in our fight with narco terrorists.”

Asked by a Radio Quito interviewer if he will seek reelection in 2025, he said “probably.”

“This is a very hard job, and very exhausting, and I have other interests I want to pursue,” he said. “On the other hand, I feel an obligation to serve my country and improve the lives of Ecuadorians. I want to finish the work I have started.”

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