Parties take positions on the referedum; El Niño floods displace hundreds; New airlines will offer more national flights; Ecuador’s country risk falls

Feb 28, 2024 | 0 comments

With President Daniel Noboa’s referendum election less than two months away, political parties are making their positions known. On the “yes” side are Noboa’s National Democratic Action (ADN), the Social Democrats (PSC), Construye and Creating Opportunities (CREO). Supporting a “no” position are Citizens Revolution and Pachakutik.

“We say yes to the extradition of criminals, to the forfeiture of ownership of ill-gotten gains and to work contracts that provide more employment to Ecuadorians,” said Jorge Peñafiel (Construye). “We also support the president’s objective of allowing voters to express their opinions on the country’s most important issues.”

Milagro, in Guayas Province, has experienced some of the country’s heaviest El Niño rains.

Citizens Revolution claims the referendum is unnecessary and a waste of public funds. “The reforms proposed in the referendum and consultation should be debated and resolved in the National Assembly,” says Citizens Revolution’s Jhoana Ortiz. “The money spent for the election should be applied instead to health care, education and El Niño victim support.”

In addition to answering the 11 questions Noboa is putting before voters, members of Democratic Action say the referendum will be a “litmus test” for the February 2025 national election. “With the election only 11 months away, the results of the referendum will provide a clear indication of how Ecuadorians will vote for president and Assembly in the next election,” says Valentina Centeno.

El Niño floods displace hundreds, spread dengue
The Secretariat of Risk Management reports that heavy rains have caused extensive damage to large areas of Manabí, Guayas, Los Ríos, Esmeraldas and Santa Elena Provinces. “More than 100,000 people have been affected and at least 450 families have lost their homes due to El Niño floods,” the agency says.

The Secretariat reports that flooding and landslides have killed six, severely damaged 23,500 homes and inundated 23,000 hectares of crop land. In addition, 22 kilometers of highways have been damaged by landslides and flooding.

Risk Management is coordinating local efforts to warn residents to take precautions against mosquito-borne dengue fever. “Flooded areas are breeding grounds for the mosquitos that transmit dengue and we are distributing information to residents about how to protect themselves. Since the beginning of the year, we have recorded more than 5,000 cases of the infection and expect that number to increase,” the agency said.

The national weather agency warns that El Niño rains will continue through March and possibly into early April.

Two airlines to enter Ecuador market
Two airlines have received preliminary approval to fly national and international routes beginning in the middle of the year. The Ecuador Civil Aviation Authority said Friday that Ecuacóndor and Sky Air are in the process of presenting their operational plans and should take to the air in July or August.

Ecuacóndor will operate three 40-passenger jets on Quito-Cuenca, Quito-Guayaquil and Quito-Manta routes. Sky will fly two 180-passenger jets on the same national routes but also provide service to Lima, Peru and the Galapagos Islands.

Ecuacóndor is a new airline based in Quito while Chilean-based Sky has been providing service in Chile and other South American markets for 23 years.

Ecuador’s country risk falls
Ecuador’s country risk has dropped below 1500 points for the first time in more than a year. The risk index is compiled by banks and other international lenders and determines the interest rate governments pay for loans obtained on the international market. Ecuador’s risk hit an all-time high of 2,241 in December 2022.

According to comments from Germany’s Deutsche Bank, Ecuador’s risk improvement is the result of new taxes and economic reforms made by the government. The comments also acknowledged “positive results” in the country’s fight against international crime organizations.

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