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Ecuador News

UN sees improvement in Ecuador press freedom, Interpol considers Correa arrest warrant, EU trade deal producing positive results

UN says Ecuador makes progress for press freedom  

The United Nations special rapporteur for freedom of speech says Ecuador has made “significant progress” in strengthening press freedom in the past two years. David Kaye, who had criticized Ecuador in 2015 for government policies that he claimed restricted free speech, said “many of the shackles on the news media have been removed.” On the other hand, he said more needs to be done to reverse laws and policies that remain in place from the government of former president Rafael Correa.

Kaye met Wednesday with President Linen Moreno to provide a personal account of the findings of his recent investigation. He praised some aspects of a media law currently being debated in the National Assembly, especially the elimination of the Superintendence of Communications, or Supercom, which served as media watchdog during the Correa administration.

Interpol to rule soon on Correa arrest warrant
Former president Rafael Correa

The International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, says it will decide within two weeks whether to issue an international arrest warrant for former president Rafael Correa. Ecuador’s attorney general’s office asked that an Interpol warrant be issued in July when he failed to appear to testify in a Quito court. The case stems for an alleged 2012 attempted kidnapping in Colombia that Correa is accused of ordering. Interpol does not release the proceedings of its deliberations in warrant requests.

Trade with EU increases with positive balance

Ecuador’s Ministry of Foreign Trade reports a 14 percent increase of exports to the European Union over the past 12 months and says it expects the trend to continue. Imports from European nations have also increased during the same period, particularly for cars, clothing and alcoholic beverages, but the trade balance remains positive overall for Ecuador. “We are pleased that current markets are growing and that new ones are opening in Europe,” says Daniel Legarda, president of the Ecuadorian Federation of Exporters (Fedexpor). “This is a very positive sign for the Ecuadorian economy going forward.” He added that the free trade agreement signed with the EU in 2016 has generated about 22,000 news with more hirings to come.

Ecuador’s top exports to the EU include shrimp and other seafood, bananas, petroleum products and cut flowers.