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Volume 5, Issue 37

From the week of June 20, 2021

United States imports $1.21 billion in Ecuadorian non-oil exports thru April, trade agreement moves forward

United States imports $1.21 billion in Ecuadorian non-oil exports thru April, trade agreement moves forward

According to figures from the Ecuadorian Federation of Exporters (Fedexpor), exports to the United States for the first four months of the year grew by 20%, with shipments of $1.209 billion led by shrimp and bananas with $335 million and $181 million, respectively. They were followed by flowers ($154 million), cocoa ($79 million) and fresh fish ($72 million). Meanwhile, […]

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Number Of New Deaths Increases, Rate Of New Cases Increases, Icu Beds Remain Full

Number Of New Deaths Increases, Rate Of New Cases Increases, Icu Beds Remain Full

It appeared last week that the country would be bypassing the increases in deaths, new cases, positivity rate, etc. that we had typically seen three weeks post-events; however, at four weeks post lifting of the restrictions across the country, we are seeing increases in almost all the important figures we track. Last week we warned […]

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New traffic light system announced for back-to-work, experts question decision

New traffic light system announced for back-to-work, experts question decision

The new “traffic lights” for the tracking of the coronavirus announced this week by the national Emergency Operations Committee (COE), will take into account several factors. This traffic light system will be used first in the progressive and face-to-face return to work for the central government, which will be partial, and then in other activities. That return to work is […]

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Lasso will present a reform to the Higher Education Law allowing more students, EAES test eliminated

Lasso will present a reform to the Higher Education Law allowing more students, EAES test eliminated

The President of the Republic, Guillermo Lasso, announced this past Thursday, June 17, 2021, that in the second week of July, he will personally present to the National Assembly a bill to reform the Organic Law of Higher Education (LOES). Lasso pointed out that the objective of this reform is to have ” free universities and free young people.” It is sought, […]

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Is he left, or right?

Is he left, or right?

I’ve been reading a lot this week about the things that the Lasso government is doing to focus on some serious social problems: childhood malnutrition, unemployment, Covid vaccination, and even the imbalance of salaries and working conditions between men and women in the country. They’ve even retracted the policy of the Correa government that limited […]

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Volume 5, Issue 36

From the week of June 13, 2021

Why did El Salvador accept Bitcoin as legal tender?

Why did El Salvador accept Bitcoin as legal tender?

Last Wednesday, El Salvador became the first country in the world to allow the use of Bitcoin as a legal exchange currency. This came after the approval by the Congress of a bill promoted by President Nayib Bukele three days before. The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, with an official majority, approved the Bitcoin Law, which will allow the […]

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Numbers Of Deaths And Hospitalizations Fall Again, 15% Of The Population Is Vaccinated

Numbers Of Deaths And Hospitalizations Fall Again, 15% Of The Population Is Vaccinated

At three weeks out from the lifting of restrictions, we are seeing a slight increase in the number of new cases—though this may be due to a similar slight increase in the number of tests completed and a small decrease in the number of backlogged cases. The good news is that for the third week […]

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The importance of the ancient mangroves of the Galapagos Islands

The importance of the ancient mangroves of the Galapagos Islands

The mangroves that inhabit the Galapagos Islands are special; there is not so much mud, and the trees are smaller and set apart from each other. In the rest of the country the mangroves are dense, and the trees are much taller. Those characteristics, precisely, caught...

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Oversight Commission will investigate 57 cases of suspected corruption in Ecuador

Oversight Commission will investigate 57 cases of suspected corruption in Ecuador

The list includes oil contracts, bribes from Odebrecht, distribution of hospitals, IESS, electricity and mining concessions, among others. Last week the Oversight Commission approved a work plan that involves investigating 57 cases raised by the assembly members that make up that legislative body, who suspect administrative irregularities, signs of corruption and an impact on State […]

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Minister of Finance identifies four sources to cover $8 billion needed this year

Minister of Finance identifies four sources to cover $8 billion needed this year

The government of Guillermo Lasso took over the government with a financing need of $8 billion and arrears in the amount of $2.7 billion. That is why the Minister of Economy and Finance, Simón Cueva, has identified at least four sources of financing in his sights that will allow him to weather this fiscal gap. Most of what is required, […]

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Don’t look away

Don’t look away

Well, I’m back from another trip to the US. This was much shorter one than last month. But the outcome was the same. I left not wanting to go back. After all these years, I finally can’t imagine ever living in the US again. And it’s not a political thing. It’s a people thing. On […]

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Volume 5, Issue 35

From the week of June 06, 2021

Donuts aren’t the only things with holes in them

Donuts aren’t the only things with holes in them

This week I want to talk about something completely unrelated to politics or the coronavirus, and that’s work ethic. Right now, we have two local brothers, both in their mid-twenties, working on construction projects at our house. We’ve had them there for 3 months. We started first with having them rebuild an old carport that […]

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Numbers Of Deaths And Hospitalizations Fall Again, New Vaccination Plan Rolled Out With Promises Of More Vaccines

Numbers Of Deaths And Hospitalizations Fall Again, New Vaccination Plan Rolled Out With Promises Of More Vaccines

We are two weeks out from the lifting of restrictions and the number of new cases and new deaths continue to fall. In the past, we have seen a rise in these numbers at around 2-3 week’s post increases in mobility. So, it is encouraging to see these numbers continue to improve even as we […]

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Update 06-06-2021

Update 06-06-2021

Update to: Quito mayor on trial for embezzlement; Ombudsman arrested for sexual assault Published: Volume 5, Issue32 The Municipal Council removed Jorge Yunda from the position of mayor of Quito It took the Metropolitan Council of Quito more than eight hours last week to decide the removal of Jorge Yunda as Mayor of Quito, in […]

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The first ‘authorized’ drug against Covid-19 costs thousands in Ecuador

The first ‘authorized’ drug against Covid-19 costs thousands in Ecuador

Although remdesivir does not have a sanitary registration in Ecuador, and its use has not yet been officially approved, there are doctors who are prescribing it. Andrea’s 50-year-old father is in the intensive care unit at a Guayaquil hospital because he was infected with Covid-19. She says that to “improve” his condition, the doctors sent her […]

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Sinovac vaccine restores a Brazilian city to near normal

Sinovac vaccine restores a Brazilian city to near normal

Just one COVID-19 patient is in critical condition at the Dr. Geraldo Cesar Reis clinic in Serrana, a city of almost 46,000 in Sao Paulo state’s countryside. The 63-year-old woman rejected the vaccine that was offered to every adult resident of Serrana as part of a trial. Doctors say the woman was awaiting one of […]

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Flying to the US to get the Covid-19 vaccine

Flying to the US to get the Covid-19 vaccine

Lately the United States has been called the “promised land,” although it already was for many migrants who continue to seek the American dream. But this time it is not a purely economic issue, but rather a public health issue. American—the country hit the worst by...

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Ecuador’s exports expected to grow market share in 2021

Ecuador’s exports expected to grow market share in 2021

In 2020, several Ecuadorian companies were able to export to the United States for the first time. Non-traditional products such as dragon fruit and ginger performed well in the international market. Exports of goods and services from Ecuador had a fall of 2.1 percent...

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Volume 5, Issue 34

From the week of May 30, 2021

In two months, 10 Ecuadorians went missing trying to illegally cross into the United States

In two months, 10 Ecuadorians went missing trying to illegally cross into the United States

The organization 1-800 Migrante, has registered the disappearance of ten illegal Ecuadorian migrants on the border between Mexico and the United States, between March and May 2021. Johanna Tapia dreamed of leaving her job in a beauty parlor in Guayaquil and traveling to Boston, Massachusetts, to connect with her boyfriend Xavier and to start a […]

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Draft Law on Freedom of Expression does not observe mandate of 2011 popular consultation, may be discussed by legislature this week

Draft Law on Freedom of Expression does not observe mandate of 2011 popular consultation, may be discussed by legislature this week

The draft “Organic Law on Freedom of Expression and Communication” signed by President Lasso on his first day in office and sent to the National Assembly, does not include the constitutional mandate of the popular consultation of 2011, regarding the existence of the Council of Regulation, that regulates the dissemination of content of sexual or […]

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Updates 05-30-2021

Updates 05-30-2021

Update to: National COE loosens up COVID-19 entry restrictions at both international airports Published: Volume 5, Issue 24 Beginning June 3rd, American Airlines will have 6 daily flights between Quito, Guayaquil and Miami American Airlines will soon have three daily trips to Miami, from both Quito and Guayaquil. After receiving approval from the Ecuadorian Civil […]

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Numbers Of Deaths And Hospitalizations Fall, But Drop In Sampling And Testing Make Following New Cases Meaningless

Numbers Of Deaths And Hospitalizations Fall, But Drop In Sampling And Testing Make Following New Cases Meaningless

One full week after Ecuador’s mobility restrictions were lifted it appears that the rate and number of new cases of COVID-19 have fallen; however, in the first week of reporting under the new Government, the rate of new samples collected and tests completed have fallen, and the rate of backlogged tests has increased. With that […]

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Guillermo Lasso presents vaccination plan against Covid-19

Guillermo Lasso presents vaccination plan against Covid-19

On Monday afternoon, President Guillermo Lasso offered details of his plan to vaccinate 9 million people for Covid-19 within the first 100 days of his administration. This came after a new platform was launched on Saturday that lets citizens verify the place where...

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Give the guy a chance

Give the guy a chance

I’ve got to admit that I’m curious to see how President Lasso is going to move forward on several fronts. First, he tried to clean up a big mess on his first day and is now getting slapped around by the assembly because of it. He signed a draft law on freedom of the press, […]

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Experts say salary hike to $500 will be a tough offer to keep

Experts say salary hike to $500 will be a tough offer to keep

The plan of the government of Guillermo Lasso to increase wages gradually, during the four years of administration, is not yet known. Unemployment is one of the problems that the new government will have to take on. Along with that problem, one of the new President’s...

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Volume 5, Issue 33

From the week of May 23, 2021

President Lasso presents fourteen more senior officials who will be part of his cabinet

President Lasso presents fourteen more senior officials who will be part of his cabinet

Lasso tasked his team to fight corruption, emphasized the lack of resources, said that there is nothing more precarious than the lack of employment and spoke of concessions. Last Thursday, President Guillermo Lasso introduced fourteen more members of his cabinet, including former assembly members and people who have been close to Creando Oportunidades (CREO) years ago. […]

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President Lasso Announces Tax Reforms

President Lasso Announces Tax Reforms

Ecuador’s new President, Guillermo Lasso, has already announced several tax reforms intended to stimulate the economy April 11, 2021, will unquestionably go down in Ecuadorian history as one of the country’s most memorable days. After a long year of pandemic-related restrictions and effects, not to mention years of governments dazzled by the promises of 21st […]

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Lots of opportunity

Lots of opportunity

President Guillermo Lasso. We are going to have to get used to saying that. Today he finally became the President of the Republic of Ecuador, after trying to get to the seat over eight years and three elections. A lesson in “stick-to-it-ness?” Or a lesson in change? Let’s hope this is a lesson of life […]

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Lenín Moreno says goodbye to Carondelet with a meeting of his expanded cabinet

Lenín Moreno says goodbye to Carondelet with a meeting of his expanded cabinet

Forty-eight hours before leaving his Presidency, Lenín Moreno held his last meeting with his enlarged cabinet, where he carried out a kind of rendering of accounts on his management of the government for the last four years. Moreno left power on Saturday when the transfer of command to the president-elect, Guillermo Lasso, was made. The ceremony […]

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IOM releases report on the recent migration of Venezuelans into Ecuador

IOM releases report on the recent migration of Venezuelans into Ecuador

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has published the results of the 10th Flow Monitoring Survey on the Venezuelan population in Ecuador carried out in February and March 2021. The survey, part of the Displacement Monitoring Matrix (DTM), was implemented through 4,258 interviews with people of legal age (54% men, 46% women and less than […]

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A year after Ecuador oil spill, Indigenous victims await justice, reparations

A year after Ecuador oil spill, Indigenous victims await justice, reparations

Last year an oil spill in the Ecuadoran Amazon that contaminated the Coca River, local Indigenous groups are still struggling to adapt to alternative livelihoods It started as an ordinary morning in Ecuador’s eastern Orellana province. Abel Jipa’s sons, Byron and Johnny, and his son-in-law, Gibson, set out on the Coca River to go fishing […]

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Volume 5, Issue 32

From the week of May 16, 2021

Deaths Fall Again This Week, New Case Data Of Little Vaule As Sample Collection And Test Completion Fall

Deaths Fall Again This Week, New Case Data Of Little Vaule As Sample Collection And Test Completion Fall

As we reported last week, one of the more alarming bits of information that was published last week was just how many “unusual” deaths occurred over the past year. That term in Ecuador means deaths that are above and beyond the average number of deaths seen year-on-year. Without repeating the details that we reported last […]

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Quito mayor on trial for embezzlement; Ombudsman arrested for sexual assault

Quito mayor on trial for embezzlement; Ombudsman arrested for sexual assault

Quito mayor, Jorge Yunda, called to trial for embezzlement, then his defense team quits The mayor of Quito, Jorge Yunda, is one of the 14 accused of the crime of embezzlement related to the purchase of PCR tests to detect COVID-19 Twelve days after the mayor of Quito, Jorge Yunda, was called to trial for […]

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Lasso reaches agreement with Russia for Sputnik-V vaccine, may meet goal to immunize 9 million people

Lasso reaches agreement with Russia for Sputnik-V vaccine, may meet goal to immunize 9 million people

President-elect, Guillermo Lasso, who will take office on May 24th, announced this week that his administration will sign an agreement with Russia for the provision of Sputnik V vaccines to strengthen its immunization plan. This was something that the outgoing government failed to achieve. In the electoral campaign, Lasso said his administration would vaccinate 9 million Ecuadorians in […]

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Juan Eljuri Antón, the low-profile businessman who forged one of the largest economic groups in Ecuador

Juan Eljuri Antón, the low-profile businessman who forged one of the largest economic groups in Ecuador

The businessman Juan Eljuri died at the age of 78 in Cuenca on Monday, May 10, 2021 When Juan Eljuri Antón inaugurated one of his ventures or businesses, he preferred that his executives were in charge of public speeches. He opted for a lower profile, a little away from the cameras and the media gaze. Within […]

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I wonder if Lasso can say “spasiba”

I wonder if Lasso can say “spasiba”

“The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!” It sounds like a battle cry warning everyone to hide, but in fact it may be Ecuador’s saving grace. What I’m talking about is the announcement that incoming President Guillermo Lasso has achieved what the outgoing...

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Ecuadorian woman RISEs up with education and beer

Ecuadorian woman RISEs up with education and beer

Waste isn’t waste anymore Bertha Jimenez is the co-founder of RISE Products, a startup that turns organic industrial waste into value by converting it into raw materials. RISE is currently focusing on converting by-products of the beer and wine industry into food...

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Average hospitalization of Covid patients rises from 7 to 22 days

Average hospitalization of Covid patients rises from 7 to 22 days

Some critically ill patients have damage to 75% of their lungs and require urgent mechanical ventilation, but ICU beds are hard to find The aggressiveness of the new variants of coronavirus that circulate in Ecuador hits the health system from different fronts. One of the most serious problems is that patients arrive at hospitals with […]

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Volume 5, Issue 31

From the week of May 9, 2021

UPDATES 05/09/2021

UPDATES 05/09/2021

Update to: Banana sector reinforces prevention measures to avoid Foc R4T fungus Published: Volume 5, Issue 27 Alfredo Saltos: Most likely (Foc R4T) is already in Ecuador waiting for the best opportunities to hatch Alfredo Saltos, former Minister of Agriculture, indicated that it is important to study the behavior of the Formosana during various cycles […]

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Deaths Fall This Week, But New Data Shows That Overall Number Of Deaths May Be Severely Underreported

Deaths Fall This Week, But New Data Shows That Overall Number Of Deaths May Be Severely Underreported

One of the lead stories this week lays out how serious the situation is in hospitals across the country; we will not go into that further here. But along with that, one of the more alarming bits of information that was published this week was just how many “unusual” deaths occurred over the past year. […]

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The passing of a gentle giant

The passing of a gentle giant

I didn’t think I’d write about this again this week, but the ex-pat community has lost another one of our best people. Dr. Alan Woods, died this weekend due to health complications (unrelated to Covid). He was a dentist. He was a minister. He was a teacher. He was a...

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Nepotism, expensive gifts and party collections will be prohibited in the new Executive Code of Ethics

Nepotism, expensive gifts and party collections will be prohibited in the new Executive Code of Ethics

Guillermo Lasso will sign an executive decree with these rules of conduct on May 24th, when he assumes the Presidency of the Republic Issues related to conflict of interest, family ties, use of public assets and resources, norms of transparency and management with equality and non-discrimination will be addressed in the Code of Ethics for […]

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Lasso’s cabinet members come with enormous experience, are tasked with laser focus and transparency

Lasso’s cabinet members come with enormous experience, are tasked with laser focus and transparency

President-elect Guillermo Lasso introduced eight members of his new cabinet over the last two weeks and said he intends to maintain a “laser focus” on ending the Covid-19 epidemic and restoring the economy. Of the new ministers, five are women. “I have chosen my ministers carefully, not just for their competence but for their dedication,” […]

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Ecuador has 1,607 ICU beds but almost all Covid-19 beds are occupied

Ecuador has 1,607 ICU beds but almost all Covid-19 beds are occupied

Ecuador had 1,183 beds in the Intensive Care Units (ICU) as of 2019, according to the latest Registry of Beds and Hospital Discharges published in June 2020 by the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC). How many are there now, after a year in crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and what is the level […]

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Volume 5, Issue 30

From the week of May 02, 2021

World Bank says IESS could have problems paying pensions in 2022

World Bank says IESS could have problems paying pensions in 2022

The outgoing government will deliver to the president-elect, Guillermo Lasso, a World Bank diagnosis to the IESS pension fund, the conclusion is that it needs an urgent reform. The World Bank made a technical diagnosis of the situation of the pension fund (IVM) of the...

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Cases Explode Worldwide, Cuenca ICU Beds Remain Full

Cases Explode Worldwide, Cuenca ICU Beds Remain Full

On Friday, the daily cases of COVID-19 reached a record number of 903,410, more than a third of them concentrated in India, which on Sunday reported 354,531 new infections, a number never before seen in any country, according to figures from the World Health Organization (WHO). With these new records, global cases since the beginning of the pandemic […]

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Coming home

Coming home

Every time I come to the US, I get worn out by the unrelenting consumerism and a sense that American’s really have little else to occupy their time than buying and selling. Such a sharp contrast from Ecuador, which seems to be more interested in family, time spent not...

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The dollarization law will be part of Moreno’s legacy

The dollarization law will be part of Moreno’s legacy

A month before leaving the presidency of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno leaves a signature piece of legislation, the "Law for the defense of dollarization," as a sort of inheritance for incoming president-elect Guillermo Lasso in the elections, a law that is vital for Ecuador...

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Lenin Moreno: “No country should monopolize access to Covid-19 vaccines

Lenin Moreno: “No country should monopolize access to Covid-19 vaccines

On Wednesday, during his speech at the Twenty-Seventh Edition of the Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, Ecuador President Lenín Moreno demanded universal, transparent and equitable access for countries to vaccines against Covid-19. The 22 participating Ibero-American states approved the inclusion of the Ecuadorian President’s position in the final declaration of the meeting, […]

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“Corruption is not negotiable, and the president-elect will not interfere in judicial processes,” says Juan Carlos Holguín

“Corruption is not negotiable, and the president-elect will not interfere in judicial processes,” says Juan Carlos Holguín

One of the leaders of the transition team of president-elect Guillermo Lasso rules out some points of negotiation with the correista bloc in the Assembly. Juan Carlos Holguín is an advisor to the team of the president-elect, Guillermo Lasso. When asked about a possible negotiation with the new correista bloc in the Assembly, the request […]

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Constitutional Court meets to rule on the decriminalization of abortion for rape

Constitutional Court meets to rule on the decriminalization of abortion for rape

The Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference sent a letter to the Court stating that the crime of rape cannot be solved with another crime On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, the plenary session of the Constitutional Court (CC) will debate and vote on the request to decriminalize abortion for rape. The action was presented in July 2019, by […]

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