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Country profile for Ecuador

Provided Courtesy of Security Exchange 24

Risk Rating

Red (High Risk) InTouch advice:

Most parts of the country are dangerous.

Do not travel unless absolutely necessary.

Amber (Moderate Risk)
Amber (Moderate Risk) InTouch advice:

Some parts of the country are dangerous.

Travel with caution.

Green (Low Risk) InTouch advice:

Most parts of the country are safe.

Travel freely.

General Information

  • Capital: Quito
  • Major Languages: Spanish
  • Currency: U.S. Dollar
  • Timezone: GMT -5:00 to -6:00

Country Map

Map of Ecuador

Ecuadorian politics has been engulfed in corruption scandals during both administrations of President Rafael Correa. Senior government members and prominent high-level politicians have been accused of involvement in a number of bribery schemes linked to the Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht and money-laundering within the state-owned Petroecuador. In April 2017, the former vice-president (2007-2013) and long-standing ally to Correa, Lenin Moreno, was elected the new Ecuadorian president. Moreno won the turbulent elections, the results of which were delayed for several days as the National Electoral Council (CNE) recounted the votes amid fraud allegations. However, despite Moreno’s close ties with Correa, both engaged in a public feud after Moreno announced plans to hold a referendum to amend the constitution. Political tensions within the ruling Alianza Pais further deteriorated in August, when Moreno stripped powers from his own vice-president, Jorge Glas. Glas -  also the vice-president during the previous administration - was sentenced to six years in prison for receiving millionaire bribes linked to the Odebrecht corruption scandal.

Civil unrest occasionally occurs nationwide. In recent history, the most significant event happened in October 2010, when a state of emergency was declared after police officers occupied government building in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca. Tensions broke out when members of the security forces launched a protest to reject austerity measures targeting civil servants. Several years later, in 2015, anti-government protests broke out in the capital after the National Assembly passed a constitutional amendment to scrap presidential term limits - although over a million Ecuadorians supported President Correa’s bid for a fourth term run, he refused to stand. The move was later reversed in February 2018, when millions of Ecuadorians headed to polls in a constitutional referendum. 

Since 2011, homicide rates in Ecuador suffered a significant drop mainly attributed to a strong investment and reforms to the country’s police force. General levels of criminality have also decreased, but it is important to notice that crime, including armed robberies and sexual assault, still tends to be higher in the capital Quito and the southern city of Guayaquil. In Quito, petty crime is common in the districts of La Mariscal, La Floresta and La Marin; along with the parks of La Carolina and El Ejido. Special attention should be taken on the El Panecillo hill and when using public transport from the capital’s central bus terminals. In Guayaquil, it is advisable to be extremely vigilant in the Kennedy, Alborada, Urdesa and Malecon Simon Bolivar districts. Extra caution also should be exercised in the southern part of the city and around tourist sites. It is widely advisable to avoid travelling to the northern region of the country, especially along the Colombian border, where transnational criminal groups, paramilitary entities and kidnap gangs potentially operate. In January 2018 over 20 police officers were injured when a car bomb struck a police station in San Lorenzo, Esmeraldas. Premilitary lines of investigation – which were initially supported by the FBI – suggest that the attack was carried out by a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Kidnapping remains a moderate threat in Ecuador, and foreign nationals have been targeted in recent years. In February 2011, two tourists were abducted in the northern Pichincha province, while the following year a Briton and an Australian were kidnapped in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. Similar to other forms of violence, kidnap risks are significantly higher in departments near the Colombian border. In April 2018, FARC dissidents kidnapped and killed two journalists and their driver in Mataje, Esmeraldas. There have been several reported incidents of criminal gangs using unlicensed taxis to carry out express-kidnappings. In these situations, targets are held for 24-48 hours and forced to hand over possessions and withdraw money from ATMs before being released. All taxis should be booked directly through reputable hotels, and not hailed on the street.

Earthquakes are common in Ecuador mainly due to the country’s location in the seismic-prone Pacific Ring of Fire. In April 2016, more than 670 people were killed and thousands more were wounded when a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country. President Correa declared a state of emergency and said that the cost of rebuilding could reach up to $3bn. Since then, hundreds of aftershocks have been recorded along the Ecuadorian coast, especially in the north-western province of Esmeraldas. Several volcanoes are also highly active across Ecuador, including the Reventador and Tungurahua. In August 2015, the government declared a state of emergency over increasing activity of the Cotopaxi volcano in outskirts of Quito. Ecuador’s rainy season usually lasts between December and May, where there is an increased risk of flooding and landslides mainly around mountainous areas.

Alerts for Ecuador

President Moreno calls for investigations on previous oil projects

President Lenin Moreno has called on prosecutors to investigate five oil projects ordered during the administration of former President Rafael Correa. President Moreno claims that those projects, aimed at improving oil infrastructures in Ecuador, were marred by corruption. He said: "Nearly $5 billion of Ecuadoreans’ money when it should have cost half that.” Rafael Correa claims that allegations are politically motivated. He is already being targeted in another investigation regarding the kidnapping of an opposition lawmaker. Correa currently lives in Belgium.

Four workers killed in landslide near Quito

At least four people have been killed in a landslide near Quito. According to local authorities, the victims were workers on the construction of a hydroelectric plant in San Jose de Minas. The landslide happened on Thursday and was caused due to unstable terrain around the construction site. 

Several killed in bus crash near Quito

At least five people have been killed and nearly 40 others injured when a passenger bus crashed near Quito. El Comercio reported that the bus was travelling along the Princesa Toa Avenue when it overturned on Friday morning. The avenue is the main route between Conocoto and southern Quito. It is still unclear what caused the crash. Reports suggest that the bus crashed into other vehicles and a local residential complex. Bus crashes in Ecuador sporadically occur and often lead to a high number of casualties. Most accidents mainly occur due to reckless driving.

Kidnapped Ecuadorian media team killed after failed prisoner exchange

Colombia's government has said that the Ecuadorian media team that was killed by dissident members of the FARC were murdered after Ecuadorian authorities refused to release three prisoners. In a meeting with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC), Colombia's organised crime prosecutor, Claudia Carrasquilla, said that the Ecuadorian government refused the request to exchange the hostages for the prisoners. The media team of the El Comercio was killed earlier this year after being kidnapped by a FARC dissident front that operates near the Colombian border.

Interpol rejects extradition request against former President Rafael Correa

Interpol has refused the detention and extradition request issued against former President Rafael Correa. In a statement, the Interpol said that the circumstances behind the request violate the organisation's human rights charter. Correa is being accused of kidnapping an opposition member in 2012. He denied any wrongdoing and said that the investigations are politically motivated by his former ally, President Lenin Moreno. Correa currently lives in Belgium. In July, a court in Ecuador issued an arrest warrant against him after he failed to appear in a court hearing.

Vice-President Maria Vicuna hands over resignation amid corruption probe

Vice-President Maria Alejandra Vicuna has handed over her resignation just after she was targeted in a corruption investigation. Vicuna was supposed to be suspended without pay while she prepared to face trial for allegedly receiving kickbacks from several aides to finance her Alfarista Bolivarian Alliance (ABA). In a statement released on social media, Vicuna said that she is resigning to preserve the country's political stability. Vicuna is the second vice-president of President Lenin Moreno to step down since he took office in 2017. She was the replacement of Jorge Glas, who was sentenced for corruption.

VP Vicuna to be suspended as she faces corruption investigation

Vice-President Maria Alejandra Vicuna has been relieved from her duties as she is being investigated by the Attorney General's Office. Vicuna is being accused of receiving kickbacks from several aides to finance her Alfarista Bolivarian Alliance (ABA). She requested President Lenin Moreno an unpaid leave of absence until the end of the year so she can prepare for trial. Vicuna was recently nominated to replace former VP Jorge Glas, who was sentenced to six years in prison for receiving bribes from the Brazilian company Odebrecht. Vicuna will be temporarily replaced by Jose Augusto Briones, the presidency secretary-general.

Taxi drivers to launch strike action in Quito

The taxi drivers' association in Quito has announced an indefinite strike action to protest against municipal plans to introduce more than 13,000 additional taxi bays in the capital. The strike action is set to kick off on Friday and may impact the whole Pichincha province, where Quito is located. Protesters are also demonstrating against app-hailing taxi services, such as Cabify and Uber. Associations said that they will only resume services after municipal authorities address their grievances. Taxi services in Quito are expected to be heavily limited, while potential traffic disruption across the capital is also possible over the weekend. 

Nine killed in landslides in Limon Indanza, Morona-Santiago

Nine people have been killed and several others have been injured after landslides hit several houses in Morona-Santiago province, south-eastern Ecuador. Ecuador's Emergency Operations Centre (COE) has confirmed that five houses in the La Chorrera area in Limon Indanza were destroyed. Further landslide risks forced the evacuation of dozens of people. Heavy rainfall continues to affect the region, which on Monday faced widespread flooding. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the National Service for Risk Management and Emergencies (SNGRE). Landslides in Ecuador tend to become more frequent during the country's rainy season, which usually runs between December and May.

President Moreno orders fresh cabinet reshuffle

President Lenin Moreno has requested the resignation of all his ministers ahead of a fresh cabinet reshuffle. President Moreno said that the move comes to evaluate their performance. Earlier this year in May, the whole cabinet was forced to resign over similar motives. Such is a common practice in Ecuadorian politics, which has also been made by his predecessor, Rafael Correa. Usually, no significant changes are made to ministers. Since President Moreno was sworn into office in 2017, nearly 60 percent of this ministers and secretaries were replaced.

Former President Correa requests asylum in Belgium

Former President Rafael Correa has requested political asylum in Belgium after he was summoned to stand trial in a long-standing kidnap case. Correa has been living in Belgium for several years after he was accused of ordering the kidnapping of opposition lawmaker Fernando Baldo through Ecuador's intelligence agency Senain. El Pais reported that two police officers were preventively detained after testifying against the former president. A top intelligence chief of Senain is also implicated in the case. Correa, who is a former ally to President Lenin Moreno, claims that the trial is a political persecution. Ecuadorian authorities called for an international arrest warrant to the INTERPOL, although it is still unclear if it has been approved.

Jailed former VP transferred to medical facility after hunger strike

Ecuador's ministry of justice has ordered the transfer of former vice-president Jorge Glas from a maximum security prison to a medical centre. Glas has been recently transferred to a maximum security facility in the town of Lacatacunga. Such came over fears that he could flee the country. In recent weeks, he launched a strike against the move. Glas is being transferred back to a medical facility in Quito due to health concerns. Glas was sentenced to spend more than seven years in prison for links to the Odebrecht corruption scandal.

Police seize massive drug haul in Duran, Guayas

More than 1.3 tonnes of cocaine has been seized at a warehouse in the south-western province of Guayas. Local media reported that the police anti-narcotics unit raided the facility in the town of Duran, located on the outskirts of Guayaquil. Police believe that the drugs came from Colombia and were set to be shipped abroad. Duran is located in the basin of the Guayas river, a key drug-trafficking route in south-western Ecuador.

Government extends state of emergency over Venezuelan migration

Ecuador's government has confirmed a 30-day extension on the current state of emergency in three northern provinces. The state of emergency was initially launched back in August to manage a wave of migration from Venezuela. Such was previously extended for another month in September in the bordering provinces of Carchi, El Oro and Pichincha. According to a report from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 209,000 Venezuelans are in Ecuador. It is estimated that more than one million Venezuelans crossed the country in recent months.

Court refuses plea to release jailed VP Jorge Glas

A court in Ecuador has refused a habeas corpus plea in favour of former vice-president Jorge Glas, who launched a hunger strike after being transferred to a maximum security facility outside Quito. The court ruling was issued in the town of Lacatunga, located in the province of Cotopaxi, where Glas was transferred to serve the rest of his six-year sentence. Glas was convicted for links to a massive bribery scandal involving the Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht. He was transferred after a jailed former minister removed his electronic tag and reportedly fled the country.

Justice minister resigns after jailed minister escapes

Justice Minister Paul Granda has handed in his resignation following the escape of a jailed former communications minister, Fernando Alvarado. Notimerica reported that President Lenin Moreno has not accepted the resignation. Alvarado has reportedly fled the country after disposing of his electronic tag. Granda claimed that a number of alerts were reported in recent weeks due to a potential malfunction of the electronic tag system - flaws which were not reported to the ministry of justice by the company that monitors the tags. Nearly 50 people are under investigation, while dozens of others were sacked since Alvarado disappearance last week. Alvarado is a former minister during the Rafael Correa administration.

Former VP launches hunger strike after prison transfer

Ecuador's former vice-president, Jorge Glas, has engaged in a hunger strike after the government ordered his transfer to a prison located on the outskirts of the capital, Quito. Glas was transferred on Sunday evening to the Latacunga Rehabilitation Center over fears that he would escape from prison. Glas's lawyer said that his detention conditions are "deplorable and sub-human". He further claimed that Glas suffers from a series of health conditions, which were not allowed to be treated. Glas is serving a six-year sentence for receiving bribes from the Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht. His transfer came after a former minister disposed of his electronic tag and reportedly fled the country to request political asylum.

Jailed former VP transferred to maximum security facility near Quito

Jailed former vice-president Jorge Glas has been transferred to a maximum security facility over fears that he may flee from prison. Authorities said in a communique that Glas is being moved to the Latacunga Rehabilitation Center, located nearly 70km from the capital, Quito. The move comes after former minister Fernando Alvarado disposed of his electronic tag and reportedly fled the country. Alvarado was the communications minister during the Rafael Correa administration. Glas was sentenced to more than six years in prison for receiving bribes from the Brazilian company Odebrecht. President Lenin Moreno has been accused of political persecution against officials linked to Correa, who is currently living in Belgium.

Kidnapped girl released in joint operation in Colombia

Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo has announced that a 12-year-old girl, who was kidnapped back in June, has been released during a joint operation in neighbouring Colombia. The victim was abducted from her school in Sevilla, located in the bordering province of Sucumbios. The victim was found on Sunday in the Colombian town of La Hormiga, located near the border. A 23-year-old man was arrested, while it is still unclear if he is linked to any criminal group. In recent months, security along the Colombian border has significantly deteriorated due to the presence of Colombian-based militant and criminal groups. Several kidnaps were previously reported in the northern provinces of Sucumbios and Esmeraldas.

Police seize massive drug haul off Galapagos Islands

The Police Anti-narcotics Investigation Unit (UIAN) has seized more than 535 kilos of drugs off the Galapagos Islands. El Comercio reported that the drugs were intended to be transported to Mexico and Central America. Reports revealed that the bust happened across international waters, when the police, assisted by US law-enforcement agents, intercepted a speedboat. Large drug shipments are often seized in the Galapagos Islands, which is considered a key drug-trafficking route between South America and the US.

Several killed in bus crash near Guayaquil

At least four people have been killed and more than 20 others were injured in a bus crash in Guayas, south-western Ecuador. Local media reported that the accident happened in the early hours of Monday morning near the town of La Colon. According to El Comercio, the bus overturned after swerving to avoid crashing into another vehicle. The bus was heading from Guayaquil to the town of Huaquilla, located in the neighbouring El Oro province, near the Peruvian border. Bus accidents are common in Ecuador. They are mainly attributed to reckless driving and poorly maintained vehicles.

Firefighters tackle wildfire near Quito

Dozens of firefighters have been deployed after a massive wildfire broke out at the Cerro Atacazo, located south of Quito. The fire erupted on Monday morning and consumed more than 700 hectares of grassland, mainly affecting the areas of El Mirador in the Canton of Santo Domingo de Cutuglahua. Dozens of families were forced to evacuate the area. Latest reports published by Bomberos Quito revealed that firefighting efforts were still ongoing on Monday evening.

State of emergency extended to manage migration wave in Ecuador

The government has announced a 30-day extension to the current state of emergency in Ecuador, which was first introduced in early-August to manage the current wave of Venezuelan migrants entering the country. The provinces included are Carchi, Pichincha and El Oro, which are the main transit points for migrants heading from Colombia to Peru. According to the UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Ecuador has received more than 209,000 migrants in 2018 - in 2015, the number of Venezuelan migrants in the country was nearly 9,000.

A dozen killed as bus plunges off cliff in El Oro

At least a dozen people have been killed and nearly 30 others were injured when a bus plunged off a cliff in El Oro, southern Ecuador. Emergency services confirmed that the accident happened in the early hours of Tuesday morning near San Jose de Balsas whilst en route to Guayaquil. It is still unclear what caused the accident. Bus crashes are common in Ecuador. They are mainly attributed to reckless driving and poorly maintained vehicles.

Border security reinforced after military operation in Colombia

Security measures along the Colombian border have been reinforced after the military launched a massive operation to capture the leader of a FARC dissident front based in southern Colombia. According to the Colombian military, alias 'Guacho' was injured after a major military operation in a rural area in Narino department, located near the border with Ecuador. El Comercio has informed that security measures to major roads around San Lorenzo were reinforced and that thousands of soldiers were deployed to the region to avoid his potential escape to Ecuador. Guacho is responsible for a number of bombings in Esmeraldas province and the kidnap of three members of an Ecuadorian media team.

Former President Correa investigated for racketeering

Ecuador's Attorney General's Office has launched a fresh investigation into former President Rafael Correa for racketeering linked to the Brazilian-based conglomerate Odebrecht. The accusation was submitted by opposition politician Cesar Montufa, who alleged a massive corruption scheme during the Correa administration. Correa's VP, Jorge Glas - who was already sentenced for corruption - is also being implicated. Correa is being accused of several crimes links to corruption and the kidnapping of an opposition politician. He currently lives in Belgium and denied any wrongdoing.

Powerful earthquake triggers power outages in central Ecuador

A powerful 6.3-magnitude earthquake was recorded on Thursday afternoon in central Ecuador. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake was reported several kilometres south of Alausi at a depth of more than 93 km. Minor damages were also reported, including power outages in Puertas Negras, Guano and Chunchi. Reports revealed that the tremor was also felt in Quito and Guayaquil. A minor 4.0-magnitude quake was also reported in La Libertad, western Ecuador. Ecuador is prone to earthquakes due to its location along the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Eleven killed in Ecuador bus crash

Eleven people have been killed and 37 others wounded in a bus crash in southern Ecuador. The bus was travelling from Cuenca to Loja when the accident happened on Saturday morning. National Transportation Agency Director Pablo Calle said the driver was exceeding the speed limit at the time of the crash.

Government extends state of emergency amid Venezuelan migrant crisis

Ecuador's Chancellor Jose Valencia has announced the extension of the state of emergency in northern Ecuador to manage the current wave of migration from Venezuela. The current state of emergency will be extended for 30 days and include the provinces of Carchi and Sucumbios, located along the Colombian border, and the southern province of El Oro, near Peru. Last week, the government ordered the creation of a humanitarian corridor to assist migrants heading to Peru.

Citizens' council removes all Supreme Court judges

All nine judges within Ecuador's Supreme Court have been removed after a vote held on a transitory citizens council, the CPCCS. Five councilmen voted in favour to remove the judges over claims that their nomination was biased. The judges were nominated back in 2012 during the administration of President Rafael Correa - he condemned the move and called the CPCCS as an illegitimate institution. The judges were granted three days to challenge the ruling. The CPCCS is an influential government body created to complement the state powers. It was established through a popular referendum held in January, months after President Lenin Moreno sworn into office.

Government creates humanitarian corridor amid migrant influx

The government has announced the creation of a humanitarian corridor to better manage the high-influx of Venezuelans entering Ecuador. Risk Management Minister Alexandra Ocles said that the corridor will be implemented between the towns of Rumichaca in the border with Colombia to Huaquillas in the Peruvian border. More than 600,000 Venezuelan migrants arrived in Ecuador since the start of the year, but most of them were in transit to Peru and Chile. Ecuador and Peru have introduced enhanced immigration policies, such as requesting passports to recent arrivals.

President Moreno announces cuts to curb public debt

President Lenin Moreno has announced a number of cuts to curb public spending and reduce the country's massive debt. Among many changes, President Moreno plans to shut down dozens of government agencies and reduce the number of ministries. Some public companies and services are also expected to be affected. Further measures will also include a hike to fuel prices. Since he was sworn into office, Moreno has launched a business-friendly approach to attract foreign investment to Ecuador.

Enhanced immigration checks introduced to curb Venezuelan migration

Interior Minister Mauro Toscanini has announced that enhanced immigration checks will be introduced to Venezuelans heading to Ecuador. In a statement, he said that: “As of this Saturday the government will require that anyone entering Ecuador present his or her passport.” The move comes after the government declared a state of emergency in three northern provinces due to the high influx of migrants fleeing the Venezuelan crisis. According to the foreign ministry, 600,000 Venezuelans arrived in Ecuador in 2018. A similar approach is also set to be launched in Peru.

Several officials sacked after deadly bus crash near Quito

Nearly a dozen government officials have been sacked after more than 20 people died in a bus crash near Quito. Interior Minister Mauro Toscanini has said that the National Director for Road Traffic, Colonel Wilson Pavon, is among those dismissed. President Lenin Moreno further acknowledges that serious mistakes within government institutions were which contributed to poor road safety. Most of the victims were Colombian nationals, who were travelling from central Colombia to Quito. The accident happened days after a dozen football supporters were killed in another bus crash in Azuay.

Sangay Volcano in Amazonas enters new eruptive phase

Ecuador's Geophysics Institute (IG) revealed that the Sangay Volcano in central Ecuador has entered a new eruptive phase after being dormant for nearly nine months. According to reports, the Sangay expelled ashes up to 2,300 metres into the atmosphere. IG considered the threat as low-level. The Sangay is located in the province of Morona-Santiago in Amazonas.

Scores killed in bus accident near Quito

At least 22 people have been killed and 18 people were injured when a bus crashed in the outskirts of Quito. The accident happened on Tuesday morning along the E20 highway between Pifo and Papallacta. Preliminary reports suggest that the bus crashed into a jeep before turning over. Most victims are believed to be nationals from Colombia and Venezuela, who were heading from central Colombia to Quito. The accident happened days after a dozen people were killed in another bus crash in Azuay. 

Bus company involved in deadly crash has its services suspended

Ecuador's transport and public works ministry has suspended operations of the bus company Cooperativa Senor de los Milagros, which was involved in an accident last Sunday in Azuay. At least a dozen football supporters were killed in the crash while travelling from Cuenca to Guayaquil. Authorities believe that the crash was caused due to speeding. While investigations are being carried out, the National Traffic Agency has confirmed the suspension of the company's services. Road accidents in Ecuador are common and mainly occur due to reckless driving.

Several killed in road accident near Cuenca, Guayas

At least a dozen people have been killed and 30 others were injured in a bus crash in Guayas, western Ecuador. El Comercio reported that the bus was travelling along the road between Cuenca and Molleturo when it overturned on Sunday afternoon. All victims were football supporters who were returning to Guayaquil from a football match in Cuenca. Ecuador has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the region, often caused by reckless driving or badly maintained vehicles.

Thousands of migrants stranded at Rumichaca border crossing

Thousands of Venezuelans are currently stranded at the Colombian-Ecuadorian border waiting to cross into the country. It is estimated that more than 10,000 people are currently waiting to cross the Rumichaca International Bridge, which last year received more than 230,000 Venezuelans. Ecuador's migration minister, Santiago Chavez, told El Comercio that authorities are monitoring developments in the area after more than 3,200 people crossed the border on Monday. Ecuador and Colombia are one of the main destinations for Venezuelan fleeing from the country's turmoil.

Supreme Court upholds prison order to former President Correa

Ecuador's Supreme Court has upheld the prison warranty to former President Rafael Correa for his alleged connection to an attempted kidnapping of a political opponent in 2012. In a statement, the court refused an appeal, which came after Correa failed to appear before a court earlier in the month. Correa currently lives in Belgium. He said that the accusation is politically motivated and that he is seeking assistance from international organisations to counter the allegations.

Thousands march in Quito to support former President Correa

Thousands of protesters marched across Quito to support former President Rafael Correa. Demonstrators marched on Thursday from the El Arbolito park towards the government HQ at Carondelet Palace. Earlier this week, a judge has issued an arrest warrant for Correa over his alleged involvement in the kidnapping of an opposition politician back in 2012. Correa, who is currently living in Belgium, denied any wrongdoing and claimed that such allegations are politically motivated.

Judge orders former President Correa's arrest amid kidnapping probe

A judge has submitted to the Interpol an arrest warrant for former President Rafael Correa, who is accused of involvement in a kidnapping case back in 2012. Judge Daniella Camacho has ordered Correa's arrest after accepting claims from the prosecution that Correa was involved in the brief kidnap of Fernando Balda, a former opposition politician. The order seeks to detain and extradite Correa from Belgium - where he lives with his wife - after he reportedly failed to appear before judges in Ecuador and instead headed to the Ecuadorian Consulate in Brussels. Correa denies any wrongdoing and claims that the allegations are part of a political witchhunt launched by his former ally and successor, Lenin Moreno.

Dozens linked to FARC dissidents detained in cross-border operation

More than 80 suspected militants linked to a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been detained during a joint cross-border operation. Interior Minister Mauro Toscanini has confirmed that 52 people were detained in Ecuador and 30 others were arrested in Colombia. Authorities believe that the suspects are linked to the dissident FARC front known as Oliver Sinisterra, which widely operate along the border and is led by alias 'Guacho'. The announcement comes after the bodies of three kidnapped media professionals arrived in Quito.

Alert issued over volcanic activity increase in the Galapagos Islands

Ecuador's Risk Management Secretary (SGR) has issued an alert over the increasing activity of the Volcano Sierra Negra in Isla Isabela at the Galapagos Islands. Authorities are monitoring Sierra Negra's activity which forced the temporary closure of the visitor areas around the volcano. Local media have reported that more than 250 people have already been evacuated in preemptive measures. Isla Isabela is one of the four inhabited islands in the Galapagos.

Strong 5.4-magnitude earthquake strikes Imbabura

A strong 5.4-magnitude earthquake has been recorded in the northern province of Imbabura. According to Ecuador's Geophysics Institute, the quake's epicentre was near the town of Cotacachi at a shallow depth of five kilometres. No immediate casualties or major damages have been reported so far. Earthquakes are common in Ecuador mainly due to the country’s location in the seismic-prone Pacific Ring of Fire.

Eight soldiers reported missing near Colombian border

Eight Ecuadorian soldiers were reported missing on Wednesday while patrolling the Colombian border. The Army has launched a search party to locate the soldiers, who disappeared near the sectors of Cerro Negro and Arenal in Carchi province. Preliminary investigations approach the possibility of the communications loss being caused due to adverse weather conditions in the area. Security tensions along the Colombian border continue high due to recent cross-border attacks attributed to FARC dissidents based in Colombia.

Security heightened as anti-mining protests escalate in Azuay

More than 300 soldiers and police officers have been deployed across the southern town of Rio Blanco, Azuay province, after a protest turned violent on Tuesday. Incidents erupted after demonstrators raided a mine over alleged environmental and security concerns regarding operations of the company Ecuagoldmining. Roads across the western area of Azuay province are reportedly blocked in some areas. 

President Lenin Moreno to order cabinet reshuffle

President Lenin Moreno has called on his whole cabinet to resign to launch an evaluation on their political standings and performance. As President Moreno completes one year in office on 24 May, he is set to asses his cabinet's position concerning some ministers loyal to former President Rafael Correa. Further, the Moreno administration has been widely criticised over the accumulation of foreign debt, corruption, political instability and security along the Colombian border.

Heavy rainfall triggers landslides in central and northern Ecuador

Heavy rainfall has triggered landslides and widespread flooding across eight provinces in central and northern Ecuador. Road travel was particularly disrupted as landslides blocked major roads across Napo, Pastaza, Tungurahua, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Bolivar, Imbabura and El Oro. Ecuador's National Meteorology Institute (Inamhi) forecast that heavy rainfall will persist throughout the week.

Soldiers targeted in presumed cross-border attack in Mataje

Ecuadorian soldiers have been reportedly attacked while patrolling the Colombian border in Mataje, Esmeraldas province. Reports revealed that the soldiers were targeted with explosives in the Corriente Larga area. No casualties were reported. Police believe that the attack was carried out from the Colombian side of the border. Since January, more than 10 attacks have been reported against security forces stationed in the region.

FARC dissidents call for ceasefire to handover journalists' bodies

FARC dissidents based in southern Colombia have called on the Ecuadorian government to launch a ceasefire in order to allow the repatriation of the bodies of the three news workers killed last month. In a statement, the Oliver Sinisterra Front's leader, alias 'Guacho', urged President Lenin Moreno to create a humanitarian corridor to allow the safe transfer of the victims' bodies. The handover of the victims was previously suspended after FARC dissidents claimed the lack of security guarantees.

Heavy rainfall triggers landslides along Banos-Puyo road

Heavy rainfall has triggered several landslides along the iconic Ruta de las Cascadas in Banos, central Ecuador. The emergency services revealed that clearance efforts are still underway after five areas along the E30 highway between Banos and Puyo were blocked on Saturday evening. Travel operators and travellers have been urged to take caution as some tours in the area have been temporarily suspended.

Thousands march against violence along Colombian border

Thousands of people marched nationwide to protest against insecurity in the country's northern border with Colombia. Protesters took to the streets of Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Ambato, Ibarra and other major cities after a number of attacks were reported in Esmeraldas province. The march came after the government confirmed the death of three members of a media team kidnapped last month near the Colombian border.

Ecuador suspends ELN talks mediation

Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno has announced on Wednesday plans to suspend the country's mediation in the peace talks between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN). In a statement, President Moreno said that such will last until the ELN cease its attacks in northern Colombia. The move comes after Ecuadorian security was recently shaken by recent attacks and kidnappings led by FARC dissidents stationed along the Colombian border.

Authorities arrest senior FARC dissident in Colombia

Colombian authorities have announced that a senior dissident member has been detained in a police operation in Narino, south-western Colombia. In a press conference, General Jorge Nieto said that Vicente Canticus Pascial, alias 'Bryan', was arrested. Bryan is believed to be linked to alias 'Guacho' the head of the FARC dissident front Oliver Sinisterra, which is responsible for recent kidnappings and attacks along the Ecuadorian border.

FARC dissidents kidnap couple in Mataje, Esmeraldas

Presumed dissident members of the FARC have abducted a couple in the bordering town of Mataje, northern Ecuador. Interior Minister Cesar Navas has confirmed the incident and said that the kidnappers sent President Lenin Moreno proof of life. El Pais reported that in the video, the group calls for the release of nine of its militants. The incident comes days after the dissident Oliver Sinisterra front killed three Ecuadorian journalists kidnapped in Esmeraldas province.

FARC dissidents call off process to handover journalists' bodies

FARC dissidents have suspended the process of handing over the bodies of a kidnapped media team killed last week. Militants were set to hand the victims' bodies over to monitors of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) but it was called off due to the alleged lack of security guarantees. The process is being facilitated by the ICRC after the government confirmed the death of the two journalists and their driver.

Government confirms journalists' death

President Lenin Moreno has confirmed the deaths of three members of a media team kidnapped last month in Esmeraldas province. Ecuador's National Police has revealed that more than 90 raids were already conducted around suspected FARC strongholds in Mataje after the news of their deaths emerged. Interior Minister Cesar Navas stated on Sunday that their bodies are yet to be recovered. Over recent months, more than 40 FARC dissidents have been detained in multiple operations along the Colombian border.

President Moreno requests proof of life of kidnapped journalists

President Lenin Moreno has set a deadline for dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to provide proof of life of the abducted media team. Moreno said: “I give these narcos 12 hours to give us proof of the existence of our compatriots otherwise we will go with all forcefulness”. Authorities are investigating FARC claims that two journalists and their driver are already dead. President Moreno also threatened to launch airstrikes against the group if the media team's death is confirmed.

Authorities investigate death of kidnapped media team

Authorities are investigating the reported deaths of three people part of a media team kidnapped last month near the Colombian border. The government has confirmed that investigations have been launched after a dissident FARC front released a statement claiming their murders. The statement came after FARC dissidents released footage featuring the victims where militants called President Lenin Moreno to cease security operations near the border. Demobilised FARC militants have been known to operate across the border into Ecuador, especifically the Oliver Sinisterra Front, which is led by alias 'Guacho'.

Scores detained for links to journalists' abduction in Esmeraldas

More than 20 suspects have been detained for links to the kidnapping of a media team in the northern province of Esmeraldas. Police Commander General Ramiro Mantilla said that the suspects are dissident members of the FARC, which operate along the Colombian border through a militant front led by alias 'Guacho'. The police crackdown has intensified in recent weeks after a number of bomb attacks struck several villages in Esmeraldas. FARC dissidents kidnapped two journalists and their driver in late-March.

Bridge targeted with explosives in Viche, Esmeraldas

A major bridge in the northern province of Esmeraldas was targeted with explosives last week. The incident happened on Wednesday when a home-made explosive went off in the town of Viche. According to the Ministry of Defense, the intended target was a nearby electricity tower which provides energy to the most areas in Esmeraldas. Nine suspects were later detained while the police investigated the potential involvement of militants linked to FARC dissident fronts. A recent spate in bomb attacks in Esmeraldas and other bordering provinces have been attributed to Colombian-based militants.

FARC dissidents release video featuring kidnapped journalists

A short video featuring an Ecuadorian press team kidnapped by FARC dissidents has emerged on Tuesday. The footage has been released by the Colombian-based Canal RCN and shows Javier Ortega, Paul Rivas and Efrain Segarra with chains locked around their necks. In the video, one of the hostages calls on President Lenin Moreno to release three unnamed combatants and to cease anti-narcotics operations with the Colombian authorities. The victims are members of the El Comercio newspaper and were abducted last week in the bordering province of Esmeraldas.

Three killed in landslides near Mirador, Bolivar

Three people have been killed and two others are still missing after heavy rainfall triggered landslides in central Ecuador. Authorities revealed that the victims were walking along the route between Guranda and Echeandia when they were buried. Road traffic in the Mirador area was temporarily suspended as emergency services headed to the area. Ecuador’s rainy season usually lasts between December and May, when there is an increased risk of flooding and landslides mainly around mountainous areas.

Authorities investigate attack on military vehicle in Esmeraldas

Ecuadorian authorities are investigating a suspected explosion that targeted a military vehicle in the northern province of Esmeraldas. According to the armed forces, the incident happened on Monday afternoon as a military water tanker was heading from Mataje to San Lorenzo. No injuries were reported but the windshield of the lorry was significantly damaged. Tensions remain high in the region as security measures were reinforced after a wave of militant attacks.

Clandestine militant camp dismantled in Manzaya, Sucumbios

A clandestine camp located in the bordering province of Sucumbios has been dismantled during a military operation. According to the Ecuadorian Army, the camp was located in the remote sector of Manzaya and is believed to belong to a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In recent months, a number of militant attacks along the Colombian border have been attributed to FARC dissidents.

Two journalists presumedly kidnapped in Esmeraldas

Two journalists and their driver have presumedly been kidnapped in the northern province of Esmeraldas. According to the Ecuadorian government, the victims were reported missing in the town of Mataje, close to the Colombian border. The team was working on a news piece for the daily newspaper El Comercio. The incident happened in the same area where suspected FARC dissidents killed three police officers last week.

State of emergency declared over floods in Babahoyo, Los Rios

Nearly 2,000 people have been affected as heavy rainfall batters the rural areas of Los Rios, central Ecuador. A state of emergency has been declared in the town of Babahoyo after local rivers burst their banks due to heavy rainfall. Widespread damage has been reported across major roads, several residences and at the potable water system. Ecuador’s rainy season usually lasts between December and May, where there is an increased risk of flooding and landslides mainly around mountainous areas.

Several killed as bus overturns in Cascol, Manabi

At least a dozen people were killed and nearly 20 others injured when a bus overturned in Manabi province, western Ecuador. According to Ecuador's Traffic Commision (CTE), the accident happened near the town of Cascol along the main highway towards Jipijapa. According to El Telegrafo, the area of the accident is one of the most dangerous areas that link Guayas to Manabi. Prosecutors revealed that the causes of the accident are still unknown. 

Authorities accuse FARC dissidents of recent attack in Esmeraldas

Ecuadorian authorities have accused dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) of being behind a recent bomb attack which killed three soldiers in the Esmeraldas province. Governor Pablo Hadathy Rodas said that the attack was perpetrated by dissidents involved in drug-trafficking operations. President Lenin Moreno already announced a security reinforcement in the region. This is the latest attack of a FARC dissident front in Ecuador. In January, the group was accused of orchestrating a car bomb attack in the bordering town of San Lorenzo.

Three soldiers killed and seven injured in fresh border attack

Three Ecuadorian soldiers have been killed and seven injured when a device exploded in Mataje, Esmereldas province on the border with Colombia, while they were on patrol.  President Lenin Moreno condemned the attack on social media, and attributed it to drug traffickers and criminal gangs.  Two other members of the armed forces were injured in a similar incident on Sunday.

Police patrol vehicle hits explosive device

On 18 March a police patrol vehicle taking part in a drone reconnaissance operation, struck a homemade explosive device on the Lita Highway, Alto Tambo.  The vehicle sustained damage, but no injuries were reported.  One person was detained in connection with the incident.

State of emergency extended after bomb at naval station

On 16 March, an improvised explosive device exploded at an Ecuadorian naval station in Borbon, resulting in serious damage to the facility.  There were no reports of injuries.  As a result, the State of Emergency declared after a car bomb in January, will be extended, authorities announced.  Residents and visitors are advised to exercise extreme caution in the region.   

Thousands of landmines still to be recovered in Zamora-Chinchipe

The head of the Army's engineer corps, Col Freddy Merizalde, told El Telegrafo that nearly 3,500 landmines are still to be recovered along the Peruvian border. The landmines are the remnants of the armed conflict between Ecuador and Peru during the 1990s. Demining efforts were launched back in 2012 and are set to be concluded in 2022. So far, four provinces have been cleared of the devices while work continue in the south-eastern province of Zamora-Chinchipe.

Several killed as bus overturns near Quevedo, Los Rios

At least four people have been killed and dozens of others injured when a bus overturned in Los Rios province, central Ecuador. El Telegrafo reported that the accident happened along an interprovincial road near Quevedo. It is still unclear what caused the crash.

President Moreno nominates new finance minister

On Tuesday, President Lenin Moreno announced the nomination of Maria Elsa Viteri as the country's new finance minister. Viteri's nomination comes after Carlos de la Torre handed in his resignation for undisclosed motives. Viteri was Ecuador's finance minister for part of the Rafael Correa administration. She is known as a close ally to Correa, who quit the ruling Alianza Pais party amid political tensions.

Several killed in road accident in western Ecuador

Nearly a dozen people have been killed when a pick-up truck crashed into a lorry in western Ecuador. The accident happened along the Babahoyo-Jujan road, which connects the provinces of Guayas and Los Rios. Babahoyo police chief, Byron Rizos, told El Comercio that the crash occurred after the pick-up truck's tire burst. Most of the victims were minors.

One killed after car explosion in Colta, Chimborazo

A man has been killed when a car exploded on the streets of Chimborazo, central Ecuador. The incident happened on Thursday afternoon in the Lirio sector in Colta. Ecuador's Interior Minister Cesar Navas said that investigations have been launched as the circumstances behind the blast remain unclear. Navas said that there is no evidence so far that the incident is crime-related. Security services are on high alert since a car bomb went off near a police station in Esmeraldas back in January.

Indigenous activist shot dead in Tsachilas

A 53-year-old indigenous leader has been shot dead after armed criminals raided his residence in Tsachilas, northern Ecuador. Hector Aguavil Calazacon was working at his clinic in the town of Santo Domingo de los Colorados when two armed criminals opened fire. Aguavil Calazacon is the former governor of the province and currently worked at a local indigenous organisation. President Lenin Moreno condemned the attack alongside a number of social and government entities.

Armed Forces repel fresh attack in San Lorenzo

Ecuador's Armed Force has announced that patrolling soldiers repelled a recent border attack in San Lorenzo, northern Ecuador. In a communique, the military said that an unknown individual was detained after a group attempted to carry out an attack in the community of El Pan. Security measures have been heightened around San Lorenzo after suspected dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) targeted a police station in the region last month. A state of emergency is currently active in San Lorenzo, Eloy and Alfaro.

Security measures to be heightened along Colombian border

President Lenin Moreno announced on Tuesday that security forces will reinforce their presence along the Colombian border to tackle the presence of dissident armed groups. The announcement came weeks after a car bomb targeted a police station in the bordering town of San Lorenzo. The government accuses a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) of being behind the attack. Moreno is set to meet with his Colombian counterpart next week to discuss further security cooperation along the border region.

President Moreno recalls OAS representative over referendum row

President Lenin Moreno has recalled the Ecuadorian representative within the Organization of American State (OAS) after one of its' bodies raised issues regarding the constitutional referendum held last week. The situation regards comments made by OAS's Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) which claimed that some of the changes may harm key citizens' rights institutions. Moreno accused the IACHR of attempting to meddle in Ecuadorian domestic policies and sent a team to Costa Rica to defend the referendum's results.

National Assembly initiates process to change constitution

On Monday, Ecuador's National Assembly started the process to introduce constitutional changes recently approved in the referendum. Ecuadorians overwhelmingly voted on Sunday to introduce seven amendments to the country's 2008 Constitution. Among the seven measures, two of them still have to be approved by the Congress, while the most controversial one - the establishment of presidential term limits - can be already implemented without further consultation.

Ecuadorians overwhelmingly approve constitutional changes

Millions of people headed to the polls on Sunday to cast their ballots in a controversial referendum. Ecuadorians answered seven pre-established questions regarding constitutional changes. Among them was to allow only one presidential re-election and to bar corrupt politicians from running for office. According to preliminary results released by the National Electoral Council (CNE), the 'Yes vote' overwhelmingly won with at least 63 percent of the votes to all questions. Some of the measures still need approval in Congress. The referendum was a highly divisive factor within the ruling Alianza Pais as the result bars former President Rafael Correa from running for office in 2021.

Health insurance to be required to foreign visitors

Ecuador's tourism ministry has informed on Friday that visitors to the country will be required to hold public or private health insurance for the duration of their stay. President Lenin Moreno signed the presidential decree on Wednesday and the measure will be introduced in May, 2018.  

Ecuadorians to head to polls to cast referendum vote

Millions of Ecuadorians are set to head to the polls on Sunday to cast their votes in a contested referendum. President Lenin Moreno has announced last November to introduce a number of constitutional changes and reforms through seven 'Yes/No' questions. Among them is the decision to scrap indefinite re-election, which has been seen as a direct threat to Moreno's former ally, ex-President Rafael Correa. Other questions concern legislation linked to corruption, oil exploration and land ownership. The referendum is being backed by the opposition CREO and has been seen as a divisive factor in the ruling Alianza Pais party.

Young girl killed after strong earthquake strikes Pastaza

A 12-year-old girl has been killed after a strong 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck Pastaza, eastern Ecuador. According to Ecuador's Geophysics Institute (IG), the quake had its epicentre near Puyo at a shallow depth of 10 km. The victim was killed when hit by a falling wall in Huamboya community. Hundreds of people across the region temporarily left their homes after the tremor. Earthquakes are common in Ecuador mainly due to the country’s location in the seismic-prone Pacific Ring of Fire.

Minister accuses FARC dissidents for San Lorenzo attack

Ecuadorian authorities are investigating the potential involvement of dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the San Lorenzo bombing on Saturday. Defense Minister Patricio Zambrano revealed that the motivation behind the involvement of dissidents are due to a recent crackdown on drug-trafficking operations along the Colombian border. A state of emergency has already been declared in San Lorenzo after dozens of police officers were injured and hundreds of civilians were affected by the powerful blast.

US Embassy informs of upcoming tsunami evacuation drill

The US Embassy in Quito has announced that an upcoming tsunami evacuation drill will take place across five coastal provinces nationwide. The drill will take place on Wednesday in Esmeraldas, Manabi, Santa Elena, Guayas and Galapagos. Sirens and announcements will echo across those areas, where participants will be taken to areas located up to 30 metres above sea-level. Travellers have been advised to monitor local media for further information. It is important to note that disruptions may occur during the exercise. The general public participation in the drill is not mandatory.

Several injured as powerful blast strikes police station in Esmeraldas

At least a dozen police officers have been injured when a powerful explosion hit a police station in Esmeraldas, north-western Ecuador. The incident happened in the early hours of Saturday when a presumed car-bomb struck the station in San Lorenzo. Preliminary reports suggest that drug-trafficking entities are behind the attack, which was carried out after the police intensified operations in the region. Ecuador's interior ministry has launched an investigation while President Lenin Moreno condemned the unprecedented attack.

Health authorities issue alert over deaths linked to AH1N1 influenza

Ecuadorian health authorities have issued an alert nationwide after 22 people have died since November after contracting the flu virus AH1N1. Around 500 further cases were reported nationwide, mainly across Pinchincha province, which includes the country's capital, Quito. Cases were also reported in the northern province of Imbabura and the central provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo. The health ministry has launched a massive vaccination campaign to avoid the disease spreading due to low temperatures and heavy rainfall across the country.

Ex-president quits ruling party amid rising political tensions

Former President Rafael Correa has left the Alianza Pais (AP) party as grievances within the ruling party escalate. Correa is leaving the AP after an electoral court ruled that President Lenin Moreno's allies control the party's leadership. Correa's faction within the AP - most of them also left the party - had previously removed Moreno as party leader, but the decision was promptly overturned by the National Electoral Council (CNE). Correa is the AP founder and was its leader during both his terms as president. He is set to launch a 'No' campaign ahead of the constitutional referendum later in the year. Also on Tuesday, the CNE refused to allow the creation of a new political group led by Correa.

Increasing activity levels recorded at Sierra Negra Volcano, Galapagos

Ecuador's Geophysics Institute (IG) has issued a report revealing an increasing level of activity at the Sierra Negra Volcano in Isla Isabela, Galapagos Islands. According to IG, the continuous seismic activity across the Pacific is one of the main reasons for this activity intensification. Sierra Negra is one of the biggest volcanos in the Galapagos Islands and is located in the southern tip of Isla Isabela. Areas surrounding the Sierra Negra's caldera are the main tourist trek towards the so-called Volcan Chico. Throughout history, the Sierra Negra erupted at least 10 times, with the last being in 2005.

Parliament elects Maria Alejandra Vicuna as new VP

Ecuador's Parliament has elected Maria Alejandra Vicuna as the country's new vice-president. In a vote held on Saturday, lawmakers overwhelmingly chose Vicuna to replace former VP Jorge Glas, who has been sentenced to six years in prison for accusations of receiving bribes amid the Odebrecht corruption scandal. As divisions within the ruling Alianza Pais party widen, members allied to former president Rafael Correa - who is also allied to Glas - boycotted the vote. Glas left the post after spending nearly three months absent from office after he was stripped of his political powers.

Campaigns officially launched ahead of February referendum

On Wednesday, Ecuador's National Electoral Council (CNE) announced the official launch of the campaigns ahead of February's referendum. 40 organisations nationwide will undertake 'Yes/No' campaigns to answer seven questions previously submitted by social and government groups. Among them are legislation linked to corruption, oil exploration and land ownership. However, the most controversial is the question regarding the introduction of limits to presidential terms. This issue has been a strong divisive factor within the ruling Alianza Pais, which has been suffering deep disputes between President Lenin Moreno and former president Rafael Correa. Among the 40 organisations, 36 of them are backing the 'Yes' vote.

Jailed VP no longer in office after three-month absence

President Lenin Moreno confirmed on Wednesday that his jailed vice-president, Jorge Glas, has been definitively removed from office after spending three months absent from his post. Glas has been absent from his functions since early October when he was stripped of his political powers over his alleged links to a multi-million bribery scandal involving the Brazilian-based company Odebrecht. President Moreno said: "In line with what the constitution stipulates, the vice presidential functions of Jorge Glas have ended." Glas was a long-time ally of former President Rafael Correa, who is currently engaged in highly divisive disputes against President Moreno within the ruling Alianza Pais party.

Vice-President Jorge Glas sentenced amid Odebrecht bribery scandal

Ecuador's Vice-President Jorge Glas has been sentenced to six years in prison for his involvement in the notorious bribery scandal linked to the Brazilian giant construction firm Odebrecht. Glas has been under preventive arrest since October when Congress lifted his political immunity. He is being accused of receiving more than $13.5m in bribes during his time as minister of strategic sectors. Glas is the highest-ranking politician to be sentenced - he is expected to appeal the sentence - in the massive scandal which already implicated high-level officials across Latin America and Europe. 

Thousands affected as massive landslide hit southern Quito

A 58-year-old man has been killed when heavy rainfall triggered a mudslide in southern Quito. Quito's Mayor Mauricio Rodas confirmed that the body of Jorge Humberto Taboada was recovered after several days missing in the area of El Troje. Meanwhile, hundreds of people have been affected as water shortages were reported across the capital. Security Secretary Juan Zapata said that the mudslides reported last week affected more than 600,000 people across 171 neighbourhoods. Defense Minister Patricio Zambrano said that contingency plans have been launched in the most affected areas. Ecuador's rainy season usually lasts from October to May.

Strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake hits San Vicente, Manabi

A strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake has been recorded in Manabi province, western Ecuador. According to Ecuador's Geophysics Institute (IG), the quake was recorded near San Vicente on Sunday morning at a 22,5-kilometre depth.  President Lenin Moreno confirmed that no casualties or major damage was reported in the region. However, energy supply to certain areas in Caraquez Bay was interrupted, while the tremor was also felt across several neighbouring districts. IG revealed that the cause of the quake was due to a potential interaction between the Nazca and South-American tectonic plates.

Powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake hits Guayaquil

A powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake was recorded on Friday morning in Guayaquil, south-western Ecuador. No casualties or significant damage was reported, but it was felt hundreds of kilometres away. According to Ecuador's Geophysics Institute (IG), the quake had its epicentre in the outskirts of the city at a depth of 11km. Several low-intensity tremors have been recorded in the region in recent weeks.

Operations at Guayaquil Airport to be disrupted over maintenance works

Operations at the Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport (GYE) in Guayaquil, southern Ecuador, are set to face disruptions due to maintenance works on the airport's tarmac. According to a communique, operations will be suspended form 25 November to 02 December between 08:00 and 15:00 local time. In the event of flight disruptions, it is widely advisable to directly contact the respective airline or travel operator.

VP to stand trial over corruption allegations

Ecuador's jailed VP Jorge Glas is set to stand trial for his alleged involvement in a major bribery scheme linked to the Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht. Glas along with 12 others - including his uncle Ricardo Rivera - were charged last week with conspiracy. Glas is being accused of having received up to $13m through his uncle, while it is believed that the scheme involved five millionaire public projects. If condemned, he may face up to five years in prison. The court has until Saturday 02 December to summon the relevant persons for trial, which remains suspended as four of the accused are currently out of the country.

Electoral council declares President Moreno as ruling party's leader

Ecuador's National Electoral Council (CNE) has declared President Lenin Moreno as the leader of the ruling Alianza Pais (AP) party. Moreno was removed from the AP leadership two weeks ago due to ongoing party grievances between his supporters and lawmakers linked to his predecessor, Rafael Correa. The CNE said that the party's decision to remove Moreno from its leadership was invalid as it was not made through official channels. Political tensions have significantly escalated within the AP after Ecuador's VP Jorge Glas was removed from office over his alleged links to a massive bribery scheme.

VP charged with conspiracy over links to Odebrecht bribery scheme

Ecuador's jailed VP Jorge Glas and 12 other officials were formally charged with conspiracy on Thursday for involvement in a massive bribery scheme linked to the Brazilian-based Odebrecht. Prosecutor General Carlos Baca said that Glas received up to $13m through his uncle Ricardo Rivera, while it is believed that the scheme involved five millionaire public projects. Glas has been detained since early-October and had his political powers stripped by President Lenin Moreno.

South American governments targeted by cyber-espionage group

Researchers from the US-based software company Symantec had uncovered a clandestine cyber-espionage group that targeted official documents of several South American and Asian governments. According to reports, the virus would be introduced into the system through a malware known as 'Felismus', which would usually come in the form of an Adobe software update. It is believed that the group - named as Sowbug - systematically targeted foreign policy bodies and government agencies in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Brunei and Malaysia since 2015. Symantec said that: "The group is well resourced, capable of infiltrating multiple targets simultaneously and will often operate outside the working hours of targeted organisations. (...) It gives its tools file names similar to those used by software and places them in directory trees that could be mistaken for those used by the legitimate software."

Authorities urge caution as tainted alcohol death toll increases

The Ecuadorian government announced on Wednesday that the death toll linked to the ingestion of tainted alcohol significantly increased. Health Minister Veronica Espinosa confirmed that 25 people have been killed so far as more than 65 intoxication cases were reported last week across Ecuador. Although the government is employing tougher regulations and control, Interior Minister Cesar Navas urged people to be cautious when consuming and purchasing alcohol from public venues.

President Moreno removed from ruling party leadership

President Lenin Moreno has been removed from the leadership of the ruling Alianza Pais (AP) movement amid a fresh escalation in party infights. In a communique, the movement announced that it had unanimously decided to replace Moreno as AP's leader. However, the government had refused to accept such claims and ensured that Moreno remains as the party's leader. The move came amid rising differences between Moreno's supporters and the branch allied to former President Rafael Correa. AP's primary base is mainly comprised of supporters of Correa, who had recently engaged in a feud with Moreno over policies currently employed by the incumbent government. The main grievances have been over government plans to re-establish presidential term limits, a measure which Correa had previously scrapped. Political tensions have further escalated after Correa-backed VP Jorge Glas was implicated in a massive bribery scandal linked to the Brazilian-based firm Odebrecht.

Increasing activity recorded on the Reventador Volcano

The Geophysics Institute (IG) has reported a significant increase in the activity of the Reventador Volcano in northern Ecuador. According to reports, a significant ashfall was recorded in the early hours of Monday and mainly affected the sector of San Luis. For several months the Reventador has been recording increasing volcanic activity, which includes daily explosions and massive ash and gas clouds. If heading to the area, it is widely advisable to monitor the volcano's activity reports.

Police investigates deaths linked to tainted alcohol in Quito

Ecuador's Ministry of Public Health has confirmed that at least seven people have been killed and two others are in a serious condition after ingesting tainted alcohol in Quito. The Interior Ministry and the National Police have launched an investigation to assess the origins of the material, which was reportedly purchased in the capital's San Blas neighbourhood. Authorities advised people to be aware when consuming such substances and be certain that the purchase of alcoholic beverages is made through legitimate shops and venues.

UN to audit key oil projects linked to Petroecuador

Ecuador's Minister of Hydrocarbons Carlos Perez announced that the UN will audit five oil projects linked to the corruption-engulfed Petroecuador. Perez said that the agreement between the UN and the government-owned oil company is aimed at reviewing the financial and technical arrangements on five key contracts. Petroecuador is currently linked to major corruptions scandals in the country that already implicated a number of high-level officials, including VP Jorge Glas, who is currently detained. Among the accusations are irregularities on the influential Esmeralda Refinery and a number of bribery schemes linked to the Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht.

Co-ordinated protests at schools against child molestation

On 21 October, co-ordinated protests against child molestation will be held at schools in Guayaquil and Quito.  Civil and Human Rights organizations are demanding that comprehensive programmes be introducted to prevent child abuse, as well as a reform of the Education Act.

Earthquake of 5.1-magnitude near Esmeraldas

Authorities have reported an earthquake of 5.1-magnitude in the area of Esmeraldas.   The quake occurred at 21:39 local time. It is not known if there are any casualties.

Two prisoners escape from Bahia de Caraquez Jail

On 16 October, authorities from the Bahia de Caraquez jail reported that two inmates had escaped.  Police forces with air support began an immediate search which was unsuccessful.

Housing minister temporarily named Ecuador's new VP

President Lenin Moreno has nominated his housing minister, Maria Alejandra Vicuna, as a temporary replacement to the Ecuadorian vice-presidency office. Vicuna was nominated on Wednesday after a judge ordered the detention of the Vice-President Jorge Glas for links to a bribery scheme involving the construction company Odebrecht. Vicuna is also taking over the arrangements for the 2018 constitutional referendum, which among many topics aims to introduce tougher sentences for corruption and establish term limits for government offices.

Businessman killed during robbery attempt in Guayaquil

A 54-year-old businessman has been killed after criminals raided a restaurant in Guayaquil, south-western Ecuador. According to El Telegrafo, the incident happened on Monday evening when armed robbers stormed a fast-food restaurant in the northern neighbourhood of Urdesa Central. Previous incidents involving armed robberies at restaurants have been reported in Guayaquil, especially in the Urdesa and Samborodon areas.

Shopping centre evacuated over bomb threat in Quito

Ecuadorian authorities have issued evacuation orders to a shopping centre in northern Quito over a potential bomb threat. The incident was reported on Monday at the Unicornio shopping centre in the capital's financial district. The emergency services closed the Naciones Unidas and Amazonas Avenue, while the police anti-explosives unit searched the building. No casualties or damages were reported as the circumstances behind the bomb scare remain unclear.

Judge orders VP detention amid Odebrecht corruption probe

A judge has ordered the arrest of Vice-President Jorge Glas for his suspected involvement in a massive corruption scandal that has recently implicated high-level Latin American politicians. Glas is accused of receiving bribes from the Brazilian giant construction conglomerate Odebrecht during the previous administration led by former President Rafael Correa. In August, Glas - who was Correa's VP and retained the position in the new government of President Lenin Moreno - was stripped of his political powers after Moreno accused him of distancing himself from the administration.

Bus crash kills thirteen in Imbabura

Over a dozen people have been killed and 28 others were injured when a passenger bus crashed in Imbabura province, northern Ecuador. Preliminary reports revealed that the vehicle was heading from the capital Quito when it crashed near the village of Gonzalez Suarez, on the Otovalo-Cajas highway. Police believe that the crash was caused by speeding as the road is generally known for its good condition. Ecuador has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the region, often caused by reckless driving or badly maintained vehicles.

Thousands march nationwide to support referendum

Thousands of people marched nationwide to support the upcoming popular referendum to introduce constitutional reforms. President Lenin Moreno called on citizens,  and social and political organisations to submit their questions and concerns ahead of the referendum announcement on Monday 02 October. Demonstrators took to the streets of Quito, Guayaquil, Esmeraldas, Loja and other major cities to demand transparency in government institutions that were recently implicated in several scandals linked to the Brazilian company Odebrecht and the state-owned oil company Petroecuador.

Volcano La Cumbre erupts in the Galapagos Islands

The Risk Management Secretary has announced that the Volcano La Cumbre in the Galapagos Islands entered a new eruptive phase on Monday afternoon. According to reports, the volcano has been expelling a smoke cloud - with a relatively low level of ash - up to 4,000 metres high. A continuous lava flow is expected, but no significant chance of explosion. The La Cumbre is located in the deserted Isla Fernandina and does not currently pose any threats to nearby communities in the other surrounding islands.

State of emergency declared over floods in Tena, Napo

The Emergency Operations Committee (COE) has declared a state of emergency in Tena after several rivers burst their banks when heavy rains hit Napo province, central Ecuador. Local media reported that rains overnight on Saturday triggered the overflowing of the Tena, Pano and Misahualli rivers. Emergency services have been deployed to the area which is currently facing widespread water shortages and flooding. No casualties have been reported so far but a number of families were evacuated to temporary shelters.

Police dismantles kidnap ring in Quito

The investigation unit within the national police has dismantled a kidnap ring in Quito. According to reports, the group attacked their victims using clandestine taxis that operated across the capital. It has been reported that the taxi driver would drive several streets before picking up their accomplices and demand a ransom of up to $120. Fake taxis are common around major Ecuadorian urban centres. Official taxis usually hold orange license plates, cameras, a meter and an inscription written 'transporte seguro' - safe transport.

Police rescues eight-year-old kidnapped in Otavalo

An eight-year-old boy has been rescued after spending nearly two days in captivity in Otavalo, northern Ecuador. According to the Police's Anti-kidnapping and Extortion Unit (Unase), the victim was abducted on Saturday afternoon inside a shop. Criminals demanded a $15k ransom, which was not paid. The rescue, which was also assisted by the Rescue and Intervention Group (GIR), took place on Monday evening in a safe house in northern Otavalo. El Comercio reported that a 20-year-old suspect was arrested during the raid.

National Assembly allows court to investigate VP

Ecuador's National Assembly has unanimously authorised the Supreme Court to investigate Vice-President Jorge Glas for bribery schemes linked to the Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht. Glas has recently been stripped of his powers by President Lenin Moreno, which accused him of distancing himself from the ruling Alianza Pais movement. Ecuadorian politics was recently shaken after a number of high-level government officials and politicians - mainly from the previous administration of President Rafael Correa - were implicated in millionaire corruption scandals.

Ministry concerned over Chinese vessels off Galapagos Islands

Ecuador's Foreign Ministry raised concerns after the Navy intercepted two Chinese fishing vessels along the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Galapagos Islands. The government issued a formal complaint to the Chinese Ambassador to Ecuador, Wang Yulin, as it is believed that dozens of other Chinese-flagged vessels are surrounding areas close to the EEZ limits, which house a number of endangered marine fauna. Ecuadorian Vice Foreign Minister Rolando Suarez underlined in a meeting with Yulin that expects China to comply with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Two shot dead during violent robbery in Guayaquil

Two people have been killed when a fierce shooting broke out during a robbery attempt in Guayaquil, central Ecuador. According to the police, at least six criminals ambushed a cash-in-transit vehicle in the central area of the city on Thursday afternoon. Five people were also collaterally shot during the confrontation, which prompted the deployment of the military. 

President strips VP powers over corruption allegations

Vice-President Jorge Glas has been stripped of his powers as grievances within the ruling Alianza Pais party deepens. President Lenin Moreno issued the decision on Thursday as Glas is being accused of links to bribery schemes involving the Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht. The move came moments after Glas released a harsh statement criticising the presidency of being ineffective and for distancing itself from the Alianza Pais movement, created by former President Rafael Correa.

One killed as heavy rains trigger rockfall in Imbabura

A 43-year-old man has been killed when heavy rains triggered a landslide in Imbabura, northern Ecuador. The incident happened on Tuesday morning when the victim and his father were heading from Pimampiro to San Francisco de Sigsipamba. Heavy rains in northern Ecuador also led to the isolation of more than a dozen villages due to landslides and flooding. 

Heavy activity recorded at the Reventador Volcano, Amazonia

The Geophysics Institute (IG) is closely monitoring the activity increase of the Reventador Volcano in northern Ecuador. Reports revealed on Tuesday that the Reventador is recording sporadic explosions as the volcano remains highly active. Despite an orange alert being in place, the Reventador does not present any current risk to local communities. Authorities highly advised the regular monitoring of official sources in case of any changes in its activity.

Several killed in separate crashes in Chimborazo

At least 18 people were killed on Sunday in two separate road crashes in Chimborazo, central Ecuador. During the afternoon, a dozen people from the same family were reported dead when their vehicle crashed into a lorry in Colta. Five children were among the casualties, which happened when they were returning from a wedding in Zumbahua, Cotopaxi. Hours later, six people were killed when a burst tyre caused a car crash near Guamote. Ecuador has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the region, often caused by reckless driving or badly maintained vehicles.

Fourteen killed in bus crash near Quito

At least 14 people have been killed and 26 others were injured in a bus crash in the outskirts of Quito. The crash happened on Friday evening when a passenger bus overturned and caught fire along the Aloag-Santo Domingo highway, while en route to La Mana, central Ecuador. Ecuador has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the region, often caused by reckless driving or badly maintained vehicles.

Peru recalls ambassador to Ecuador over border row

Peru has recalled its ambassador to Ecuador due to an ongoing diplomatic row regarding the construction of a border wall along the Zarumilla River. The information was confirmed on Monday by the Peruvian Foreign Affairs Ministry. Ecuador claims that its urban redevelopment project aims to avoid increasing the risk of flooding in the bordering area; however, Peru stated that such construction would divert the river flow and increase the risk of flooding in its territory. Concerns have previously been raised over potential threats to regional integration between communities along the border. The Ecuadorian government has requested a meeting with its Peruvian counterparts in order to discuss such grievances.

Intense rainfall triggers landslides in central Ecuador

Intense downpour triggered a series of landslides across central Ecuador on Wednesday. No casualties have been reported so far, while multiple roads were blocked with dense vegetation in Tungurahua province. Emergency services advised people to avoid risk areas near river banks and unstable cliffs due to the increasing risks of flooding and landslides.

President grants pardon to convicted indigenous leader

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) announced on Thursday that indigenous leader Patricio Meza was granted a presidential pardon. Meza was arrested in early-June after being sentenced to six months in prison for taking part in a protest back in 2015. This is the first presidential pardon Moreno granted since taking office. The government and CONAIE are currently holding talks aimed to grant amnesty or to pardon 196 other cases until the end of the month.

Wildfire breaks out in Cerro Atacazo, Mejia

Dozens of firefighters took more than eight hours to extinguish a wildfire on Cerro Atacazo in Mejia, near the capital Quito. The fire that broke out on Wednesday morning marked the Ecuadorian dry season when wildfires become more frequent across the country - mainly during July and August. Preventive mechanisms were already announced by emergency services that identified more than 160 risk areas around Quito district.

Border wall triggers diplomatic tensions with Peru

Diplomatic tensions erupted regarding the construction of an 800-meter-long wall along the Peruvian border as part of an urban development project in El Oro, south-western Ecuador. Peru's foreign ministry demanded the immediate suspension of the construction, claiming that the four-metre-high wall will 'hinder border integration' between both nations. The project is part of the development of the 25-square-kilometre Parque Lineal de Huaquillas. 

Taxi drivers to protest against Uber in Guayaquil

Taxi drivers in Guayaquil, southern Ecuador, are set to launch a strike action on Tuesday against operations of app-based transport services such as Uber and Cabify. The demonstration was called by the Taxi drivers Federation in Guayas that claim both services to run illegally in the country. The union, that represents more than 12,000 drivers, announced that protesters will head to the local government building from several points across the city.

Warning over increasing activity of Reventador Volcano

The Geophysics Institute (IG) announced the increasing activity on the Reventador Volcano, located between Sucumbios and Napo, in northern Ecuador. Authorities are closely monitoring risks regarding a potential eruption, despite historically the Reventador does not possess an extensive eruption record.

President Lenin Moreno takes office

Ecuador's new socialist president, Lenin Moreno, was sworn in during a ceremony in Quito on Wednesday.  "I am the president for all of you. I owe you all a great debt and respect you all," said during his inaugural speech.  He promised increased subsidies for the poor and announced a job creation scheme based on social housing.  "I will work for absolutely no-one to be left behind."

Landslides isolate communities in central Ecuador

Chunchi and San Francisco communities in central Ecuador remain isolated due to landslides on Wednesday. Chunchi residents are still evacuated to temporary shelters due to previous incidents reported in the area. Emergency services are working on the road to unblock the Panamerican Sur highway which remains closed. Authorities revealed that the risk of further landslides in the area is still active due to potential erosion caused by heavy rains.

Thousands without water access due to landslide in Cuenca

Thousands of people have been affected as landslides damaged the main water pipeline in Cuenca, southern Ecuador. Local authorities revealed that the incident happened due to erosion triggered by heavy rains in the Racar sector. Over 15,000 people are without water access as emergency services are working to fix the structure.

Lenin Moreno confirmed as election winner after recount

The ruling Alianza Pais's candidate, Lenin Moreno, was confirmed by the National Electoral Council (CNE) as the presidential elections winner. Moreno, who had previously been declared the winner, agreed to a vote recount after his opposition, Guillermo Lasso, claimed irregularities. Nearly 10 percent of the votes were allowed to be recounted by the CNE. Moreno is scheduled to be sworn into office on Wednesday 24 May.

Quito flights suspended due to maintenance works

Quito's International Airport announced that its operations will be suspended on Sunday due to scheduled maintenance works. Disruptions will also take place on 23 April and the second and third Sundays of May - 14 and 21 May. It is advised to consult respective airlines over potential cancellations and delays during these dates.

Hundreds affected as heavy rains trigger flooding in Cuenca

Over a thousand families were affected by the heavy downpour over the weekend in Ecuador's southern city of Cuenca. Residents of villages located along the Portoviejo river were forced to preventively evacuate due to potential overflowing. One man was killed when a massive mudslide hit the Panamerican road in Ucubamba. Several areas in Ecuador remain on alert as heavy downpours are expected throughout the next few days.

Emergency declared over heavy rains along Pacific coast

A state of emergency has been declared over severe weather along the Ecuadorian Pacific Coast. The provinces of Esmeraldas, Guayas, Manabi and Santa Elena remain on alert due to floods and landslides triggered by incessant rains. It is recommended to monitor local news and alerts issued by the Ministry of Risk Management before travelling to risk areas.

President blames US-based hacking on electoral website

President Rafael Correa revealed on Thursday that the National Electoral Council (CNE) web page was temporarily suspended due to an alleged cyber attack. Correa announced through his Twitter that the attack was traced back to the US, blaming right-wing supporters of jeopardising Ecuador's presidential elections. The claims come as the opposition insisted the elections were undermined by fraud following Alianza Pais's Lenin Moreno winning.

Ruling party election winner demands vote recount

Amid a wave of protests since the presidential elections on Sunday, the candidate for the ruling Alianza Pais party and the winner of the election, Lenin Moreno, called for a vote recount. The move was previously demanded by the opposition CREO's movement Guillermo Lasso, who garnered 48.86 percent of the votes. Lasso accused Moreno of electoral fraud while CREO's supporters are taking to the streets of Quito and Guayaquil to demand a vote recount.

Protests continue as Lenin Moreno wins run-off

Following the victory of the left-wing candidate for the ruling Alianza Pais party, Lenin Moreno, protests erupted on the streets near the National Electoral Commission (CNE) in Quito. More than 2,000 demonstrators - supporters of CREO's Guillermo Lasso - stormed the streets against the results. The result remains highly contested by Lasso - who called the results the 'instauration of an illegitimate government'. Protests are likely to continue sporadically until the presidential inauguration on 24 May.

Lenin Moreno elected Ecuador's new president

Alianza Pais's Lenin Moreno Garces has been elected as the country's new president. Official results have revealed that Moreno won the runoff after gathering 51.1 percent of the votes against the CREO movement's Guillermo Lasso. With nearly one percent of the votes left to be counted, Moreno has claimed victory to continue the left-wing policies preceded by President Rafael Correa. Lasso has demanded a recount amid claims of fraud; however, international observers revealed no irregularities.

Military seizes 1.5 tonnes of explosives in Sucumbios

The Ecuadorian military found nearly 1.5 tonnes of explosives during a patrol operation along the Colombian border. The explosives were found on Thursday near the Lago Agrio area in the Sucumbios province. Sources revealed that the devices were left abandoned by unknown individuals after noticing military presence in the area. 

Protests erupt as elections results are revealed

Protests erupted nationwide as the presidential elections' results were being revealed on Sunday evening. Preliminary results gave the victory to Alianza Pais's Lenin Moreno with 51.11 percent of the votes, while CREO Movement's Guillermo Lasso garnered 48.89 percent. Lasso refused to accept the results and demanded a vote recount due to fraud claims, calling for supporters to flock to the streets nationwide. With nearly four percent of the votes to be counted - and no official winner announced - international bodies denied any potential irregularities. 

Ecuadorians head to polls on presidential election run-off

Ecuadorians are heading to the polls to cast their votes in the presidential election run-off on Sunday. Lenin Moreno of Alianza Pais  - the ruling party of President Rafael Correa - gathered nearly 40 percent of the votes during the first round, while CREO Movement's Guillermo Lasso garnered 28 percent. According to recent forecasts, the elections are expected to be highly disputed as most opposition parties are likely to declare their support for Lasso's campaign.

Presidential candidate attacked at football match in Quito

Ecuador's presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso was targeted by fierce opponents when leaving a football match in Quito. Lasso and his family went to the Ecuador-Colombia match at the Atahualpa Olympic Stadium, where they needed to be secured and escorted out of the venue. Lasso and Lenin Moreno - candidate for the ruling PAIS Alliance - are scheduled to run for a second round on Sunday.

Families evacuated in Quito over floods

At least 35 families have been evacuated from Ecuador's capital, Quito, due to severe weather.  "We have provided about $30,000 in food, humanitarian kits, uniforms, school supplies to evacuated families that meet the socio-economic conditions," Mauricio Rodas said in a statement.  The announcement came after a state of emergency was declared in the region.

Bus crashes due to bridge collapse in Cotopaxi

One person has been killed and two others have been injured when a bus crashed due to a bridge collapse in Cotopaxi, central Ecuador. The incident happened in the early hours of Sunday morning in the Guangocalle sector. Locals said that at least seven passengers were in the vehicle. The cause of the bridge collapse is still being assessed; however, the collapse is believed to have been caused by the recent rains in the region.

Hundreds affected as heavy rains trigger flooding in El Oro

Heavy rains and thunderstorms have triggered widespread flooding in El Oro province, south-western Ecuador. The situation was triggered by the overflowing of the Carne Amarga river in Santa Rosa and the El Macho canal in Machala. More than 90 families were rescued by emergency services, while 15 others were evacuated from six different sectors. Rainy season in Ecuador's highlands usually lasts until April.

Mayor declares state of emergency over downpour in Quito

A state of emergency was declared on Thursday in Quito as heavy rains and severe weather hit Ecuador's capital. Mayor Mauricio Rodas said that the measure includes the entire Quito Metropolitan District and has been taken in response to the recent flooding and landslides, caused by heavy downpours in the capital. Addition emergency services and personnel will remain available for several days.

Three killed in heavy rains across Amazon and central regions

At least three people have been killed and more than 280 families were affected by heavy rains over the weekend in Ecuador's central and Amazon regions. The most affected regions were Cotopaxi and Pastaza, where hundreds were evacuated to temporary shelters. A state of emergency has been declared in several districts, while rains are likely to continue. It is advised to be aware of potential landslides and flooding near mountainous and fluvial areas.

State of emergency renewed in Esmeraldas and Manabi

President Rafael Correa renewed the state of emergency for an additional 30 days in Esmeraldas and Manabi provinces, north-western Ecuador. The executive order comes amid ongoing efforts to prevent and recover from the deadly earthquake and its successive aftershocks - which killed more than 600 people and affected thousands one year ago.

A dozen lost teenagers rescued in Quito's Ungui Hill

A dozen teenagers were rescued by Ecuadorian authorities after getting lost on a trail in south-western Quito. The group got trapped on the way down from the Ungui Hill when emergency services were alerted on Tuesday. Ungui Hill is a popular bike and walking trail on the outskirts of the capital.

Hundreds protest opposition presidential candidate in Quito

Hundreds of demonstrators marched on Thursday across the streets of Quito to protest against presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso. Demonstrators gathered in front of the Guayaquil Bank headquarters - where Lasso used to be the major shareholder. Lasso came in second place in Sunday's elections with 28 percent of the votes against government-backed Lenin Moreno, who had 39 percent. Both are set for a runoff on Thursday 02 April.

Presidential elections go to second round

The National Electoral Commission (CNE) confirmed on Wednesday that the presidential elections will be decided in a second round. The PAIS-Alliance's candidate Lenin Moreno garnered 39.3 percent of the votes, while the main opposition posed by Guillermo Lasso gathered 28.1 percent. The second round of voting is scheduled to take place on Sunday 02 April.

Five killed in mudslides in Guayas

Five people have been killed after non-stop rains triggered mudslides in Guayas, western Ecuador. The incident was reported in the Bucay area, where another mudslide took place near the city's market. Emergency services headed to the scene for rescue, where two others were trapped. Emergency services recently raised a rain alert in western Ecuador in Santa Elena, Manabi and Esmeraldas.

Opposition pressure electoral commission over results delay

As Ecuadorian Presidential elections votes are being counted, tensions are likely to increase as the National Electoral Council (CNE) will announce final results up until Thursday. Opposition supporters are blaming the CNE for inconsistent delays, as results are often published on the same day of the elections. The dispute remains as the last five percent of the votes may dictate if a second round will take place. Currently, government-backed Luis Moreno remains in the lead with nearly 40 percent of the votes, while the opposition's Guillermo Lasso gathered over 28 percent.

Ecuadorians head to polls to elect new president

Ecuadorians are set to head to polls on Sunday to vote in the country's parliamentary and presidential elections. Lenin Moreno of the ruling socialist PAIS Alliance is a front-runner to replace President Rafael Correa. Further, 137 politicians will be elected to fill the seats in the country's national assembly, as PAIS aims to maintain the long-time wide majority. Ecuador recently faced a severe political crisis over corruption in the state-owned Petroecuador and the alleged involvement of senior politicians in the Latin America scandal linked to the Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht.

Journalist and politician receive bombs through mail in Quito

Three unexploded explosive packages were recovered by the Ecuadorian police in less than 48 hours. On Wednesday, the president of the National Assembly, Gabriela Rivadeneira, received a package containing a small explosive device inside a CD case, one day after a journalist received a similar delivery. Authorities also recovered an identical parcel in the Post Office headquarters, which was subsequently evacuated. Authorities are investigating if the devices were sent by the same person, while the government disregarded the possibility of any link with the upcoming general elections scheduled to take place on Sunday 19 February.

Emergency declared as heavy rains hit Manabi province

Five areas across Manabi province, north-western Ecuador, remain in a state of emergency due to heavy rains. Widespread flooding was reported across the region due to the overflowing of local rivers. Also, electoral authorities have launched a contingency plan to affected areas ahead of the elections - which are due to take place on Sunday 19 February. Western Ecuador has been heavily affected by the unstable weather hitting most of its Pacific coast.

Dozens evacuated due to flooding in Manta and Chone

Dozens of families have been evacuated from the towns of Manta and Chone in western Ecuador due to flooding. Several rural areas of Manabi province were affected by nearly 12-hours of heavy rain on Wednesday, triggering the overflow of the Manta river. Emergency services were deployed to the area in case of further incidents. The Meteorological and Hydrology National Institute (Inamhi) reported that further rain and lightning storms are likely to affect Manabi, Los Rios, Santa Elena and Guayas. 

Heavy downpour to hit western Ecuadorian coast

Severe weather continues to lash the western Ecuador as heavy rains are causing widespread destruction along coastal areas. A state of emergency has been declared in Montecristi after 156 houses were completely destroyed by flooding. The Meteorological and Hydrology National Institute (Inamhi) reported that heavy downpour and lightning storms are likely to affect Manabi, Los Rios, Santa Elena and Guayas. 

Downpours trigger disruptions in western Ecuador

Heavy rains and strong winds have caused widespread disruptions across Ecuador's western coast. From Esmeraldas southwards to El Oro, several villages were isolated due to the overflowing of local rivers overnight on Wednesday. In Santa Rosa, El Oro province, several families had to be evacuated, while a vast area of plantation was destroyed by the flooding. The National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (Inamhi) predicts further downpour and strong winds during February, especially along the Pacific coastal area.

State of exception in Morona Santiago extended to mid-February

The British Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) has revealed that the state of exception on Ecuador's Amazon province of Morona Santiago has been extended until mid-February. The emergency was declared in light of violent protests across the province regarding mining activities. Between late-November and mid-December, a police officer has been killed and seven others have been injured. The kidnapping of Ecuadorian soldiers by the indigenous Shuar tribe also took place in the same area over claims that mining contracts are being held on native soil.

Fake taxi kidnapping group dismantled in central Ecuador

A kidnapping group has been dismantled following an extensive two-month-long investigation in Guayaquil and Naranjito, central Ecuador. According to the authorities three people were arrested in connection to a kidnapping ring intended to extort and sexually abuse their victims. Reports revealed that the group used fake taxis near commercial centres and dumped their targets in isolated areas of the city after robbing and, in some cases, violating them. Fake taxis are common around major Ecuadorian urban centres. Official taxis usually hold orange license plates, cameras, a meter and an inscription written 'transporte seguro' - safe transport.

Low intensity earthquake hits Guayaquil

Ecuador's Geophysical Institute recorded on Sunday evening a 4.2-magnitude earthquake off the Guayas province coast, western Ecuador. Despite no casualties or significant infrastructural damage, the quake was mainly felt in Guayaquil. The Navy's Oceanography Institute stated that the conditions for a tsunami were not met.  

Ecuadorian soldiers released by indigenous tribe in the Amazon

Two Ecuadorian soldiers held by a Shuar tribe in the Amazon were released on Saturday. The release was announced by the country's minister of defence, who said that such actions will not remain in impunity and that "freedom and dignity of people are not negotiable and in Ecuador no one is above the law". Both soldiers had been held in the Morona Santiago province since late-January. The conflict between Amazon tribes and the government regards the mining exploration contracts based on indigenous lands.

Authorities concerned over violence surge along southern coast

Authorities have raised concerns over the recent wave of homicides in the country's south-western coast. The alert comes as five crimes were reported in less than 30 hours in three separate provinces. In Milagro, Guayas province, a 70-year-old woman was tortured and killed amid a house burglary. A double homicide was reported as two men of the same family were killed near their home in Velasco Ibarra, Santa Elena province. In Manta, Manabi province, a 33-year-old man was shot dead after leaving his son at school. Authorities believe that most incidents are likely to be connected to armed robberies.

Communities isolated as flooding hit El Oro province

A heavy downpour reported overnight on Wednesday has triggered widespread destruction in the El Oro province, southern Ecuador. Heavy rains have led to the overflowing of the Buenavista river which has destroyed the main bridge between Pasaje and Palenque. Several rural areas were flooded as families were forced to be evacuated. Ecuadorian news El Universo estimates that 500 people were affected by the rain as several communities remain isolated.

Man shot dead in his vehicle in Manabi province

The national police are investigating the death of a man in Manta, Manabi province, western Ecuador. The authorities have revealed that the victim was shot four times inside his vehicle on Wednesday morning. No further information has yet been revealed as investigations are ongoing. The authorities told El Telegrafo that this is the fifth violent crime reported in the area since the start of 2017.

Government demands release of soldiers held by native tribe in Amazon

Ecuador's ministry of defence has demanded the immediate release of two soldiers held by a native tribe in the country's Amazon area. The two soldiers were kidnapped on Saturday by members of the Shuar tribe in the Yunkupais community. The incident happened as they were taken during an operation to rescue two other soldiers previously held early in the week. The government said that the action violates the state of exception instituted in the area in late December, when 11 Ecuadorian soldiers were also kidnapped by a community in Sarayacu.

Scores injured as two passenger buses crash in Los Ríos

At least 16 people have been injured after two passenger buses crashed in Los Ríos, central Ecuador. Ecuador's Risk Management Secretariat (SGR) said that both vehicles caught on fire after the collision. The accident happened on Monday afternoon on the road between Ventanas and Quevedo near Mocache. According to El Telegrafo, both drivers fled the scene. Ecuador has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the region, often caused by reckless driving or badly maintained vehicles.

Scores killed in road accident in Guayas province

A road accident between a passenger bus, a pick-up truck and a school vehicle has led to the death of 19 people in Guayas province, south-western Ecuador. The crash, which also injured 17 others, took place on the road between Yaguachi and Milagro. Emergency services have not confirmed allegations that children were on the school vehicle, as it was out of service. Ecuador has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the region, often caused by reckless driving or badly maintained vehicles.

Residents of Quito neighbourhood protest against cable car project

Hundreds of people have protested at the Mayor's office in Quito against the project Quito Cables - a cable car line planned to connect to the north-western area of the city. Residents of the affected neighbourhoods claim that their houses will have to be expropriated to build the structures and await negotiations with the government. Also, the protesters demanded the city's Mayor Mauricio Rodas - who is in Washington amid corruption investigations - to step down from office following a corruption scandal involving a prominent lawyer.

Students and staff march in Quito against higher education reforms

Students and staff members of the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar (UASB) and other Ecuadorian higher education institutions gathered on Wednesday morning in Quito's city centre to march towards the Constitutional Court. The movement comes against the reforms on higher education legislation that was approved in late-December. Students and academics claim that the reforms will hinder the institution's autonomy and the financing on investigation projects. 

Esmeraldas province shaken by 5.2-magnitude earthquake

A 5.2-magnitude earthquake has been recorded in the Esmeraldas province, north-eastern Ecuador. According to the Geophysics Institute, the earthquake occurred on Tuesday evening, with the epicentre in Muisne at a depth of 3.23 km. The same source confirmed that the shock was lightly felt in the capital Quito, Guayaquil and Santo Domingo. No casualties or major damages were so far reported. Esmeraldas has been hit on a daily basis by aftershocks from the April 2016 earthquake. Such incidents are often low-intensity phenomenons and usually do not reach the requirements to trigger a tsunami.

Presidential race starts amid corruption scandals

The electoral presidential campaign to replace Rafael Correa has started amid corruption scandals. Lenín Moreno, appointed by Correa, remains leader on the latest polls ahead of the election on 19 February. The presidential race comes amid engulfing corruption scandals involving prominent businessmen and senior members of the government - cases involving money-laundering on the state-owner Petroecuador and bribery allegations connected to the Brazilian giant Odebrecht. Despite a mild economic crisis, the next president is set to carry on with further cuts to social programmes due to the staggering prices of oil.

Heavy rain triggers widespread destruction in Pastaza

A widespread destruction has been caused by heavy rains in Pastaza, eastern Ecuador. The incident took place on 29 December, however the government's Risk Management Secretariat (SGR) headed to the area on Thursday to assess the damage caused by the storm. Roads were destroyed and multiple sectors in the areas of Shell and Puyo were highly affected. Other areas in the capital Quito were also widely hit by the heavy downpour on Thursday, such was also the case in Argelia Alta, where a landslide blocked several roads. The rainy season in Ecuador usually lasts from December to May.

Three people found burned to death on road in Sancán

Three unknown people have been found dead on an isolated road in Sancán, western Ecuador. The authorities are investigating the incident where the three victims were found burned to death inside a car, on a road near the Santa Rosa de Jipijapa sector. Local residents told El Telégrafo that the area is very peaceful and such violence rarely occurs. 

Indigenous protesters march against the government in Latacunga

Thousands of protesters from the Indigenous and Peasants Movement of Cotopaxi (MICC) stormed the streets of Latacunga, central Ecuador, to protest against the government. Several indigenous groups and commissions declared that a wave of demonstrations are set to be launched in southern Ecuador over the government's social measures in indigenous communities, such as the deficient water distribution system and the high prices on goods. The main concern regards the unfair prices paid by the government on agricultural goods. 

Ecuadorian soldiers held hostage by indigenous group in Pastaza

A local indigenous government has announced that 11 Ecuadorian soldiers have been held hostage in the province of Pastaza, eastern Ecuador. The soldiers were abducted when travelling across the indigenous area of Sarayaku on Monday. According to the local leader, the soldiers were captured as the Sarayaku tribe was celebrating its general assembly. He stated that: "We don't know what is the army's intention in our territory. (...) The presence of military personnel in the area is unusual - during the general assembly." The action came amid demands of respect for indigenous rights and population, where the tribes accuse the military of consequent repression.

Heavy rain and lightning trigger flooding across Quito

The streets of Quito have been flooded after heavy downpour hit the city on Sunday afternoon. According to the Emergency Operations Centre (COE) the area of Villaflora was widely affected along with the Chiriyacu sector. Emergency services have also revealed that there had been multiple reports of intense lightning across the city, especially in the area of Los Chillos. Ecuador experiences heavy rains from December to May, however the climate may vary due to the altitude and location.

Strong aftershocks reported off Esmeraldas coast

Strong aftershocks have been reported off the north-western Ecuadorian coast in the early hours of Monday. The Geophysical Institute (IG) reported that a 5.8-magnitude earthquake rocked the province of Esmeraldas. Ecuador's President Rafael Correa announced through social media that five quakes were reported in total, leading to power cuts and suspended school classes across the province. Esmeraldas has been hit on a daily basis by aftershocks from the April 2016 earthquake. Such incidents are often low-intensity phenomenons and usually do not reach the requirements to trigger a tsunami.

Police officer killed in mine attack in central Ecuador

A police officer has been killed and several other people wounded in an attack on a mine in the Morona Santiago province.  President Rafael Correa has condemned the attack on the San Carlos Panantza mine and has called for a state of emergency to be called in the province.  Last month seven police officers were wounded in another attack at the site.

Low intensity earthquake hits Esmeraldas province

On 12 December, a 5.0-magnitude earthquake was reported off the north-western coast of Ecuador. The quake was recorded nearly 15 km off Atacames, in Esmeraldas province. The Navy's Oceanographic Institute (Inocar) revealed that the phenomenon did not combine all the necessary conditions for a potential tsunami. Since April, when a 7.8-magnitude quake killed over 670 people in the country, hundreds of replicas have been reported along the Ecuadorian coast.

President Rafael Correa demands cabinet reshuffle

On 29 November, the Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa, issued an official statement demanding the resignation of all his ministers. The reasons and motives for the decision were not disclosed, and it remains uncertain if some of the current ministers will continue to hold office. This is not the first time Correa has ordered his cabinet to resign. The move comes amid the ongoing investigations into the Petroecuador scandal - a corruption scheme revealed after the release of documents in the Panama Papers case - which recently involved Correa's vice-president, Jorge Glas and several of his high-level ministers.

Criminality increase reported ahead Christmas holidays in Guayaquil

The Ecuadorian police confirmed that cases of armed robberies usually suffer a significant increase during the Christmas season in Guayaquil, south-western Ecuador. The local chief of police urged the population to avoid flashing money and to be vigilant when attending bank branches, especially after withdrawing large sums of money. Assailants tend to follow their victims and attack them when they are most vulnerable or at isolated places. Recently, a five-person gang, known to operate outside bank branches or ATM machines in shopping centres, was dismantled by the police in Guayaquil.

Lack of rain triggers wildfires across central Ecuador

The recent lack of rain in central Ecuador triggered a widespread wildfire in several provinces of the Sierra region. The most affected areas are Azuay and Cañar, where a considerable amount of land was consumed by the flames. Members of dozens of government agencies joined forces to extinguish the fire; however it still remains active in Cañar and Ducur. The dry weather is threatening the water availability in the region of Cuenca and destroying crops in at least six rural areas. According to NASA, one of the main reasons of wildfires in Ecuador is the occasional activity of the country's two main volcanos, the Sangay and Reventador.

Seven police officers wounded in clashes in Amazon mine

The Ecuadorian Interior Minister, Diego Fuentes, announced that at least seven police officers were injured in clashes with natives in the Amazon area of Morona Santiago. The incident happened after armed natives stormed the camp of the Chinese-based ExplorCobres mining company. Indigenous leaders claim that the land on which the company is exploring belongs to the indigenous population, and was forcefully taken from them by the army. ExplorCobres has a 25-year exploration contract with the government over a 41,800 hectares area.

Former directors arrested during Petroecuador investigations

Several people have been arrested amid investigations over a corruption scandal involving the state-owned oil company Petroecuador. A simultaneous police operation carried out in Quito and Esmeraldas led to the seizure of nearly US$ 600,000 in a house belonging to one of the accused. The residence that belong to Marco Calvopiña, a key director of the company, was raided overnight on 11 November in the Kennedy neighbourhood. Besides the large sum of money, several electronic devices were seized, while over US$ 300,000 was found in the house of Diego Tapia, former Petroecuador director. Overall, 22 people are suspect of involvement in the corruption scheme involving the oil company.

Cash-in transit vehicle attacked by robbers in Guayaquil

On 8 November, one person was wounded during an attack to a cash-in transit vehicle in Guayaquil, western Ecuador. The incident took place at the City Mall, located on the northern part of the city. According to the manager of the commercial centre, several criminals posing as employees approached the vehicle and surrounded the guards at the mall's parking centre. Reports reveal that at least 10 shots were fired during the robbery attempt. The assailants fled the scene in a pick-up truck which was later found abandoned.

Man shot dead during robbery intervention in Guayaquil

A 50-year-old man has been shot dead after intervening in a robbery in Guayaquil, western Ecuador. Eyewitnesses state that the man went onto the street with a knife in order to defend a couple being robbed near the road between Las Orquídeas and Mucho Lote 1, in the city's northern area. The assailants were reportedly riding a motorcycle and were accompanied by another vehicle. The victim, Don Walter, was shot several times and taken to the local hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds. Walter managed to wound one of the robbers, who was held by locals until the police arrived on the scene.

Austrian hostage released after eight days in captivity

A 56-year-old Austrian national has been released after being kidnapped in the border town of Sucumbios, western Ecuador. According to the victim's wife, he was taken after a man approached their house asking for help in the Gonzalo Pizzaro area in the Amazonas. Three people got to their house as Petra and her friend hid inside the house. The assailants fled the scene on the family's car and demanded a ransom of $350,000. Johannes was rescued in a cave after eight days in captivity, where the anti-kidnapping unit of the police arrested one Ecuadorian and another Colombian man.

Multiple tremors reported off Manabi coast

The Ecuadorian Geophysics Institute (GS) stated that at least eight aftershocks took place off the Ecuadorian coast between 18:00 local time on 26 October and 06:00 on 27 October. The strongest quake reached a 4.5 magnitude near Jaramijó, in western Manabi province. However, no damage or casualties were reported. The 16 April earthquake resulted in the deaths of more than 270 people and injured thousands of others across Manabi and other surrounding provinces.

All operations will be suspended in Cuenca airport until 19 September, 2016

Cuenca airport has been closed since mid-August due to ongoing work on the runways, and will remain closed until 19 September, 2016. The maximum cash limit that can be taken out of the country has been reduced from US$10,000 to US$1,093. People leaving the country may be asked to declare the amount of cash they are carrying when they leave the country.

Canadian farmer assassinated on cocoa plantation

A Canadian farmer who settled in Ecuador has been shot dead in a region located 200km from the capital, Quito. The family of Yvan Dionne, a cocoa and coffee farmer, announced on Tuesday that he was assassinated over the weekend. The Canadian embassy stated that the necessary consular support is being provided to the family and did not disclose more details of the incident. Dionne was a former humanitarian aid worker in Africa and South America, and had been living in Ecuador for over two decades.

One dead in latest Ecuador earthquake

Two powerful tremors struck Ecuador on Wednesday, killing at least one person and wounding several others. Both magnitude-6.7 quakes struck the country's north-western Manabi province. The earthquakes hit one month after a 7.8-magnitude quake killed over 660 people and displaced nearly 30,000 others.

Dozens killed by H1N1 flu since April

Ecuador's Ministry of Health, Margarida Guevara, announced on Wednesday that since April at least 39 people have killed by the Influenza A virus, H1N1. The statement also highlighted that over 230 people have been infected, mainly in the country's southern provinces. Guevara added that the government has been fiercely battling to prevent  the virus from spreading by providing vaccination and fumigation of houses and shelters. The virus was first discovered in the country in 2009, when over 2,000 cases were confirmed and at least 120 people died.

Floods kill four in central Ecuador

At least four people have been killed in flooding and three others are missing after heavy rain caused flash flooding and landslides in central Ecuador.  The deaths were all reported in the town of Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, around 60km from the capital Quito, after the nearby river burst its banks.  In the neighbouring town of Alluriquin several houses were destroyed by landslides and more than 500 people had to be evacuated.  President Rafael Correa visited the area to observe the damage, which comes less than two weeks after the country was devastated by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake.

Ecuador hit by another powerful earthquake

A powerful 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck off Ecuador's Pacific coast on Thursday, less than a week after a 7.8 quake killed almost 600 people.  The latest quake hit 33km north-west of Bahia de Caraquez at a depth of 10km.  Ecuador's security minister, Cesar Navas, said there was no threat of a tsunami, while president Rafael Correa called on the country to "have strength".

6.2-magnitude earthquake hits off Pacific coast

After Saturday's 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador, another earthquake of 6.2 strength struck off the country's Pacific coast on Wednesday. According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, the epicentre was about 70km from the town of Esmeraldas and at a depth of 10km. The latest quake caused no new damage and no tsunami warnings were reported, although the aftershocks caused panic in the affected areas. Saturday's quake killed more than 500 people and injured over 4,500 others, causing billions of dollars in damage across the country.

Powerful earthquake kills hundreds in Ecuador

At least 580 people have been killed and more than 8,000 others wounded after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador.  The quake struck 27km off Muisne on Ecuador's Pacific coast on Saturday evening. Thousands of troops and police have been deployed to help with the rescue effort, while President Rafael Correa has declared a state of emergency.  "Everything can be rebuilt, but lives cannot be recovered, and that's what hurts the most," he said.

FARC leader captured in Sucumbios

A Colombian accused of leading the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was arrested in Ecuador on Wednesday. Pablo Emilio Auseno Burgos, "Pate Bamba", suspected of coordinating the logistics of the organization, was captured in the north-western province of Sucumbíos by the Ecuadorian authorities. Auseno Burgos has been handed over to the Colombian security forces to await prosecution.

Constitutional amendment sparks protests in Quito

Protests clashed with police in Ecuador's capital, Quito, on Thursday after the National Assembly voted to pass a constitutional amendment abolishing presidential term limits.  The protesters claim that President Rafael Correa is tightening his grip on power, with opposition congressman Luis Fernando Torres calling the vote "constitutional fraud".  The amendment also reclassified communications as a public service, places the military in charge of domestic security and removes collective bargaining for public employees.

State of emergency declared over volcano

Ecuador President Rafael Correa has declared a state of emergency over increasing activity at the Cotopaxi volcano near the capital, Quito. The declaration gives authorities more flexibility in using government funds to address the situation. Officials evacuated several hundred people from nearby villages after the volcano began to erupt on Friday. Cotopaxi is one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes and is prone to fast-moving rock and mud flows. Authorities have restricted access to the park surrounding the volcano and barred mountaineers from climbing the peak.

Seven police officers injured in Strike against President Correa

On August 13, at least seven police officers were injured in Azuay and Cotopaxi after a protest against President Rafael Correa turned violent. The strike mobilised indigenous activists, unionists and workers who blocked major roads and highways. As police attempted to remove them, protesters began attacking them with rocks, wounding several officers. 

Pro and anti-government supporters clash at Quito rally

Government and opposition supporters have clashed during a rally in Ecuador's capital, Quito.  Both groups of demonstrators had to be separated by a police barrier on Shyris Avenue during the confrontation on Wednesday evening.  Former Culture Minister Paco Velasco was wounded after he was hit by a missile thrown by opposition protesters.

Strong earthquake hits south-eastern Ecuador

A 5.8-magnitude earthquake has hit south-eastern Ecuador, causing panic but no reported injuries or fatalities. Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute said the earthquake occurred at 06:20 local time (11:20 GMT) in Guayaquil, Guayas Province, at a depth of 71 kilometers (44 miles).

Thousands join anti-government protest in Ecuador

Thousands of people have joined an anti-government protest in the capital, Quito, as well as other cities in Ecuador.  The protesters are angry at President Rafael Correa's planned labour reforms and constitutional amendments.  Last month the constitutional court gave parliament the green light to set new term limits which would allow Mr Correa to extend his rule beyond his second term, which under existing rules was due to be his last in office.

Increased activity reported at Tungurahua volcano

Seismologists in Ecuador have reported increased activity at the Tungurahua volcano, with around 40 explosions recorded on Monday.  The volcano, located 135km south-east of the capital Quito, has been dormant since 1999 but has been erupting since February.  There are currently no plans to evacuate local residents from the area despite warnings from scientists that a sudden increase in the intensity of the eruptions is possible.

Two killed in Quito earthquake

At least two people have been killed and several others wounded after a 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck the capital, Quito, on Tuesday.  One death was reported at a quarry where the tremor caused a landslide, while a young boy was killed when sacks of rice fell on top of him in another part of the city.  The city's main airport temporarily suspended all flights as a precaution but has since re-opened.

Soldier killed in clashes with Colombian rebels

An Ecuadorian army officer has been killed in clashes with Colombian rebels near the two country's shared border.  Five rebels fighters also died during the fighting, which according to local media erupted when the militants mistook the troops for a Colombian army patrol.

Ecuador Data Sheet

15.2 million
Major Religion/s:
International dialing code:
International dialing prefix:
Emergency services:
Police 101, Medical 911, Fire 102
Varies from tropical on the coast to sub-tropical in the interior
Ohter Major Cities:
Guayaquil, Cuenca
Colombia, Peru