Southern Exposure

Desde as Entranhas dos Labirintos Latinos.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Ecuador News Round-Up

Here's the news from Ecuador this week:

President Gutierrez: The Next Goni?
Ecuadorian President Lucio Gutierrez has found himself embroiled in a scandal that could cost him his job.

Gutierrez is accused of accepting a $30,000 campaign contribution from Cesar Fernandez, a suspected drug trafficker. Congress is investigating, and Gutierrez has said (though he later changed his mind) that he'll resign if the charges are substantiated.

With indigenous groups already angry at Lucio--they say they helped him get elected and now he's turned his back on them--this new crisis could undermine his authority irreparably. Indian groups had already begun planning protests to begin as early as next month beore news of the scandal broke.

Could Lucio be the next Goni? We shall see. (For more analysis and links regarding the developing situation, see my blog.)

Melting Glaciers
In other troubling news, this Reuters story says the "world's glaciers could melt within a century if global warming accelerates, leaving billions of people short of water and some islanders without a home..." And in addition to China and India, the "nations most at risk also included Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, where melt water from Andean glaciers supplies millions during dry seasons." Yikes.

Child Labor
Finally, in FTAA news, this Reuters dispatch says "Ecuador will take steps to regulate child labor on its banana plantations and farms as it moves toward a free trade deal with the United States..."

That's it for now. I'm signing off from Cuenca.


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