How will Ecuador’s elections affect the future of the Amazon? (Al Jazeera)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Environmentalists and Indigenous communities in Ecuador are concerned about the fate of the Amazon rainforest ahead of Sunday’s presidential elections, as the two leading candidates’ environmental plans received moderate to poor rankings from advocates. Illegal logging, oil spills and large-scale mining projects have threatened both the rainforest, often called the lungs of …

Ecuador to vote amid economic crisis and widespread discontent (Al Jazeera)

QUITO, ECUADOR – Ecuadorians will head to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president amid widespread discontent over the country’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, an economic crisis worsened by COVID-19, and several corruption scandals. Sixteen presidential candidates will be on the ballot, though most have polled under two percent support and are …

Colombian refugees in Ecuador trapped in loops of poverty and insecurity (The New Humanitarian)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Claudia’s* life changed the day she saw a paramilitary group kill a man in her hometown of Buenaventura, one of the most violent places in Colombia.  Not only did she see the killers. Worse, they saw her. They threatened to murder her if she told anyone what she had seen. She promised …

Workers Resist Pandemic-Era Disaster Capitalism in Ecuador (In These Times)

QUITO, ECUADOR — Paula had been in quar­an­tine with her hus­band and two kids for 15 days by the end of March 2020 under Ecuador’s strict lock­down, which includ­ed a nation­wide 2 p.m. cur­few. Then, Paula’s boss called. Busi­ness was suf­fer­ing; he would have to let some peo­ple go and cut salaries. He asked Paula if she would agree to …

‘Trapped again’: Quarantined Ecuador indigenous groups fight Amazon oil spill (Reuters)

QUITO, ECUADOR - When the Kichwa community closed off their village near the Coca River in Ecuador's northern Amazon rainforest in March to protect themselves from the coronavirus pandemic, they planned to live off fishing and whatever food they could grow. But about two weeks into their quarantine, two damaged oil pipelines leaked thousands of …

‘I’ll never be ready for this port,’ locals say of Colombia’s proposed project (Mongabay)

TRIBUGÁ, COLOMBIA — Aida Leides Palacios Moreno strolls through the narrow dirt streets in the Colombian town of Tribugá surrounded by palm and plantain trees rustling in the seaside breeze. She’s trying to round up her neighbors for a meeting to discuss yet another ecotourism project. It’s a quiet morning in February. Most of the …

Coronavirus pandemic exposes inequality in Ecuador’s Guayaquil (Al Jazeera)

QUITO, ECUADOR - When Victoria Sanchez and her mother, Eufemia Nicolaza Sanches Pin, showed up at their local public hospital in Ecuador's Guayaquil for Sanches Pin's weekly dialysis treatment last month, hospital staff refused to let the mother, a diabetic, in because she had a runny nose. Hospital staff worried it could be COVID-19 and …

The hidden toll of lockdown on rainforests (BBC Future Planet)

QUITO, ECUADOR -  You might be forgiven for thinking that the global lockdown measures keeping us all at home can only have been good for the environment. Pollution in cities has decreased, wild animals have increasingly been spotted entering urban areas, and many new cycle lanes have opened up worldwide. But in the world’s tropical …

Visions of a Crisis: Difficult days in Ecuador (Literary Review of Canada)

QUITO, ECUADOR - The first time I cried was Saturday, March 21. It was a beautiful morning, and I was sitting at my window, staring at the sun-kissed Andes Mountains around Quito. But I couldn’t hear cars honking on my normally bustling street. There were no car alarms, either. The furniture store next door wasn’t blasting reggaeton …

U.S. allies, encouraged by Washington, said goodbye to their Cuban doctors. As coronavirus surges, some are arguing for their return. (Washington Post)

[Co-written with Anthony Faiola] The doctors and nurses began boarding planes late last year, Cuban professionals who had come to aid Ecuador’s health-care system, their time cut short by a government that no longer wanted them. Ecuador is one of a handful of U.S. allies that fell in step with the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy on Cuba, …