How corruption has added to Latin America’s COVID death toll (The New Humanitarian)

QUITO, ECUADOR - After coming down with COVID-19 in December, Vinicio Sánchez visited three health centres in a single day. At the first, a clinic in the south of Ecuadorian capital, Quito, he was told he needed oxygen but they had none left to give him. He was referred to a specialist COVID-19 centre in …

In Carmen’s Hands (World Affairs, Podcast)

QUITO, ECUADOR - A few months ago, the California based World Affairs podcast contacted me to talk about a previous article I had written about Carmen Carcelen, an Ecuadorian woman who lives in the small town of Juncal, near the border with Colombia, and turned her home into a shelter for Venezuelans migrating through. By …

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 …

‘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 …

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, …

Indigenous race into Ecuador’s Amazon to escape coronavirus (Al Jazeera)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Nemonte Nenquimo, an Indigenous Waorani leader from Ecuador's Amazon rainforest, watched as her Indigenous colleagues, family and friends rushed back to their territory this past week, attempting to escape the threat of the coronavirus engulfing the region. Some travelled by car or bus, others flew by charter plane or travelled by boat …

Ecuador: Protesters cautiously optimistic after deal with gov’t (Al Jazeera)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Jose Pilataxi danced around a fire in the centre of the Ecuadorian capital Quito on Sunday night, celebrating with thousands of other protesters the cancelation of an austerity package that sparked violent protests across the country for 11 days and brought the economy to a standstill. "I'm very very happy for the …

Ecuador’s indigenous people are leading the anti-government protests. They have a record of ousting presidents. (Washington Post)

QUITO, ECUADOR - Juan Oshcu traveled more than six hours from his rural farm, walking and hitching rides, to reach the Ecuadoran capital. For three nights, he’s slept on wooden benches in one of the city’s cultural centers, a temporary base for the thousands of indigenous protesters who have arrived here this week. “We have …