‘We are all suffering’: What’s going on inside Ecuador’s prisons? (Al Jazeera)

QUITO, ECUADOR – More than 300 people have been killed inside Ecuador’s prisons so far this year, as a series of violent riots between rival gangs left officials scrambling to find ways to end the bloodshed. The latest riot took place last week behind the cement walls of Penitenciaria del Litoral, a facility in the …

Court convenes historic hearing in Indigenous territory on land consent issue (Mongabay)

SINANGOE, ECUADOR - Early on the morning of Nov. 15, five Constitutional Court judges arrived by canoe to the Indigenous Cofan community of Sinangoe in Ecuador’s northern Amazon rainforest, wearing rubber boots and loose clothing to weather the intense jungle heat. This visit marked the first time in the country’s history that judges from the …

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 …

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 …