Ecuador

Rodrigo Abd / AP

It's hard to wrap your arms around everything that happened 2019 in Latin America and the Caribbean. It's even harder to find any good news — from the violent political unrest that rocked capitals from La Paz to Port-au-Prince, to a record number of fires that ravaged the Amazon rainforest.

Desmond Boylan / AP

As the holiday shopping season gets into full swing, is something capitalist happening in the socialist countries of Latin America? We're talking about the sudden dollarization of Cuba and Venezuela.

Large protests have triggered a state of emergency in Ecuador, after President Lenín Moreno moved ahead with his plan to end fuel subsidies. Moreno says he's ending the "perverse" gasoline subsidy after 40 years because it was distorting Ecuador's economy.

Associated Press

Detailed information on more than 20 million people — most of them thought to be Ecuadorean nationals — was found on an unsecured server in Miami, providing identity thieves and scammers a treasure trove.

The internet security firm vpnMentor said it discovered the cache of information during a routine scan of the internet and that the data breach had been closed last Wednesday.

A powerful earthquake struck eastern Ecuador early Friday, sending tremors for miles through a sparsely populated area and into neighboring Peru and Colombia. The quake hit at an intermediate depth of about 82 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Jonathan Clay / US Navy

A U.S. Navy hospital ship leaves Norfolk, Virginia, Thursday on a mission that means a lot to people here in South Florida. It hopes to help bring relief to the worst migrant refugee crisis in modern South American history.

Manuel Rueda

Last week José Molleja became one of the countless Venezuelans stranded on the border between Colombia and Ecuador.

The 22-year-old Venezuelan can’t find enough work to live in crisis-torn Venezuela. So he spent a week on a bus getting from Caracas to join relatives who’d already emigrated to Ecuador.

But when Molleja arrived he was stunned. Before, Ecuador had only asked Venezuelans to show a photo ID to enter the country. Now the country was suddenly making them present passports.

Half a million roses have been placed in the shape of a flat-topped pyramid in Tabacundo, Ecuador, in an attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records.

Currently, the world record for largest flower arrangement is held by the Dubai Miracle Garden in United Arab Emirates, which created a life-size sculpture of a Airbus A380 in 2016.

That installation was also covered in more than half a million flowers.

The government of Ecuador has cut off the Internet connection for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange inside its London embassy, saying that he was jeopardizing its relationships with other countries through his posts on social media.

Assange has been living in the embassy there since 2012, when he took refuge because of allegations from Sweden of sex crimes, including rape. He has feared that if he appeared in Sweden he would face extradition to the U.S., where he could be put on trial for the WikiLeaks leak of a massive trove of documents.

Ecuador says it has granted citizenship to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, as officials try to find a way for him to leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London without risking legal action.

Assange, who is Australian, first sought refuge at the embassy more than five years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faced an investigation over rape allegations. He was granted asylum, and has been holed up in the embassy ever since.

R
Mariana Bazo/Reuters

Leftist Lenin Moreno crossed his fingers Monday for outright victory in Ecuador's presidential vote as impatience grew over a delay in publishing full results that could force a runoff.

Sunday's election was a test of the legacy of outgoing President Rafael Correa, Moreno's more hardline ally and an outspoken critic of the United States.

Moreno, 63, hoped to top 40 percent of the vote with a 10-point lead. That would spare him a runoff that polls indicate he may well lose.

Ecuador acknowledges it restricted the Internet access of Julian Assange, who has lived at the country's London embassy for more than four years.

The government of President Rafael Correa released a statement that notes Assange's WikiLeaks website has published "a wealth of documents, impacting on the U.S. election campaign." The statement says the website released those documents on its own, and Ecuador "respects the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states."

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

The death toll in the earthquake that hit Ecuador over the weekend is climbing toward 500 – and could go much higher. Miami’s Ecuadorean community is mobilizing relief aid – and told WLRN what's needed most.

HBO/YouTube

COMMENTARY  

Kudos to British comedian John Oliver for his hilarious smackdown of Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa this week.

The host of HBO’s satirical “Last Week Tonight” skewered – impaled, really – Correa and his juvenile social media war against anyone who dares criticize him. Oliver told the infamously thin-skinned presidente to “stop Googling yourself” and advised him that “being a world leader might not be for you.”

Ecuador says it is considering Edward Snowden's request for asylum.

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