A new penal code that went into effect three weeks ago has stiffened penalties for crimes ranging from murder to “undocumented private enrichment” to graffiti. The code defines 730 crimes in all, including 77 that did not exist before. The National Assembly says the new system, called ... [More]

The head of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar's hitmen, a confessed murderer nicknamed "Popeye," was released from prison after helping prosecutors convict a former justice minister. John Jairo Velasquez Vasquez has confessed to killing 300 people and organizing the killings of... [More]

By David Wallis    Some call themselves “senior gypsies.” Others prefer “international nomad.” David Law, 74, a retired executive recruiter who has primarily slept in tents in several countries in the last two years, likes the ring of “American Bedouin.&r... [More]

After sending mixed signals on the issue, President Rafael Correa says the country is ready to grant full rights to same-sex couples. Beginning September 15, same-sex couples will receive the same benefits that their married heterosexual counterparts already enjoy. “If someone is still tu... [More]

By Bella English I’ve barely stepped off the plane when the stories about the Valle de la Longevidad — Valley of Longevity — start. My cabdriver asks what I’m doing in this small town in southern Ecuador, and I tell him I’m in search of the legendary old people o... [More]

As opposition to Cuenca’s new light rail system mounts, its leaders are accusing new Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera of betrayal. Project opponents, almost all of them property and business owners in the historic district, say that Cabrera had campaigned on promises to change the tram route fro... [More]

Cuenca city bus fares are probably headed higher. The current fare of 25 cents has been in place since 2003 and has, since 2008, been maintained by government subsidies. Government officials, from President Rafael Correa to Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera, say an increase is overdue. As in the cas... [More]

By Andres Oppenheimer Watching President Barack Obama at his mega-summit with nearly 50 African heads of state in Washington, D.C., in which he announced $33 billion in investments and vowed to increase access to electricity to 60 million African households, many of us asked ourselves the same ... [More]

“Is it as cheap to live in Ecuador as they say?” The question came from an English friend but it’s one I’m asked fairly often. What he's referring to are the claims made by a number of publishers and web services, including International Living, Gary Scott, Inc. and ... [More]

By Lance Brashear When the Spanish came looking for gold in a small town in what is now southern Ecuador they saw a geographic similarity to the recently established, Portobelo, Panama. So they christened it with the same name. Portovelo sits just south of another town, Zaruma, where, togeth... [More]

Six months after it imposed trade restrictions on 292 products, Ecuador’s Ministry of Industries says imports have been reduced by 29%. Government officials and a number of economists say, however, that it is unlikely that the restrictions, which come in the form of tough “quality contro... [More]

By William K. Black Under the banner "Latin America News" the Wall Street Journal has poured out its pain that the people of Ecuador might reelect President Rafael Correa. The article is actually an editorial attacking Correa and the people of Ecuador for potentially voting to reelec... [More]

What were the biggest issues new Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera faced in his first 100 days in office? That’s easy, he says. Taxi fares and the tram. Although he said he has worked on a number of major projects, including reorganizing city government to "maximize efficiency," Cabr... [More]

By Nick Miroff The dynamite crew in La Pampa, Peru set the charges and ordered everyone back. They put explosives beneath the miners’ hammocks and in the outdoor kitchen, where potatoes were still hot on the stove. More fuses were placed in the processing shed nearby, which had a bla... [More]

By Susan Schenck “It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that someone has been murdered!” announced Hugh Dunnit (a.k.a. Hugh Loomis) in a British accent so smooth, it fooled a lady from England. A mesmerized audience of 60 at Paladar’s Restaurante Dinner Club, then li... [More]

The long-awaited evaluation of Cuenca’s light rail project and renovation plans for San Francisco Square began yesterday as a technical team from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) met with city officials. The team will review technical documents... [More]

Residents of Latin America and the Caribbean were the least likely among all global regions last year to feel secure in their communities. In 2013, the region scored a 56 (on a scale from 0 to 100) on Gallup's Law and Order Index, which is based on confidence in local police, feelings of perso... [More]

As strong earthquake aftershocks continue to plague Quito and the surrounding area, Quito Mayor Mauricio Rodas urged residents to avoid attending public events as well as unnecessary travel on roads prone to landslides. Quito experienced 4.7 and 4.0 aftershocks on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday'... [More]

By Américo Mendoza-Mori There are several stereotypes about Quechua. Is it a dead language? No, there are an estimated six to eight million speakers in South America, mostly in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. A simple language? You cannot imagine the suffixes this language contains. T... [More]

President Rafael Correa reaffirmed this week that Ecuador’s use of the U.S. dollar as its official currency will continue "indefinitely." Although Correa said that the dollar was not his preferrence, he said that it had helped stabilized the national economy, spurred growth and ... [More]

Uruguay turned into an international star in the drug legalization movement when it became the first country in the world to approve the growth, sale and distribution of marijuana. But inch by inch, countries across Latin America are also softening their approaches toward the drug. Latin Americ... [More]

Cuenca’s Municipal Control Agency has shut down construction on one site and is considering closing others in the environmental buffer zone just east of the Cajas National Park. The department says that property owners, many of them foreigners, are not abiding by restrictions mandated by bui... [More]

President Rafael Correa says the federal government would withdraw funding for Cuenca’s light rail system if changes are made to the route. His comments came during a visit to Cuenca on Wendesday to review several construction sites. “Funding for the tram was based on plans submitte... [More]

By Alistair Bell & Mitra Taj Losing the fight against same-sex marriage at home, leading U.S. evangelical Christians are joining in the culture wars in Latin America as cheerleaders for opponents of gay legal partnerships, abortion and pornography. One of the Americans is veteran legal ... [More]

Cuenca new city administration is encouraging commercial development in the Barranco District, hoping to create a corridor that that mixes tourism, natural landscape and historic interests. The Barranco District, which overlooks the historic Rio Tomebamba and forms the southern limit of the his... [More]