Ecuador Country Report
President Lenín Moreno took office on 24 May after securing little over 51% of votes in a run-off election on 2 April. His PAIS Alliance (Alianza PAIS: AP) party holds a small majority in the National Assembly. However, animosity between Moreno and his party members loyal to his predecessor, Rafael Correa, is generating instability within the government. Policy priorities are tax reform, securing investment in the hydrocarbon and mining sectors, and the maintenance of dollarisation. IHS Markit anticipates GDP growth of 1.8 in 2018, but high debt levels are likely to restrain policy options. The government's support for extractive-sector development is likely to be moderated by higher social and environmental regulation to appease indigenous unrest in the Amazon and the country'ssouthern provinces.
Labour strikes are not a major risk in Ecuador. Trade unions are relatively weak and are prohibited from engaging in strikes in strategic sectors including hydrocarbons, electricity, and telecommunications. Risks of disruptive protests, strikes and demonstrations have also been falling as a result of overtures to labour movements and indigenous organisations by the administration of President Lenín Moreno, who assumed office in mid-2017. Corruption remains a significant risk at all levels of government and civil service, although a high-profile government crackdown on such illicit practices has brought greater political attention to the issue, helping to reduce bribery solicitation risks.
Terrorist threats are low in Ecuador and come mainly from external rather than internal sources. The Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) has traditionally held a presence in the border provinces of Carchi, Esmeraldas, and Sucumbíos. However, the group lacks both the capacity and inclination to launch attacks in Ecuadorian cities, especially in light of its demobilisation in 2017 as part of the Colombian peace process. A limited number of dissident FARC members are likely to continue to seek refuge in Ecuador and engage in drug trafficking and extortion of local businesses there.
Civil and interstate war risks are low. Ecuador's last military engagement with Peru was in 1995, and bilateral relations have remained cordial since. In July 2017 Peru recalled its ambassador as a result of Ecuador building a border wall but further escalation is unlikely. Although the effects of Colombia's internal conflict have previously strained relations with its Ecuadorian neighbour, the countries remain on good terms. Ecuador is hosting peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the Ejército de liberación Nacional. A police mutiny in 2010 was promptly dealt with the help of the armed forces, without giving rise to serious risk of civil war.
Plans to increase investment in hydrocarbons and mining-related projects bring ongoing risks of social protests. However, such risks are declining under the Moreno administration that in December 2017 sought to court the support of indigenous organisations by pledging to restrict extractive-sector developments on community land and those that had not complied with local consultation requirements. A February 2018 referendum could also impose restrictions on projects within the Yasuní National park that had previously provoked unrest. Opposition protests against the April 2017 presidential results, which attracted thousands, have since subsided and are unlikely to be repeated during 2018.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age. Nationals and residents of Ecuador are required to possess certificates of vaccination on their departure to an area with risk of YFV transmission.
Hepatitis : A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Yellow Fever: A vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - chloroquine and proguanil (sometimes marketed as Paludrine ) or proguanil and atovaquone (sometimes marketed as Mepron); if traveling to the Amazon region, mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin) is recommended.
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Ecuador is vulnerable to a number of natural disasters due to its location along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," a highly active seismic zone. Some 24 "active" or "potentially active" volcanoes are present in the country, in particular Cotopaxi, Sangay, Tungurahua, and Reventador, all of which erupt relatively often. Always heed instructions issued by local authorities when in the vicinity of volcanoes.
Similarly, earthquakes are common and can cause largescale damage and transportation disruptions, especially if landslides occur. In April 2016, a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale struck the northwest of the country, killing hundreds of people and leaving major material and infrastructural damages in its wake. More than a year later, the region is still in recovery. Offshore earthquakes also create the risk of tsunamis in coastal regions; in the event of such an earthquake, follow all instructions issued by local authorities (such as evacuation orders).
Flooding can occur year round but is particularly frequent during the rainy season, which begins in October and lasts until April/May, although this varies slightly by region.
When using taxis, use only licensed companies and avoid hailing taxis off the street. Drive with doors locked and windows rolled up.
Criminals frequently target intra- and inter-city buses, many of which are overcrowded and poorly maintained. Use secured buses, identifiable by a sticker placed on the sides and the windshield of the vehicle; these buses are equipped with surveillance cameras and a GPS system that allows local authorities to respond quickly in the event of a problem.
In any case, be vigilant when on buses, on which theft and other more serious crimes are regularly reported. It is advisable to avoid taking buses after sundown, particularly in the regions of Manabí and Guayas.
Ecuador's climate is, unsurprisingly, largely equatorial. Along the coast temperatures and humidity levels are high throughout the year. Rain is more abundant in the period between December and April as well as in the north as compared to the south. Days are generally hot and nights cool, with little variation in temperatures from season to season.
Voltage: 120-127 V ~ 60 Hz