Ecuador’s Newly Sworn-In President Repeals Guidelines Allowing People to Carry Limited Drug Amounts

Less than 48 hours into his term, Ecuador President Daniel Noboa on Friday repealed controversial guidelines established by the country’s left a decade ago that eliminated penalties for people found carrying illegal drugs under certain amounts.

Noboa’s decision fulfilled a campaign promise to fight drug trafficking. Consequences of the illegal trade, particularly cocaine, have kept Ecuadorians on edge as killings, kidnappings, robberies, extortion and other crimes reached unprecedented levels.

A statement from Noboa’s office announcing the move argued that the old guidelines “encouraged micro-trafficking” and characterized them as a “harmful element for Ecuadorian society.” Noboa also directed the ministries of interior and public health to develop “coordinated information, prevention and control programs on the consumption of narcotic and psychotropic substances” and to offer treatment and rehabilitation to “habitual and problematic occasional users.”

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