Ecuador: Semana Santa processions

Semana Santa processions take place all over Ecuador; YASunidos protest against transfer of signatures; Ecuador and Costa Rica reach an agreement on maritime divisions

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Semana Santa processions

Semana Santa processions took place all over Ecuador this week, with two of the biggest parades taking place in Quito, the capital, and in Guayaquil.

As part of a tradition which this year celebrates its 55th anniversary, the Cristo Del Consuelo procession took place on Good Friday (18 April) in Guayaquil.

The procession, which takes place every year, attracted over 500,000 Catholics who walked the 17 blocks of the procession. People carried crosses, bouquets and candles to show their faith. The procession ended at 12:00 at the Iglesia de Espíritu Santo (Holy Spirit Church).

Archbishop Antonio Arregui, along with two other priests, was at the head of the crowd. They all wore traditional white robes. The day concluded with a Mass offered by the Archbishop outside the Church.

Approximately 100 policemen surrounded the float which carried the image of Christ, with volunteers pushing it.

There were nine total processions across Guayaquil, comprised of indigenous members of the community.

In the historic streets of Quito, the Jesus del Gran Poder (Jesus the All Powerful) procession took place, also on Friday 18 April. The ‘cucuruchos’, who wear large pointed hats, helped organise the event, alongside students and volunteers.

Around 120,000 people walked the procession, chanting and praying, ending the day at the church of San Francisco.

CNE transfers signatures despite YASunidos protests

On Thursday 17 April the Consejo Nacional Electoral (National Electoral Council – CNE) began moving the signatures collected by the YASunidos campaigners, who compiled over 700,000 signatures in a petition against the exploitation of oil in the Yasuní National Park.

There will be a referendum of the Ecuadorian people to measure the levels of support for the oil extraction plans.

The activists arrived outside the CNE building with posters and drums. They tried to prevent members of the Armed Forces and the CNE from transferring the 55 boxes containing the signatures to the north of Quito.

They wanted to prevent the movement of the boxes following concerns that the signatures might be manipulated, claims which the CNE have denied. Paul Salazar, Vice President of the CNE, said that the YASunidos were trying to deceive the public, and the signatures were successfully transferred.

The next step for the signatures is to verify that the forms were filled on the dates stipulated for the collection, and check the data and headings of those who are responsible for the documents.

The process could be extended until the end of next week.

Ecuador to make an agreement with Costa Rica

On Monday 21 April the foreign ministers of Ecuador and Costa Rica will meet to make an agreement on maritime delimitation in the part of the Pacific which separates the two countries.

Enrique Castillo, the Costa Rican foreign minister, hastened to add that the boundaries were not political, but of a purely geographical nature. He will travel in Quito today (Sunday 20 April) and the deal will be signed on Monday.

This agreement comes after several meetings which were held earlier in the year to finalise the plans.