New Ecuadorean Ambassador Will Promote Programs for Displaced Colombians
By Dialogo January 04, 2011
Ecuador’s new ambassador in Bogotá, Raúl Vallejo, will promote programs in favor of the thousands of displaced Colombians in his country, the diplomat said in remarks made public by the government news agency Andes.
“For us, what’s most important is the issue of the displaced people,” declared Vallejo, who is taking up his post following the complete reestablishment of bilateral ties, which were broken off by Quito for twenty-one months due to the Colombian military attack on the FARC in Ecuador on 1 March 2008.
He added that “we’re going to give continuity to integration projects, such as the expansion of the Rumichaca (border) bridge, geothermal projects, and watershed projects, in addition to public health issues in the border area” for the displaced Colombians.
The Ecuadorean authorities estimate that around 500,000 Colombians live in Ecuador, the great majority of them in irregular situations, and is demanding reciprocity from Bogotá to improve services for these displaced people.
As of November 2010, Ecuador had granted refugee status to 54,000 people, 53,000 of them Colombians, according to the director of refugee affairs at the Ecuadorean foreign ministry, Alfonso Morales.