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Ecuador’s president repeals guidelines allowing people to carry limited drug amounts

QUITO (AP) – Less than 48 hours into his term on Friday, Ecuador President Daniel Noboa repealed controversial guidelines established by the country’s left a decade ago that eliminated penalties for people found carrying illegal drugs under certain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 unpreceden-ted levels.

A statement from Noboa’s office announcing the move argued that the old guidelines “encouraged micro-trafficking” and characterised 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 programmes on the consumption of narcotic and psychotropic substances” and to offer treatment and rehabilitation to “habitual and problematic occasional users”.

Newly sworn-in President Daniel Noboa at the Carondelet presidential palace, Ecuador. PHOTO: AP