On the afternoon of July 8, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador, José Valencia, resigned from his position. Through a virtual press conference, Valencia, who had been in office for two years, explained that he presented his resignation “due to an entirely personal reason.”
“I have the feeling, the perception, that I have already fulfilled the task that I had to carry out as the head of the Foreign Ministry,” said Valencia in the conference.
Valencia was the second foreign minister of President Lenín Moreno’s government so far. He was appointed in June 2018, after the resignation of María Fernanda Espinosa. She gave up the position due to her appointment as the 73rd President of the United Nations Organization General Assembly.
Valencia’s resignation is the third resignation registered in the presidential cabinet in less than 48 hours. However, Valencia claimed that his resignation has no connection with that of Sonnenholzner, when he was asked about a possible cabinet crisis. The local newspaper, El Comercio, indicated that Ecuador’s ambassador to the United Nations, Luis Gallegos, could replace Valencia.
On July 7, the Vice-president of Ecuador, Otto Sonnenholzner, announced his resignation. According to the local media, his disagreements with various government officials led him to take the decision. Sonnenholzner was the third vice president of Lenín Moreno. He assumed office in December 2018, after the resignation and suspension of the former two vice presidents for their alleged involvement in corruption scandals.
The same day, in the afternoon, the General Secretary for Communication of the Presidency, Gustavo Isch, also resigned from his post, which he had held for the past two months. Isch was appointed as communication secretary on April 23 in the midst of the health and economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was the fifth communication secretary of Lenin Moreno.
The resignation of these three officials as well as of the former Minister of Health, Catalina Andramuno, and the former Minister of Labor, Andrés Madero, in the month of March, adds to the socio-economic and political crisis in Ecuador, which has intensified under Moreno’s leadership.
Due to Moreno’s neoliberal policies, the constant defunding of public sectors and the involvement of his administration in a number of corruption scandals, the country is facing hard times dealing with the pandemic. As of July 8, Ecuador has about 63,215 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 4,873 deaths. However, the figures could be higher as the testing has been limited and the country is struggling for test supplies.