Ecuador guarantees the arrival in the country of humanitarian flights from any country.
The director of the Risk and Emergency Management Service, Alexandra Ocles, confirmed that the arrival of planes that help to repatriate foreigners who are in the country is authorized.
Ocles emphasized the issue after two planes, one from the Iberia line in Spain and the other from the KLM company in the Netherlands, were unable to land at the Guayaquil airport , because the city’s mayor , Cynthia Viteri, ordered to block the track so that the ships cannot land.
The official regretted the action that not only jeopardized the integrity of the aircraft, but also prevented the evacuation of people waiting to return to their countries. “It is the same thing that we are managing with Ecuadorians who are in different parts of the world.”
For this reason, he commented that what happened violates the Civil Aviation Law , international regulations on humanitarian flights and places Ecuador in a complex situation, especially in good relations with European countries.
In this difficult situation due to the coronavirus pandemic, the most important thing in this case “was to get foreigners to get out,” he emphasized.
The flights were diverted to Quito , where the authorities verified that they were empty and arrived only with the crew to proceed with the evacuation.
Viteri, through a video published on his social networks, justified the action stating that it was “to protect Guayaquil”, since the plane arrived from Spain , where deaths from the coronavirus are recorded .
The action also motivated the Prosecutor’s Office to officially enter the case to determine if the Mayor committed a crime.
Ana María Ontaneda, expert in Criminal Law, said that Viteri went too far in his orders and caused the paralysis of a public service, conduct that is typified and punished with imprisonment of up to five years in Article 346 of the Comprehensive Organic Criminal Code (COIP).
He recalled that due to the health crisis, the highest authority is the Emergency Operations Committee (COE), which issues mobility guidelines, including that of entering the territory of any type of flight.
For this reason, he said that, according to the statements about the incident that the Mayor issued, an aggravating circumstance would be configured that the Prosecutor’s Office should investigate and that refers to possible crimes of public action for taking advantage of her condition as a public servant to prevent the provision of the service. , which is indicated in article 47, numeral 19 of the COIP.
In this regard, María Dolores Miño, a professor at the International University, explained that Ecuador has been a party to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation since 1954.
The professor clarified that this legal instrument contains an agreement on air traffic, which provides, in article 1.2, that “the States Parties grant the other States the right to land without commercial purposes.”
It also allows the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization to decide if there has been a breach by one State with respect to another.
For these reasons, the affected aircraft could sue Ecuador before the International Court of Justice, for non-compliance with the obligations derived from the Chicago Convention.
The lawyer Esteban Ron pointed out that the Guayaquil Cabildo will not be able to initiate any removal proceedings because of what happened because the provisions of the official stem from the exercise of her position, which implies political responsibility.
However, if the justice system determines the commission of a crime and issues a condemnatory sentence, the removal process will be activated in accordance with article 333 of the Organic Code of Territorial Organization (Cootad). (I)
Eurolegislator asked for a response to the action that prevented landing in Guayaquil
The incident due to the obstruction of the runway at the Guayaquil airport motivated the reaction of the Spanish MEP, José Ramón Bauzá Díaz, who asked the European Union to take action on the matter and demand the identification of those responsible for what happened.
Bauzá told Ecuador TV that the Iberia plane was prevented from helping in the evacuation of citizens from Europe who were waiting to be repatriated.
He pointed out that he understands that the fact is part of an order from the Mayor of Guayaquil, so his complaint is not to the Ecuadorian people but against the provision to block the airstrip, which he called an arbitrary and xenophobic decision.
He also mentioned that Ecuador has had a good relationship with Europe for years , but this incident also puts at risk the issue of the approval of the Schenguen visa that the country seeks.
For this reason, he hopes that the case will be followed up through the European Parliament.
The Ecuadorian ambassador to Spain, Cristóbal Roldán, pointed out that the decision of the Guayaquil authority differs completely from the policy carried out by the National Government, which calls at these difficult times for prudence and attention to the provisions of the health authorities. .