Stories written by Gonzalo Ortiz
Escritor ecuatoriano, se ha destacado también en los campos la docencia universitaria y el servicio público. Nació en Quito el 18 de octubre de 1944, hijo de Luis Alfonso Ortiz Bilbao (Quito, 1903-1988) y Lola Crespo Toral (Cuenca, 1927). Está casado, tiene una hija y dos nietas. Vicealcade de Quito (2009), fue Concejal de la ciudad por elección popular por siete años (2003-2009), siendo el candidato más votado en las dos elecciones que participó. Años antes, fue uno de los más estrechos colaboradores del Presidente Rodrigo Borja, en cuyo gobierno fue Secretario General de la Administración (1990-92), Secretario Nacional de Comunicación Social (1988-1989) y Secretario de la Presidencia (1989- 1990). Como periodista es actualmente, y desde hace 16 años, Editor General de la revista Gestión; y desde inicios de 2010 corresponsal en el Ecuador de la agencia Inter Press Service (IPS). Se inició en la carrera periodística como cronista del diario El Tiempo, a los 22 años de edad, y ha ocupado todos los cargos de medios escritos y audiovisuales desde reportero hasta director. Fue editor cultural de la revista Mensajero (1968-1975); fundador, columnista, editor económico y subdirector del diario Hoy (1981-1988); director para América Latina de la agencia de noticias Inter Pres Service (1992-1996); gerente nacional de noticias de Ecuavisa (1997-1998); director de noticias de Telesistema (1988-2000); panelista semanal de Gamavisión (2000-2001); columnista de El Comercio (1996-2001). Ha colaborado en las estrategias de comunicación de las campañas presidenciales de Rodrigo Borja (1984, 1988, 2002) y Freddy Ehlers (1998) y en las campañas para alcalde de Quito de Paco Moncayo (2000, 2004) y para alcalde de Cuenca de Fernando Cordero (1998). Ha elaborado estrategias de comunicación para organizaciones no gubernamentales y entidades privadas. Ortiz suma más de un cuarto de siglo de docencia universitaria, como profesor de pregrado de las universidades Católica del Ecuador y de las Américas y de posgrado en la Andina Simón Bolívar. Es autor de ocho libros, en temas de historia y crónica periodística, coautor de 20 libros, editor de otros seis y traductor de dos. Entre sus obras se incluye una novela, Los hijos de Daisy (Alfaguara, 2009) y un libro de ensayos Quito, historia y destino (Trama, 2006). Es Miembro Correspondiente de la Academia Nacional de Historia del Ecuador y ha recibido premios y distinciones nacionales e internacionales.

ECUADOR: 40 Percent of Children Suffer Chronic Zinc Deficiency

The diets of people in Ecuador and other countries in South America's Andean region suffer from chronic deficiency of zinc, a mineral essential to childhood nutrition, as demonstrated by studies led by paediatrician Dr. Fernando Sempértegui.

ECUADOR: Big Bucks from China Drive Domestic Development

Ecuador sees the loans it has agreed with China as "good news," because they are long-term, and all that is required in return is "oil, and not the horrendous adjustments imposed by the IMF (International Monetary Fund)," leftwing Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa told analysts critical of the size and high interest rates of the loans.

ECUADOR: President Wins Defamation Suit Against Newspaper Execs

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador has won a libel suit against the newspaper El Universo over an op-ed column that referred to him as the "Dictator" and accused him of committing "crimes against humanity."

Latin America Has One-Fifth of Global Oil Reserves

Fossil fuels are an energy source condemned by environmentalists, but do not appear to be on the way out in Latin America and the Caribbean, given the rise in the region's proven oil reserves in recent years.

ECUADOR: Fate of Untapped Oil Hangs in the Balance – of Trust Fund

"Ecuador will not wait ad infinitum" for a decision by the international community, and "at the end of the year" President Rafael Correa will decide whether to extract oil that was to have been left underground at the Yasuní nature reserve, non-renewable natural resources minister Wilson Pástor has announced.

ECUADOR: Bishop Fasts for Reconciliation in Jungle Province

Catholic bishop emeritus Gonzalo López Marañón has been fasting since May 24 in a park in the Ecuadorian capital to call for peace and reconciliation in Sucumbíos, an Amazon province immersed in a conflict over the Vatican's decision to put the diocese in the hands of an ultra-conservative Catholic order.

ENVIRONMENT DAY-ECUADOR: Nature’s Rights Still Being Wronged

Recognition of the rights of nature in Ecuador's 2008 constitution was widely applauded by environmentalists around the world. However, putting them into practice is still problematic due to the lack of legislation and an institutional framework.

ECUADOR: Gov’t Shuts Down Illegal Gold Mines

The Ecuadorian government sent in the army to shut down illegal gold mining operations in the jungles of the northwest province of Esmeraldas, where the highly polluting activity is associated with drug traffickers and protected by armed militias and hired killers.

LATIN AMERICA: Digging Deep for Transparency in Oil and Mining

Oil and mineral resources are abundant in several Latin American countries but will not last forever, and should be used to fuel the transition to a more diversified economy.

ECUADOR: Correa Set for Victory in Referendum

Pollsters predict that a majority of voters in Ecuador will approve a package of reforms backed by leftwing President Rafael Correa, in a May 7 referendum that has further polarised the population.

Haitian Trafficking Victims Discovered in Ecuador

The four young Haitians told legal authorities that they were offered complete scholarships to the university, but that once they reached Ecuador they were locked up in a house and made to pay 150 dollars a month for rent and board, while given the run around about the promised education.

ECUADOR: US Ambassador Expelled Over Wikileaks Cable

The Ecuadorean government declared U.S. Ambassador Heather Hodges "persona non grata" and expelled her from the country in response to a cable released by the Wikileaks whistleblower web site.

Rosa Tanguila cleaning up oil residue near her rainforest community.  Credit: Gonzalo Ortiz/IPS

ECUADOR: Trees on Shaky Ground in Texaco’s Rainforest

When the trunks of the trees move with every step you take, you know you are in a swamp. This is what happens when you walk over the seemingly firm and vegetation-covered ground over what was once a pit used to dump oil sludge in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest.

Rosa Tanguila cleaning up oil residue near her rainforest community. - Gonzalo Ortiz/IPS

Trees on Shaky Ground in Texaco’s Rainforest

Texaco’s “clean-up” of the toxic oil waste pits in the Ecuadorian rainforest consisted of filling them with sticks, tires, tanks and scrub and then covering it all up with soil.

ECUADOR: Catholics Demand Removal of Far-Right Bishop

The appointment of an ultra-conservative priest as apostolic administrator of the diocese of Sucumbíos, in northeastern Ecuador, triggered open rebellion among a large proportion of the area's Catholics, with the support of civil society organisations and even of President Rafael Correa himself.

Polylepis forest in El Cajas National Park, Ecuador. Credit: Gonzalo Ortiz/IPS

ECUADOR: Water Management Transcends “Public or Private” Debate

For one day, civil servants are trading their desks for the chilly highland plains in a rural community 3,500 metres above sea level on the outskirts of the Ecuadorian capital, where they are helping to plant native trees.

Indigenous women hauling water in Chiapas, Mexico.  Credit: Mauricio  Ramos/IPS

LATIN AMERICA: Wave of Water Privatisation Over; Coverage Challenge Remains

Now that the wave of water privatisation of the 1980s and 1990s has let up, the main challenge facing water utilities in Latin America is expanding coverage of high-quality water services.

Polylepis forest in El Cajas National Park, Ecuador. - Gonzalo Ortiz/IPS

Water Management Transcends “Public or Private” Debate

A fund financed with public and private resources seeks to create a participatory and transparent water management model in Quito.

Chevron spokesman for Latin America James Craig Credit: Courtesy of Chevron Corporation

Q&A: “The Trial Against Chevron Is Totally Corrupt”

Chevron, the second largest U.S. oil company, believes that to overturn the verdict ordering it to pay 9.5 billion dollars in reparations for environmental and public health damages in Ecuador's Amazon jungle, the best defence is a good offence.

James Craig, Chevron spokesperson for Latin America. - Courtesy of Chevron Corporation

“The Trial Against Chevron Is Totally Corrupt”

The court ruling ordering Chevron to pay Ecuadorian communities damages arising from its operations is the "product of fraud," James Craig, a representative of the oil company, says.

Juan Pablo Sáenz, one of the five Ecuadorean attorneys who won the case against Chevron.  Credit: Gonzalo Ortiz/IPS

Q&A: “The Verdict Against Chevron Is Enforceable, Because It Is Just”

On Feb. 14, a provincial Ecuadorean court issued the harshest environmental verdict in history against a major oil company, the U.S.-based Chevron. But is there any chance it will be carried out?

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