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Montevideo, October 24th 2021 - 00:00 UTC



Ecuadorean President Lasso travels to US for surgery but will stay in command

Monday, June 21st 2021 - 09:01 UTC
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Lasso will “continue to command the position of President of the Republic,” and not turn it over to the Vice President. Lasso will “continue to command the position of President of the Republic,” and not turn it over to the Vice President.

Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso Sunday flew to Miami to undergo spinal cord surgery, after which he is expected to spend several days in rehabilitation.

Lasso said the operation and subsequent treatment aim at helping him “regain normal mobility“ in his legs.

Lasso made the announcement himself upon boarding the plane at the Guayaquil military airbase. He described the procedure as ”a moderately invasive operation.“

The surgery ”will consist of removing a cyst in the lumbar area, caused by a medical malpractice that occurred years ago,“ the Ministry of Communication said in a statement. Lasso hopes to be able to ”leave the support cane“ he has been using.

It is Lasso's first trip abroad since becoming president on May 24. The 65-year-old former conservative banker fractured his right fibula in 2013, during a religious pilgrimage in Spain, and surgery to correct the injury compromised the spinal cord.

”To my bad luck, the anesthesiologist makes a mistake, punctures my dura and causes a bruise on my ponytail (lower back), which caused unbearable pain in my legs for 45 days,“ he had explained. ”I lost 30 pounds (about 13.6 kilos), I could not sleep, I separated a little from the world,“ he added.

Four years later, the hematoma degenerated into several cysts in the spinal cord, for which he underwent surgery in 2018, also in the United States.

But Lasso made it clear that due to the little invasive nature of the surgery he would not be passing the baton on to Vice President Alfredo Borrero. ”I continue to command the position of President of the Republic,“ said the president after noting that he will carry out his functions through video conferencing.

He also said he would remain “in the clinic for three days” after the operation but then contradicted himself as he announced he hoped to be discharged by “Thursday or Friday, and then spend a few days in recovery therapy, to regain mobility in my leg,” he added.

Lasso also stressed that during his absence he hoped the vaccination campaign will progress as planned. About 80,000 Ecuadoreans are vaccinated daily but Lasso trusted his country can improve that mark.

Lasso called on the population to go for vaccination according to the calendar that has been drawn up in coordination with the National Electoral Council (CNE), an entity that has provided its database.

He insisted that immunization was an “act of responsibility” with society and, therefore, “to the extent that we achieve a higher number of people vaccinated, we will get back to normal faster, ”which will also allow the economy to recover.”

The President also announced an agreement with the Chinese pharmaceutical company Cansino to receive about six million of their single-dose drug while new batches of Sinovac are expected to arrive in July and August.

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