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LatinNews Daily - 16 August 2021

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In brief: New border crossing inaugurated between Colombia and Ecuador

* Colombia’s President Iván Duque and Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso have inaugurated a highway that creates a new border crossing between the two countries, connecting the Colombian municipality of Tumaco, Nariño department, with the Ecuadorean city of Esmeraldas, Esmeraldas province. Duque said that the road, dubbed the Espriella-Mataje corridor, would serve a dual purpose of boosting the regional economy and increasing border security, giving people “the hope of making a living through legal means through binational trade” and reducing violence and poverty in a region highly affected by drug trafficking. He added that the road will be protected with “constant security from the armed forces.” Lasso said that the project strengthens both countries’ “commitment in the fight against transnational organised crime, drug trafficking and its related crimes, illegal mining and human trafficking.” The 19km road was constructed with an investment of Col$240.6bn (US$62.61m).