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  • Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Guillaume Long

    Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Guillaume Long | Photo: EFE

After approving a law to ban officials from stashing money in tax havens, Ecuador is now working on a global effort for "fiscal justice."

Ecuador presented its commitment to fighting against tax havens at the United Nations by underscoring how tax dodging by the elite profoundly affects the economy of the majority of the world population.

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Ecuadorean Foreign Affairs Minister Guillaume Long introduced a plan to "advance together in a global agenda for fiscal justice" at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.

"Tax revenues are the most predictable, stable and important source of resources available to states to finance the protection of human rights," said Long. "Corporations and wealthy people who avoid their obligations to pay taxes participate in denying the human rights of others, with every school that is not built, every medicine that is not bought for lack of funds, because the state doesn't own the necessary financial resources."

The foreign minister said that all countries have the responsibility to analyze the current financial system from a human rights perspective.

"We can't allow the practices of tax evasion and the tools used for it to continue to build an unjust economic system designed to enrich a small minority at the expense of the great majorities. It's time to end these practices," said Long.

On Feb. 19, Ecuador became the first nation in the world to pass a plebiscite to ban public officials from having assets or capital in tax havens, that Long described as a historical example in the fight against corruption.

With the approval, all public servants and elected officials will have one year to bring offshore capital back to the country or they will be removed from office.

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Runner-up in the presidential race, right-wing banker Guillermo Lasso, created and acts as director of 10 offshore companies in Panama, which was revealed in last year's scandalous Panama Papers leak.

If Lasso, who trailed behind more than 10 percent against presidential favorite Lenin Moreno, manages to win the elections he could hypothetically be banned from being president if he doesn't comply with the law.

He said that if he becomes president he will push for massive tax cuts in Ecuador.

Lasso was also a key figure behind opposition protests against the proposal by the government of president Rafael Correa for progressive tax policies targeting the rich.

Ecuador's wealthiest have hidden as much as US$30 billion in tax havens affecting the national economy, according to Correa.

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