By Yury Garcia
QUITO (Reuters) -Ecuadorian Health Minister Ximena Garzon resigned on Monday from the government of President Guillermo Lasso, following earlier news that Economy Minister Simon Cueva would also leave the administration.
“I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity you gave me and I am proud to have contributed to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic with you,” Garzon said in a resignation letter to Lasso seen by Reuters.
Ecuador’s secretary of public administration, Ivan Correa, disclosed Cueva’s impending departure during an interview with local television outlet Teleamazonas earlier on Monday.
Necessary changes to the cabinet were following more than two-weeks of protests, he said, without explaining the exact connection.
Correa’s office and the economy ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Cueva’s role has also included that of finance minister. Lasso is a conservative former banker.
Changes to the government would be announced tomorrow, Correa said in the interview.
“Without a doubt changes are coming,” he said. “The president is evaluating all these changes and what’s certain is that they will be announced tomorrow, obviously including the Ministry of Finance.”
Other ministers will also leave the government, Correa said, without specifying which ones.
“There are other changes also within the cabinet that will be announced by the president tomorrow afternoon,” he said.
The announcement follows weeks of protests that erupted in Ecuador in June to demand lower fuel prices and limits to expansion of the mining and oil industries. Organized by indigenous leaders, the protests led to at least eight deaths and interrupted oil production.
A pact to end the crisis was signed on Thursday between the government and indigenous leaders.
Lasso appointed Cueva last year, giving him the task of cutting the fiscal deficit, which the government hopes to reduce by $2 billion this year.
(Reporting by Yury GarciaWriting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Franklin Paul and Bradley Perrett)