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Azuay Province governor Leonardo Berrezueta is putting a bulls eye on illegal lenders he says are gouging consumers. Known as chulqueros, the black market lenders charge between 3% and 10% interest a month. “These lenders feed on the distress of the people are no better than coyotes,” Berrezueta says, referring to those who, for a...
Cuenca’s newest hostal is open for business in the city’s Barranco district, across Calle Tres de Noviembre from Rio Tomebamba. Formerly housing the Chilean consulate and an interior design shop,  the Villa Nova Inn offers 12 renovated guest rooms and such services as a continental breakfast, room service, WiFi internet service and DirecTv. The Inn is priced in...
Interested in checking out two of Ecuador’s most popular areas for foreign investors and expatriates — the south coast and the Andean colonial city of Cuenca? TransAndean Trading Company and Ecuador Properties have announced dates for their October real estate tours. The South Coast tour runs from Oct. 15 to 18, while the Cuenca tour...
Cuenca, Quito and Guayaquil and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism are teaming up to develop a five-year tourism marketing plan. The goal, according to the ministry, is to achieve annual tourism growth of 16% by 2014. Growth in the past five years has averaged 10%, although some areas of the country, including Cuenca, have averaged...
Cuenca’s Public Works Department is launching an all-out assault on the city’s historic cobblestone streets. “For too long, we have resorted to patch-work fixes and these simply do hold up,” says Bolivar Alban, new public works director. “From now on, we will work from the foundation up when we make repairs.” According to Alban, work...
Cuenca’s new Director of Cultural Affairs, Diego Carrasco, believes improved planning of department projects will result in better service to the public. Carrasco, a professor at the University of Azuay, has served director of culture for Azuay Province and as cultural counselor to the city of Quito. He is the founder of the School of...
Responding to a growing number of complaints, Cuenca Mayor Paul Granda has announced a series of meetings with managers and vendors at the sprawling west-side El Arenal market. In recent months, shoppers and vendors at the market –commonly known as Fiera Libre– say that lack of competent management has led to chaotic conditions. Located on...
Many gas stations in Portoviejo and Manta are limiting customers to a $5 purchase due to gasoline shortages. According to distributors, the problem is the result of technical problems at the Esmeraldas oil refinery and smuggling at the Colombian and Peruvian borders. Motorists reported widespread price gouging, with per gallon costs running as much as...
Airlines flying Ecuador’s national routes have announced plans to purchase new aircraft. The purchases are partly the result of a presidential order, issued in April, that airlines improve service and safety. According to the government, passenger air miles have grown 12% a year between 2000 and 2009, with the number of passengers flying rising from...
Reporting on his visit to Cuenca last year, Times of London travel writer Joshua Wellesey remarked, “I think I can safely claim that this charming little city has more culture per square inch than any place in the Western Hemisphere.” One of Wellesey´s notable Cuenca experiences was attending a performance by the Cuban National Ballet in the Banco...
President Rafael Correa starts a second term on Monday promising "21st century socialism" for Ecuador, but his clashes with investors may jeopardize trade and deter financing he needs to reverse an oil output slump. He also faces a drop in popular support, according to two recent polls  Correa, a former economy minister, was re-elected in...
Despite a looming budget crisis, officials of Cuenca’s new government say they will not postpone their efforts to reduce traffic in the city’s historic district. Improving traffic conditions and making the district more pedestrian friendly were two of Mayor Paul Granda’s campaign promises and he says he intends to keep them. “We have talked for years about...

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The Cuenca Dispatch

Week of June 16

Noboa’s Government Moves to End Fuel Gasoline Subsidies, Highlighting Inequities for Low-Income Groups.

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Cuenca-Girón-Pasaje Road to Temporarily Close for Pipeline Replacement.

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Ecuador to Initiate Construction of $52 Million ‘Bukele-Style’ Prison to Combat Organized Crime.

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