Assembly ends its impeachment trial against Lasso; Weekend power blackouts suspended; Noboa takes a ride on the Metro, Quito’s new $2 billion subway

Dec 1, 2023 | 0 comments

The National Assembly closed its impeachment trial against former president Guillermo Lasso Thursday after only two days, passing a resolution claiming he diverted public funds and was responsible for embezzlement in the renewal of public contracts.

On Wednesday, the newly seated Assembly reopened the trail that had been suspended by Lasso when his dissolved the Assembly in May with his “cross death” declaration.

The decision to end the trial followed legal advice that Ecuador’s constitution provides no grounds for censoring or impeaching a president who has left office.

On Wednesday, President Daniel Noboa was one of the first passengers to ride Quito’s new subway system, the Metro. He was joined by Quito Mayor Pabel Muñoz and National Assembly President Henry Kronfle.

In its resolution, passed with 116 of  the Assembly’s 137 votes, Lasso was accused of “knowing and consenting to the diversion of public funds” in a contract with the Amazonas Tanker Pool, causing “financial damage” to the country.

Assemblywoman Viviana Veloz, an impeachment proponent, acknowledged the resolution has no legal bearing but claimed it was important for the Assembly to be on record condemning Lasso’s actions.

Weekend power blackouts suspended
There will be no electricity blackouts from Friday, December 1 until Tuesday, December 5, the Energy Ministry said Thursday.

Power outages will be scheduled during daytime hours by local electric utility companies from Tuesday to Thursday, Dec. 7, when the ministry says they will again be suspended for the weekend.

In its announcement, the Ministry said drought conditions continue to restrict power generation at the country’s hydroelectric plants, especially at the Paute River complex in Azuay Province. Under normal conditions, the three generation plants provide about 35% of the country’s electricity. They currently are producing less than 20%.

“Because of recent rains, there has been an improvement in water conditions at all generation facilities, but we continue to operate at an extreme deficit, particularly in the southern inter-mountain valley,” the ministry said. According to new Minister of Energy Andrea Arrobo, there is “no firm date” for an end to electricity rationing.

Noboa takes a ride on the Quito Metro
President Daniel Noboa was one of the first passengers on Quito’s new subway system, the Metro. The president was joined by Quito Mayor Pabel Muñoz and National Assembly President Henry Kronfle, riding the 22-kilometer system from San Francisco Plaza station to the Universidad Central station. He also toured the Metro’s operational facilities accompanied by system managers.

Saying that the Metro was “a long time coming,” Noboa added that the subway puts Quito at the “forefront of transportation design” in South America. “Along with the tranvía in Cuenca, Ecuador is a leader in adopting modern technology to get our citizens around our major cities,” he said.

Constructed at a cost of almost $2 billion, 40% over the original budget, the Metro is almost five years behind schedule in beginning operations.

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