David Morrill

Editor’s note: Cuenca’s Easter soup, fanesca, is considered by many to be the best in Latin America and it is a tradition among Cuencanos to have at least one bowl of it during Holy Week. It is considered so good, in fact, that it was the subject of a cover story in New Yorker magazine...
By David Morrill On September 10, 1783, Cuenca resident Melchor del Valle was convicted by the Spanish Royal Court of murdering his brother Sylvester. The sentence: “Two hundred lashes in the public square, then hanging on the gallows until death.” The court further ordered that, when the body was removed from the gallows, it was...
With the tides of political fortune running inexorably against him, the conventional wisdom is that President Guillermo Lasso’s days in office are numbered. But exactly how his days will end – and even if they will end before his term expires — is very much up in the air. The Correistas and their allies in...
By David Morrill With the notable exception of the Otavalan craftspeople and merchants, no other indigenous Ecuadorian community has maintained its ethnic identity like the Saraguros. Centered around the town of Saraguro, 75 miles south of Cuenca, the Saraguro nation, which numbers between 30,000 and 40,000, has maintained an enduring presence in the rural areas...
By David Morrill and Deke Castleman Where do Cuencanos and expats buy their food? Although Supermaxi, Coral, Super Aki and other modern supermarkets sell their share of fresh produce, meat and fish, the city’s markets, or mercados, continue to be the Cuenca’s main food provider. A recent survey by University of Azuay students showed that...
By David Morrill Although cost and location are probably the biggest considerations when looking for property in the countryside near Cuenca, there are other factors that deserve serious attention, some of which are easily overlooked. What elevation are you comfortable with? What weather do you like? If you plan to garden, what crops do you...
By Sylvan Hardy Expat radio host Ron Gordon is back on the air. In fact, it’s Gordon’s third time broadcasting Café Blues on Cuenca’s Antena Uno (www.antenauno.com), 90.5 FM. His first broadcasts date back to 1995 when he took a break from his law practice in the U.S. to teach English literature and writing to...
The momentum shift was dramatic. Within the span of 24 hours President Guillermo Lasso went from being a man on the ropes, battered and facing near-certain defeat, to being the man calling the shots. On Friday morning, his government was reeling as indigenous strikers held Quito in their grip, marching at will through the city...
By David Morrill and Deke Castleman “Los precios gringos” or gringo pricing, also known as the “gringo gouge” and “gringo tax,” is a hot topic in virtually all Latin American expat communities.  Even in the times of the coronavirus, the subject can raise a stir. The various terms refer to the price you pay over...
By Sylvan Hardy Until the Amazonian ritual of head shrinking disappeared in the early 1960s, almost any head was fair game for shrinking, including those of foreigners. The best-known case is that of young German anthropologist Franz Bosch, who arrived in Cuenca in November 1906 to study the rituals of the Amazonian Shuar community. A...
By David Morrill When the clock ticked over to 2022 Friday night, an observer with an elevated vantage point, say from the Turi overlook or a highrise condo, witnessed Cuenca’s skyline explode with fireworks. At street level, the smell of gunpowder mingled with sawdust smoke from burning año viejo dummies to create an other-worldly scene...
By David Morrill One of the great pleasures that many expats discover in Ecuador is art collecting. Even those who were not collectors back home take up the habit, smitten by the quality, variety, and sheer emotional force of the talent in this small Andean country. Another inducement is that good Ecuadorian art is remarkably...

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The Cuenca Dispatch

Week of May 26

Cleaning and Rock-Filling Work Completed at Coca Codo Sinclair Plant.

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Germany Advises Ecuadorian Exporters to Comply with European Union Standards: Impacts on Cocoa, Coffee, and Palm.

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The True Cost of Extra and Ecopaís Gasoline Subsidies.

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