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Cuenca News

Bus operators say new fare not enough, IMF to visit next week, Correa to be charged Monday

Cuenca bus owners want higher fare

Bus operators Ricaurte SA and Turismo Baños are refusing to sign an agreement raising the Cuenca municipal bus fare to 30 cents, saying the amount is not enough to cover operating costs. The Cuenca municipal council had approve the fare hike in December but it has yet to go into effect due to continuing negotiations with operators. Ricaurte SA and Turismo Baños, which operate almost a third of city buses, say the study that determined the new fare overestimated the number of passengers that ride the bus and did not consider the impact of the tram, which begins operation in 2019. Legal representative of the two companies, Rubén Calle, said the study conducted by the University of Cuenca, based its fare recommendation on an average of 898 daily fares while the actual number is 754. Calle also says that the impact of the tram on bus usage was not considered in the new fare.

Correa to be formally charged on Monday
Former president Rafael Correa

Ex-president Rafael Correa will be formally charged in the kidnapping of a National Assembly member Monday, June 18 at 2 p.m. Criminal Court Judge Daniela Camacho also ordered a legal representative for Correa to attend the hearing although it is unclear who that will be. In previous legal proceedings, Alexis Mera has represented the former president but Mera said that another lawyer, Caupolicán Ochoa, may represent him in the kidnap case. Judge Camacho decided earlier this week that prosecutors provided sufficient evidence to charge Correa in the 2012 kidnapping of Fernando Balda in Bogota, Colombia. In a May 24 video link interview from his home in Brussels, Correa said he did not order the kidnapping and knew little about it.

IMF team to visit Ecuador June 20

Finance minister Richard Martinez reports that a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will visit Quito on June 20 to evaluate Ecuador’s economic situation. The team, led by Alejandro Werner, Western Hemisphere IMF director, will evaluate the country’s investment climate and its ability to repay current and future debt. Martinez says that he and President Lenin Moreno will discuss the extension of a new credit line to Ecuador with the IMF team. “We are also looking to the IMF to offer technical assistance on issues related fiscal regulation of banks and cooperatives,” Martinez said.

Supercom will investigate government abuses against the media

Although President Lenin Moreno has asked the National Assembly to eliminate the media watchdog Supercom, until that happens he wants it to investigate its own past operations. In particular, he wants it to study possible abuses by the previous government of private news media. “I want it to examine actions it took to settle political scores with the media by imposing fines,” President Lenin Moreno said on Wednesday. “Supercom has left a bad impression among Ecuadorians for practices that violated the public trust,” he added. Moreno plans to appoint a new director of Supercom and has submitted a list of candidates to the Council of Citizen Participation and Transitory Social Control (CPCCST) for review.