Bus, truck drivers join protest but maintain service; Business suffers millions in losses; Communities isolated by roadblocks; Corpus Christi is a success
Hola, Todos –
Presidente amplía estado de excepción (President expands state of emergency) – See today’s (Tuesday) article in CHL for story.
Casa de la Cultura se declara en resistencia (Casa de la Cultura declares resistance) – Martín Sánchez, president of the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana (CCE) Núcleo del Azuay anounced that the institution will join the days of protest against the national government. He rejected the raid conducted by the Policía Nacional and AG’s office in Quito to look for explosives in the CCE offices. Nothing was found, but police decided to use the offices as a resting place for members of the Unidad de Mantenimiento del Orden who are controlling the protests. He said the police action of requisition is inconstitutional since seizure for occupation can not be done with patrimonial properties. Sánchez was joined in the call for police and military to leave the facility immediately by the presidents of the 24 other provincial branches of the CCE.
Transporte se une a las jornadas de protesta (Transportation joins the days of protest) – The 7 branches of public and commercial transportation in Azuay joined a peaceful protest that left San Blas a las martes. There were representatives from bus transport, taxis, mixtos, vans, light cargo, heavy cargo, and tourist services. Their main demands are a reduction in fuel and parts prices, and a review of fares.
Busetas escolares respaldan reclamos (School buses support claims) – The Federación de Transporte Escolar e Institucional (FENATEI) is also joining the protests. According to Mauro Viñanzaca, president of th union, the claim is against the high cost of living and lack of medicines in the public hospitals. Also FENATEI has some 900 members who have not been able to get loans offered by the government for reactivation in spite of it’s being one of the most affected sectors due to the suspension of in person classes during the pandemic. They have not suspended service since the marches and protests have been outside of the union’s working hours. <Does that sound like having your cake and eating it too? Or they just need to work to recover pandemic losses.>
Buses urbanos van a movilización (Urban buses go to mobilization) – The Cámara de Transporte de Cuenca (CTC) which has the 475 urban buses serving Cuenca announced it will join the protests. It’s president, Diego Idrovo, said bus service will not be suspended so as not to affect the mobility of the residents of Cuenca, most of whom use the bus to get around. <Plus the CTC is still trying to recover from losses due to the pandemic.>
Grave perjuicio a la industria (Serious damage to industry) – Rodrigo Cordero, president of the Cámara de Industrias, Producción y Empleo (CIPEM), believes a dialogue between the Gobierno Nacional and the protesting sectors is needed. He has seen estimates of losses over $50 million in the productive sector. He said these are difficult to quantify and there are other aspects to consider such as the loss of tax revenue to the SRI which impacts the financing to provide government services. He also referred to reduction in employment which is the second biggest worry for Ecuadorians following insecurity and crime. He said in Azuay, the industries most affected by the strike are those that need primary materials and fuels that have to be brought from other provinces.
Cierre de vías aisla a cantones del Azuay (Road closures isolate Azuay cantons) – Azuayan cantons are on the verge of being isolated by the protests with road closures increasing in all parts of the province since the beginning of the 2nd week of protests. Areas in the río Jubones watershed are feeling the stresses of the strike. There are serious problems for milk trucks and those carrying basic necessities in getting in and out of Girón. This is due to the closure of the Cuenca-Girón-Pasaje at Tarqui in Cuenca, and at Santa Marianita in Girón. The calm that the eastern cantons were experiencing changed ayer when the Panamericana was blocked near the redondel at El Descanso, and near the Guangarcucho bridge at the access to the Jadán parish of Gualaceo. Intercantonal buses had to stop running. Some passengers opted to walk a few minutes to transfer to get to their destinations. Gustavo Vera, mayor of Gualaceo, thought that the road closures would increase the risk of economic losses to the canton and neighboring areas. He also predicted a serious shortage of products this week if the conditions didn’t change. Sígsig was cut off from Cuenca as of noon today when La Comuna Indígena San Sebastián joined the strike and closed access roads for 24 hours with a possibility of extending the closure. The vía Cuenca- Molleturo-El Empalme at km. 55 in the Molleturo sector, the road was closed at noon ayer. However, this was due to a rock slide. <But did they fall or were they pushed?>
Corpus, un “refugio” de paz y fe de cuencanos (Corpus Corpus, a “refuge” of peace and faith for Cuencanos) – Since the start of Corpus Christi in Cuenca, the sweets vendors have not stopped working. In spite of the strike and lack of political agreement, Cuencanos are taking advantage of the nights to buy sweets, watch the burning castillos, and listen to bands. This religious festival started el 16/6 and will end el jueves, 23/6. One vendor whose family has been selling dulces for 3 generations, is expecting that they will be selling sweets until el domingo, and God willing, be back next year.
Construción de estación sur iniciará en dos semanas (Construction of south station to begin in two weeks) – In the coming days, the construction of an intermodal transfer station at Control Sur Baños will begin and will take about 2 months with the construction of the station at Milchichig following immediately. Passengers from Baños and Ricaurte can transfer to the Tranvía as part of the operational and technical integration process. This process should be completed towards the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023. Councilman Diego Morales is expecting an all electric Tranvía trunk line with the purchase of 12 electric buses as feeders to the ends of the Tranvía. The buses will have card readers compatible with the Tranvía. Morales is also waiting for information from the CTC including the mapping of the bus card so it can be read by the Tranvía system and vice versa. So far the city has delivered the subsidies but has not received the requested information.
The CTC responded that a consultant was hired and directed by EMOV to study the terms of reference for all integration scenarios and that EMOV will receive that information and not the CTC. Regarding the integration of the systems, Idrovo said that there are technical and legal criteria since the intention is to combine a public (Tranvía) with a private (bus) collection system. He added that the bus companies installed a collection system in 2011 according to the governing Ordinance, and invested a lot of money on it. He viewed the electric feeder buses with worry since there are issues to be clarified such as the fares, subsidy and maintenance of the fleet. <And since it looks like the city is doing an end run around the CTC if it winds up owning and operating the electric buses. I wonder if it will be as easy to send passengers flying into the aisles with an electric bus as it is with a diesel bus?>
And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –