Cell service will not be interrupted; Cuenca Orchestra looks for new home; Zamora refuses photo radar mediation; Tattoo parlors, health clinics warned

Jul 5, 2023 | 2 comments

Despite social media reports that Ecuadorians will soon be without cell phone connections, the Telecommunications Regulation and Control Agency (Arcotel) said there will be no interruption in service. “While we continue negotiations with cell and internet providers, there will be not stoppage of service. Rumors that the services will end is incorrect.”

Last week Arcotel announced it was suspending talks with the country’s cell providers, Spanish Telefónica Movistar and the Mexican Claro, saying it would not renew the concessions unless the companies make major adjustments in their proposals.

The Cuenca Symphony Orchestra is looking of new practice and administrative facilities.

In a statement, Arcotel said the disputes with Movistar and Claro are “part of the discussion process” and that talks will resume soon. “There will be no cessation in current service since this is prohibited in the current contract. Even if there is a change in providers, there are protocols protecting customers.”

The statement added that issues in dispute with Movistar and Claro include expansion of coverage areas and the addition of new technology.

Cuenca Orchestra looks for a new home
The Cuenca Symphony Orchestra is looking for a new home following the Ministry of Culture’s decision to transfer the current facilities to the Ministry of Education. “We are working with the orchestra to find suitable administrative and practice facilities,” said Culture Minister María Elena Machuca, adding that the current facility, the old Borja school adjacent to the Central Bank and Pumapungo museum on Calle Larga, is “inadequate and falling apart.”

The current facility will be renovated for use by the Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (Senescyt).

“The Ministry of Culture remains fully dedicated to supporting the Cuenca Orchestra since it one of three government-funded orchestras in Ecuador,” Machuca said. “We have met with Mayor Cristian Zamora and he has pledged to support our efforts in finding a suitable facility and location.”  

Mayor refuses photo radar mediation
Cuenca Mayor Cristian Zamora has rejected a request for formal mediation by the Movil Tecnología Consorcio, the company that installed and monitors photo radar units on several high-traffic streets. Zamora claims that the contract with the consortium signed by the previous city government was illegal. He said the city transportation office is proceeding with plans to dismantle some of the photo radars.

Juan Carlos Salazar, legal advisor to the consortium, claims that the contract is legal, and that the city would face “substantial penalties” if it ends the agreement unilaterally. “There are no irregularities in the contract, as the mayor says. It was carefully reviewed at the time of the signing and found to be fully valid,” he said. He added that Zamora should be aware of the fact that the unilateral decision by former mayor Marcelo Cabrera to terminate a tranvia costruction contract cost the city millions of dollars in a legal judgement.

Salazar is requesting the city and the consortium enter into a mediation process, hosted by the Attorney General’s office.

Tattoo parlors, alternative health clinics warned
The National Agency for Regulation, Control and Health Surveillance (Arcsa) is warning the country’s tattoo parlors, aesthetic services clinics and alternative health clinics that they must follow health and sanitary protocols or face losing their operating licenses. Arcsa administrators say it has shut down more than 50 businesses since the beginning of the year for health violations, including at least four in Cuenca.

“All commercial services operating under our jurisdiction are obligated to follow the rules and protocols mandated in the Organic Health Law,” Arcsa said in a statement. “Our agents have found numerous violations and have issued hundreds of citations and have closed a numbrer of businesses for unsanitary conditions and performing procedures inappropriately. It is essential that the public be protected.”

In addition to sanitation violations, Arcsa said its agents have discovered “numerous cases” where injections and infusions have been applied “without proper procedures and protections.” An area of particular concern, Arcsa said, was the overuse of anesthetics.

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