City plans new sewage plants, upgrades to phone, internet service; Inmates maintain a fish pond and livestock in prison; ‘Country risk’ hits new high
Periodico – viernes, 4/8/2023
Hola, Todos –
It’s going to be a short post – I hit something wrong and one and a half hours of work disappeared. So I’ll recreate those articles and call it quits.
Conciertos gratuitos de la Orquesta Sinfónica (Free Symphony Orchestra Concerts) – The OSC will be performing free concerts until el 18/8 at different venues. It started Friday and will continue el miércoles, 9/8 a las 20:00 in the Teatro Casa de la Cultura with saxophonist Sixto Gallegos and the Ballet andino Causanacunchic. There will also be performances on the 15, 16, 17, & 18/8 a las 11:00 in the hall of the Museo Pumapungo. The performances will also be available online at https://www.youtube.com/user/sinfonicacuenca.
ETAPA: Guangarcucho, prioridad (ETAPA: Guangarcucho, priority) – ETAPA, the largest of the municipal businesses of Cuenca will put the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant in Guangarcucho out for bid by the end of the year. The plant should have been built in 2015 when current plant in Ucubamba reached its capacity. <Must have been the influx of gringos flushing their toilet paper and overloading the treatment plant.> The last bid was suspended after the none of the bidders complied with the established terms of reference. This caused the lenders, Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina (CAF) and the Banco Europeo de Inversiones (BEI) to object to the advancement of the project although the $68 million loan is still in place. María Verónica Polo, manager of ETAPA, said that since revisions and reforms have been made to the 2023 budget, the bidding can continue. She said that there would be no disbursements this year, and that there is a budget of $2.5 million for land acquisition.
The 2nd priority is the repowering and preventive maintenance of the El Cebollar plant which will cost $500,000. An audit for a sewer project for Tutupali will also be contracted. The work will cost $3 million and is considered for the 2024 budget. ETAPA is also planning on improving the land line phone system by changing to SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) technology at a cost of about $1.5 million. This will reduce operation and maintenance costs. Another project is to increase the number of internet service points by 100, in addition to the 597 points currently in different sectors of the city.
Paúl Pañi, a councilman and member of ETAPA’s board of directors said that there will be no rate increases this year. But in 2024, rates will need to be brought into line with the costs of water consumption and treatment as well as for the care of water sources in the buffer zones. He also said that there would be no hiring nor reduction of personnel although there would be reorganizations.
En Penitenciaría una piscina con tilapias (A pond with tilapia in the prison) – <This is your WTF article.> A 3d operation in 15 days was conducted by some 3,000 members of the military and police at the Penitenciaría del Litoral which continues to be under the control of gangs. They entered Pavilions (Wards?) 5, 8, & 12 which are under the control of ‘Las Aguilas,’ ‘Los Tiguerones,’ and ‘Los Fatales’ which is the armed branch of ‘Los Choneros.’ This routine operation turned up weapons, ammunition, and drugs. And it found that inmates in Pavilion 12 had made a pool to grow tilapia for export. There was also a farm with chickens and ducks. <Ecuadorian ingenuity continues to amaze me. The photo in the article shows the pool – it’s full of fish. How did all that get smuggled into the prison? And how did it not get noticed long ago? You’d think crowing roosters and cackling chickens would have gotten someone’s attention. Or did silence get traded for eggs? And how did the prisoners keep the pools from leaking when contractors can’t keep roofs from leaking? This feels like a Monty Python episode.>
Otros casos llamativos (Other noteworthy cases) – <It isn’t rare to find “Mega constructions” inside the prisons in Ecuador. In 2020, prisoners at Turi (in Cuenca) improvised a swimming pool in one of the patios. The prisoners plugged pipes in their pavilion with the basketball court and filled it to a meter deep. A video of prisoners swimming was circulated on social networks and coincided with the Carnaval holiday. In junio de 2023, there was a search at the Bellavista prison in Santo Domingo de los Tsáchiles which turned up the usual stuff: weapons, ammunition, technological devices, and alcohol. It also turned up 2 pigs and 12 fighting cocks. <Actually, this sounds like a project for a sociologist.>
Riesgo país de Ecuador supera los 2.000 puntos (Ecuador’s country risk exceeds 2,000 points) – Ecuador’s country risk closed at 2018 on el 2/8. This is highest in the last 36 months, exceeding even that of Argentina which closed at 2011. The country risk rose 1,304 points from 714 since Lasso’s government took over in mayo de 2021. The perception of risk in the Ecuadorian economy rose in the last few weeks due to the political uncertainty investors feel after the muerte cruzada which dissolved the Assembly was decreed by Pres. Lasso.
And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –