Jilted by the Cuenca city council, Leonardo Berrezueta has been appointed Azuay provincial governor by President Rafael Correa.
It appeared that Berrezueta was in line to be Cuenca vice mayor but the defection of two Alianza País councilwomen denied him the office. The defectors, Ruth Caldas and Norma Illares, voted for Caldas as did other non-País members of the council.
The incident became a national issue in the wake of País’s Februaury election losses and President Rafael Correa publicly expelled the two women from the party.
As governor, Berrezueta will be the federal government’s representative in Azuay Province. Since one of his jobs will be to monitor project budgets in which federal money is involved, Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera and Provincial Prefect Paúl Carrasco, opponents of País, will be forced to work with him. In Cuenca, federally funded projects include the light rail system, widening of Av. Ordoñez Lasso and the renovation of the football stadium.
In his first interview and press conference, Berrezueta said he would work with the mayor and prefect despite their opposition to the Quito government. “Their mission and mine is to work for the benefit of Cuenca and Azuay Province so I’m sure we can cooperate,” he said. My job is see that the Citizen’s Revolution continues.”
Berrezueta also said he will put priorities on improving public safety and contact with the community, including sponsoring more community meetings. “We need to do a better job of reaching out to the people and understanding their needs and concerns,” he said.
Berrezueta replaces outgoing governor Humberto Cordero, who held the position for two years.
Photo caption: Leonardo Berrezueta.