The Azuay Province Chamber of Tourism of Azuay has embarked on a five month campaign of special events to promote local tourism. Events will include music and dance presentations, special greetings for travelers arriving at Cuenca’s airport and walking tours of the city.
According to Juan Fernando Paredes, chamber president, Thursdays will include the airport greetings, complete with flowers and song, followed in the evenings by musical and dance events in various parts of the city. On Fridays, the chamber will sponsor walking and bus tours. Saturdays will include bus trips to Gualaceo and Chordeleg while Sundays will be set aside for tours of local museums and churches.
The tourism program, called “All in Azuay,” will run through February 2010 but Paredes hopes it will become a permanent fixture. “We have much to be proud of in Cuenca and Azuay Province and this is a way to share our heritage with the world.”
INDIGENOUS REESTABLISH ROAD BLOCKS BETWEEN CUENCA AND LOJA
Indigenous protesters have reactivated road blocks on the Pan American highway, shutting down most travel between Cuenca and Loja. The original blockage had been taken down on Monday following an agreement between CONAIE, the indigenous political organization, and the federal government to hold talks in Quito. The new road block, like others throughout the country, was reestablished following a violent confrontation between national police and the Shuar nation in Ecuador’s Oriente on Wednesday, which left one Shuar protestor dead and scores of others, as well as police, injured.
The original protests were a reaction to the government’s plan to reopen areas of Ecuador to mining and oil exploration. CONAIE claims that the plan, backed by President Rafael Correa, will mean the privatization of water. The government disputes the claim.
The new road blockage is being maintained for several kilometers near Nabon, about 20 miles south of Cuenca. Although most transportation has been halted between Cuenca and Loja, some bus passengers are opting for an hour-long walk between north and south roadblocks to catch other transportation.
CUENCA’S ANNUAL NONVIOLENCE DAY CELEBRATED IN PARADISE PARK
The fourth annual Day of Nonviolence celebration was held at Paradise Park Friday, Oct. 2. The event coincided with the First World March for Peace and Nonviolence which began in Wellington, New Zealand on Friday. The march, which will pass through Ecuador, concludes Jan. 2, 2010 in Punta de Vacas, Argentina.
Cuenca’s activities included participation of students from 12 local schools who formed a large peace symbol at the park. The event was marked by student readings and songs. The Cuenca chapter of the Humanist Movement sponsored the event.
Photo caption: Some travelers opt for the five kilometer hike through roadblocks set up by indigenous protestors on the Pan Am highway south of Cuenca. Photo credit: El Mercurio.