Cuenca – Guayaquil highway is closed indefinitely; Company accused of slavery; Peru requires traveler vaccines; Unconvicted activist killed in prison riot
Hola, Todos –
Cierre indefinido (Indefinite closure) – The roughly 6,000 vehicles which use the vía Cuenca-Molleturo-El Empalme that connects Azuay and Guayas will need to use one of two other routes. These are Cuenca-Azugues-Biblián-Cochancay-El Triunfo which currently carries 6,500 vehicles daily, or the Cuenca-Girón-Pasaje which carries 5,400 vehicles. On este sábado, Marcelo Cabrera, head of the MInisterio de Transporte y Orbras Públicas (MTOP), announced the indefinite suspension of traffic on the Cuenca-Molleturo-El Empalme route. That day, large rocks fell onto Volkswagon at km. 49. 2 people were injured and rescued by the Bomberos de Cuenca. <Bomberos doesn’t mean bombers – it’s the fire department.> The ministry is working on a contingency plan to guarantee passage for people who live in the Molleturo parish and its communities. The ministry is not going to try clean km. 49. It will only keep the road open so as not to affect the community and economic flow, but it does not want to run more risks.
As part of the emergency declaration that is at km. 49, MTOP is planning to contract the stabilization work for an amount estimated at $6 million by the end of the year. Various alternatives were studied including a tunnel of 900 m, or one of 500 m. However, this is still to be defined according to the technical studies. Transportistas said that taking the route through Cañar adds at least an hour more, and the route through El Oro adds about 2 hours. Another driver said going through El Oro isn’t viable due to the bad road conditions.
Peatones no usan pasos elevados (Pedestrians do not use overpasses) – Pedestrians put their lives at risk by not using elevated, underground, or zebra crossing at many locations in Cuenca. El último viernes, a 70 year man was hit and killed by a vehicle on the vía Cuenca-Azogues in Chaullabamba. The Comisión de Tránsito del Azuay (CTA) in coordination with the Unidad de Educación y Seguridad, works on educational campaigns about road safety throughout the year to encourage use of the crosswalks and assume road consciousness. <Those of you my age should know we can’t outrun a car, even if we could see it coming.>
Some of the critical points along the vía Cuenca-Azogues between km. 0 at Control sur and the Guangarcucho bridge are Guzho, Mall del Río, the IESS roundabout and Challuabamba. Some of these sectors have elevated walkways for pedestrians, but are not adequately used. Avenida De Las Américas is another street where pedestrians do not cross properly such as at the Universidad Católica where an elevated crosswalk was built for students to use. Another critical point is De las Américas at the Feria Libre where pedestrians use neither the subterranean crosswalk nor the zebra crosswalks. <Maybe they’d rather risk losing lives or limbs than their wallets.>
Inició mantenimiento en el aeropuerto (Maintenance started at the airport) – The first of 3 shifts to maintain the airport was last weekend. The next will be from 22:00 on el 19/11 to 6:00 on el 21/11, and the 3d will be from 22:00 el 26/11 to 6:00 el 28/11. <Could never schedule that weekend in the US – think of all the Thanksgiving plans that would be screwed up.>
Asesinado en la Penitenciaría (Murdered in the Penitentiary) – Víctor Enrique Guaillas Gutama, an activist for the rights of nature, was killed during the massacre last weekend in the Penitenciaría del Litoral in Guayaquil. He was jailed el 7/10/2021, accused of alleged sabotage during the protest of octubre, 2019. The poor countryman was from the San Pedro de Yumate community in Molleturo Parish in the canton of Cuenca. He was sentenced to 5 years, and without money for a lawyer he was assigned a public defender. On el 3/10/2021, 3 days before his preventive prison sentence expired, he was declared culpable and transferred to the Guayaquil prison. He was scheduled for an appeal hearing el 4/1/2022 and hoped to regain his freedom considering that he was criminalized for protesting and there was no material proof that he was involved as the perpetrator in the damage to police motorcyles and a patrol car. <In all, a sad, sad story, and indicates that not everyone killed was a gang banger.>
Un Festival de Globos Aerostáticos anuncian (Hot Air Balloon Festival announced) – The Mitad del Mundo will be host to the 1st Festival Internacional de Globos Aerostáticos in diciembre of 2022. The festival will last 4 days and 3 nights with 40 giant balloons taking to the air el 3/12/2022 along with 4 dirigibles. This will be the first time for Ecuador to have an exhibition of this scale, and the festival hopes to attract 150,000 tourists from all over the world.
Esperan sentencia favorable para “frenar esclavitud moderna” (Favorable ruling expected to “stop modern slavery”) – There will be a hearing in the Corte Provincial de Santo Domingo de las Tsáchilas on the action of protection by the Defensoría del Pueblo to protect workers, ex-workers, their families, and victims of human rights violations committed by the Furukawa Plantaciones C.A. The Defensoría hopes the judges will apply reparations which will include necessary means for the victims to reach a decent life and the enjoyment of the human rights that were violated for over 5 decades. The defense for those affected also hope that the country will adopt measures to impede the practice of modern slavery by transnational companies headquartered in Ecuador.
The Japanese company, Furukawa, had plantations in Santo Domingo, Esmeraldas, and Los Ríos in which their workers who were mostly Afro-descendant lived in unfit conditions, with insufficient space and without access to basic services. Many could not go to school because of poverty and having to meet production quotas demanded by Furukawa. They were forced to work since infancy. <I hope that Furukawa was hit with sanctions sufficient to beggar the owners and shut the company down.>
Perú impedirá ingreso de personas no vacunadas (Peru will prevent entry of unvaccinated persons) – The Government of Perú announced that as of 15/12/2021, people over 18 who have not completed their Covid vaccinations will not be allowed into closed public spaces. This is to avoid spreading Covid during the holiday season where many parties will be in enclosed spaces. People will need to show their physical or virtual certificates and wear a mask continuously. To now, Perú has applied 37.6 million vaccinations with 16.5 million people receiving both doses. The country has had more than 2.2 million cases and 200,000 deaths.
Austria restringe movilidad (Austria restricts mobility) – Austria has decided to restrict the mobility of those who have not been immunized. Starting today non-vaccinated people will only be able to leave their homes to go to work, school, or for basic necessities such as to buy food, medicine, see a doctor, or go to a vaccination center. <Think that couldn’t happen in Ecuador? It would just be a selective repetition of the early lockdown except for the work and school part.>
Descuentos y compras –
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And that’s all for today so hasta ? –
Editor’s note: Jeanne’s Periodico is a translated digest of news from the Cuenca daily newspaper El Mercurio. If details, such as event dates and times, do not appear in the translation, they did not appear in the newspaper (please don’t ask her for them). The text between the carrots, or guillemets (< … >), is Jeanne’s personal opinion and not part of the news translation.