More than 200 delegates from 33 countries are in Cuenca for the 14th Ministerial Forum on Development in Latin America and the Caribbean. According to the sponsor, the United Nations Development Program, attendees include at least four presidents, in addition to Ecuador’s Guillermo Lasso.
The forum, the first to be held since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, focuses on economic development, with themes of increasing trade with North American, European and Asian countries, attracting new investment and reducing poverty in the region.
In addition, the forum will address the continuing crisis of migration in the Latin America and the Caribbean. Ecuador Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion Esteban Bernal says the issue of migrants requires a “collective” response. “It is impossible for individual countries to deal with the crisis by themselves,” he said. “It is a regional and hemispheric problem that needs a broad response.” He added that the number of migrants is overwhelming social services and educational programs in several countries, especially Ecuador, Colombia and Peru.
In addition to general sessions, UNDP will host a series of break-out discussions aimed at achieving the goals of Agenda 2030, a plan established by the forum in 2017.
The forum began Thursday and continues through Saturday at the Mall del Rio convention center.
Sales show strong growth as economy improves
Sales of taxable goods and services in Ecuador through August showed impressive growth, exceeding those recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic. Between January and August 2022, sales totaled $145.2 billion, an increase of 12% from the same period in 2019.
“This is very encouraging news and indicates the economy continues to improve,” says Internal Revenue Service Director Francisco Briones. “This means the government is collecting more tax revenue and that those who lost their jobs during the pandemic are returning to work. Unemployment numbers are dropping as well as the poverty rate.”
According to Briones, tax collection were $13.6 billion in the first eight months of 2022, 27.2% higher than in 2019.
Top singers perform with the Cuenca Orchestra
The Cuenca Symphony Orchestra and the country’s top vocalists join forces for two concerts commemorating el Día del Pasillo Ecuatoriano, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Poliforo on the Catholic University campus.
The vocalists performing Friday include Paulina Tamayo, Karla Kanora, Sandra Argudo, Fernando Vargas, Beatriz Gil, Cesar Morales and Juan Carlos Cerna. On Saturday, Karla Kanora, Grupo VOICES, Sandra Argudo, Fernando Vargas, Beatriz Gil, César Morales and Juan Carlos Cerna join forces with the orchestra.
The performances are sponsored by the Yanuncay Rotary Club. To purchase tickets, click here.
The Catholic University Poliforo theater is located at Calle Humboldt at Av. De las Américas.
LGBTI groups denounce ex-president’s comments
Following a statement by former President Lucio Gutierrez that homosexuals and “other sexual deviants” should not be allowed to join the Armed Forces and the National Police, dozens of LGBTI groups demanded a public censure from the current government.
“This is the kind of language that can not be tolerated in an inclusive society,” director of Centro Pisco Trans Quito Federation Diane Rodriguez said Wednesday. “We insist [President Guillermo] Lasso condemn this hate speech in the strongest possible terms.”
Rodriguez said that Gutierrez, who was president from 2003 to 2005, presided over one of “the darkest periods” in recent Ecuadorian history. “The man ignored and insulted all calls for human and individual rights, not just those of gay people, during his time in office. We were all happy to see him run out of the country. The man was and remains a complete loser.”