Cuenca prepares for foundation holiday; Photo radars ordered removed; Big crafts fair Fri. and Sat.; Areas at landslide risk; Bad highways protested

Apr 13, 2023 | 4 comments

Miércoles, 12/4/2023

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –

Feria de emprendedores en el Portal Artesanal (Entrepreneurs Fair at the Portal Artesanal) – The “Cuenca del Emprendimiento y la Artesanía” Feria will be this viernes y sábado in the Plaza del Portal Artesanal with 50 entrepreneurs, craftspeople and artists from different parts of the country. Hours will be from 10-19:00.

Titular –

The national Transportation Ministry has given Cuenca 30 days to remove 10 photo radar installations on federal highways. (El Mercurio)

Cuenca, reflejo de progreso (Cuenca, reflecting progress) – Cuenca celebrates 466 years since its foundation, and today’s paper highlights various elements that give identity to the “Athens of Ecuador”: rock, clay, adobe, brick, roof tiles, toquilla straw, wrought iron, wood ovens, ceramics and wood. Sections C, D, & E of the paper feature these elements, and I will translate the headlines, but not the articles. <I don’t want to have to stay up all night doing something you can go to El and read for yourself.>

Cuenca –

30 días para retirar 10 radares (30 days to remove 10 speed cameras) – The Ministerio de Transporte y Obras Públicas (MTOP) has given the municipality 10 days to remove 10 photo radars that were installed on the Circunvalación Sur and av. Enrique Arízaga. These devices started fining speeders on el 3/3. The Empresa de Movilidad (EMOV EP) of the City signed a contract with the Consorcio Móvil Technology Ecuador to install these 10 radars and 32 more. The consorcio plans to invest $7,292,000 over 12 years and will recuperate the investment by keeping 40% of the fines collected.

Matías Abad, governor of Azuay, said he notified Pedro Palacios, the outgoing mayor, to remove this equipment from the arterial roads since they are the responsibility of MTOP. He said the prudent thing would be to shut them down now since they didn’t have permits. Luis Mario Barzallo, subsecretary of MTOP Zone 6, also requested removal because they weren’t authorized for use in the right-of-way. MTOP could procede with the removal with an administrative act if the city doesn’t comply. He said that although the municipality has the responsibility for controlling transit on those roads, all of that type of activity needs authorization from MTOP.

Mayor elect Cristian Zamora reported the 10 radars issued at least 16,000 fines in marzo alone, and collected over $2 million in the one month. To date, there were more than 20,000 infractions and $3 million in fines. He said this was with only 10 radars, so imagine what 32 more could collect. <So for those of you who complain the police don’t ever ticket anyone, why would they need to when a radar camera can do it for them with no risk of violence from the drivers being cited?>

Para el 27 de abril convocan a marcha por vialida del Azuay (March for Azuay’s roads to be held on April 27th) – The members of the Asamblea Ciudadana por la Vialidad del Azuay resolved to call for a march el jueves, 17/4 a las 9:00. The goal of this protest it to demand concrete works to solve the grave conditions of the roads in Azuay. Members included representatives from the Cámara de Construcción de Cuenca, the Sindicato de Choferes de Azuay, Cámara de Transporte de Cuenca, Federación de Barrios de Cuenca and other institutions. The protest will start on av. Solano at Florencia Astudillo and continue to El Vado and La Condamine to Calle Larga to Luis Cordero to the parque Calderón. The march organizers hope other organizations will participate to get the attention of authorities representing the National Government.

De El Mercurio del martes, 11/4:
Mapa de zonas de riesgo está desactualizado (Map of risk zones is outdated) – Specialists warn that updating the 2010 risk zone map is needed since soil conditions have changed considerably in the last decade. The map, done by the Municipio de Cuenca, determined the 12 of the 21 rural parishes in the canton that are most vulnerable to land instability: San Joaquín, Baños, Sinincay, Octavio Cordero, Sidcay, Llacao, Paccha, Nulti,Turi, Tarqui, Santa Ana y Quingueo. They also have large geological faults which have caused the collapse of houses. The 5 of the 12 urban parishes with risk are Yanuncay, Cañaribamba, Hermano Miguel, Monay, y Machángara. <It would be nice to know if you’re buying or renting a place that might fall down or be buried by the hill that you’re sitting on so you can have that great view. Are slides why rich Cariocas live on the flats and poor ones in the favelas on the hillsides?>

Civil engineer Diego Cabrera, said that moisture, deforestation, expansion of the agricultural frontier, and interventions in unauthorized zones are the main causes of soil instability. He said that the PDOT and PUGS land use and development plans established the city’s stability problems, but a specific risk map is needed. In 2018, the Department of Risk Management determined 60 zones most prone to natural disasters and included danger of flooding as well. The most dangerous urban zones are the ciudadelas Los Trigales y Jaime Roldos; the Los Pinos, Baguanchi, Misicata, Quinta Chica sectors; and the area where the U. of Azuay is located.

Pablo Quizada, civil engineer and hydrology researcher, said in Azuay, the main threats from soil instability are in San Fernando, Santa Isabel y Nabón. La Cría where some hundred houses are in danger of falling due to large cracks that have formed in the soil is between the last two cantons.

Nacional –

Nuevo precio de gasolinas Súper Premium y Ecoplus (New Super Premium and Ecoplus gasoline prices) – On the 12nd <Gotcha – tell me if you figure out how pronounce that date.> of every month, gasoline prices get updated. Súper Premium went down from $4.07/gal. to $3.99/gal. Ecoplus 89 went up from $3.03 to $3.15, and Extra and Ecopais stayed the same at $2.40/gal. These prices will be in effect until 12 de mayo.

Special Section C –

La identidad de Cuenca resalta en cada rincón (Cuenca’s identity stands out in every corner)
Articles about –
The 5th facade: the roofs which give a unique warmth and coziness to the city.
Natural rock: one of the most used materials in construction and in roads in the Cento Histórico.
Paja toquilla: hats from this straw date back to prehispanic times and are a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Wrought iron: the traditional neighborhood for iron workers is in the barrio La Herrerías with its sculpture of Vulcan coming out of a mountain. This is where the huasipichai, usually a cross, are made. At a huasipichana (housewarming), these are put on top of houses when they are complete. <The modern version is installing the satellite dish.>

Special Section D –

Artesanías y arte, esencia de morlaquía (Crafts and art, the essence of morlaquía <which is sort of the essence of Cuenca>)
Articles about –
Women potters and ceramicists: alchemists of clay, water and fire.
Latón (brass): used in patrimonial houses on ceilings with good examples in the Itza Hotel Boutique Internacional and the Casa del Coco.
Brickmakers: the hidden faces of architecture with many brickmakers in Sinincay, Balzay and Los Alisos.
Adobe: found in prehispanic buildings and with benefits of low cost, energy efficiency, easy integration with the ecosystem, and use of local material and techniques.

Special Section E –

Hornos y tallers activan a maestros cuencanos (Ovens and workshops activate cuencan masters) –
Articles about –
Hornos de leña (wood burning ovens): an enduring tool with at least a dozen places that use adobe, brick or rock ovens to cook a variety of food. Todos Santos will resume using their oven in mayo for bread.
Paccha: the parish of bread bakers. You can get your own oven built for $800-1500 depending on the material and size. <Heck, I’ve got the name of the architect who built one for my neighbor.>
Estuco: stucco, made from gypsum, reed and cabuya, is used to mold decorative rosettes, cornices, and ceiling tiles. <Not your standard Armstrong dropped ceiling tiles.>
Embroiderers: who embroider the hems of the polleros worn by Chola Cuencanas, and many other garments.
Wooden doors: which can be seen all over the Centro Histórico, many elaborately carved.

Descuentos y compras –

ETAFASHION – 20% off on fashion and home in the whole store with exceptions and conditions – sábado, 15/4 hasta las 15:00.

Whew – I was only up half the night so that’s all for today. Hasta el 3 de mayo.



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