Cuenca recovers from Saturday floods; India’s Covid crisis slows vaccine shipments; Evangelicals plan abortion referendum; Is Moreno Miami-bound?

May 10, 2021 | 16 comments

Cuenca and much of the southern sierra were drying out Sunday from flooding resulting from heavy rains Friday night and Saturday. The Rios Yanuncay and Tarqui overflowed their banks in several locations, flooding low -lying streets and homes while other neighborhoods were flooded by runoff. According to municipal utilities company ETAPA, the areas receiving the most damage were the Miraflores park sector near Av. Las Americas, Bellavista, San Joaquín, Baños and Sayausí.

Flooding was widespread Saturday throughout Ecuador, including in the village of Arajuno on the Cononaco River in Pastaza Province.

The Citizen Guard warned residents to stay away from river banks and forcibly removed several families attempting to fish and wash clothes on the Tomebamba and Machángara Rivers. Neighbors in several neighborhoods complained that flooding was the result of clogged storm drains and said they have warned ETAPA of the problem.

Rain was general throughout Ecuador on Saturday and flooding was also reported in Pastaza, Manabí, and Bolivar Provinces.

India’s Covid-19 crisis slows vaccine shipments
The Ministry of Health says that the Covid crisis in India will delay the arrival of 1.5 million vaccine doses for 10 days to two weeks. The delay affects the Sinovac, Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines but the ministry said those doses, previously expected this week, will arrive by May 24.

Health Minister Camilo Salinas reported Friday that Ecuador has made arrangements for more than enough doses to vaccinate the entire population but arrival times of shipments is uncertain. “A situation like the one we are seeing in India disrupts schedules but we remain confidant that we will receive most of our orders by July,” he said. Last week, he recently announced the purchase of the Russian Sputnik V and U.S. Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Evangelical groups push referendum to reverse abortion ruling
Catholic and protestant evangelical groups in Guayaquil say they will soon began collecting signatures to overturn the Constitutional Court’s ruling legalizing abortions in cases of rape. The Christian Council of Faith, Life and Family said it is collecting information on the court’s decision before it writes the questions for a national referendum. Francisco Loor, pastor of the Evangelistic Center of the Assemblies of God, said the council filed an appeal Friday with the court asking for a detailed explanation of the ruling. “If the people of Ecuador have a choice, they will overwhelmingly reject abortion in all cases, including for the reasons expressed by the court,” he said.

The Council for Women’s Rights, based in Quito, said it expected the effort to overturn the court ruling but says it cannot begin until the National Assembly rewrites the law incorporating the ruling. In a statement, the Council said it is not worried about a referendum. “Public opinion polls consistently show that 60 to 70 percent of Ecuadorians support a woman’s right to an abortion in cases of sexual assault.”

Moreno could be headed to Miami
When he leaves office later this month, President Lenín Moreno may join the faculty of Florida International University in Miami. According to Secretary of Communication Andrés Michelena, Moreno has been offered an adjunct professorship at FIU’s Center for Democratic Studies. Michelena said that the invitation includes both research and teaching on governance issues in Latin American. Moreno was in Miami last week to participate in a hemispheric conference on democratic strategies.