‘Don Naza’ died of a gunshot; Veto of teacher raises faces court review; More electric car ‘quick charge’ stations planned; Complaints of late VAT refunds
Miguel Ángel Nazareno, alias ‘Don Naza’, died as a result of gunshot to the leg, an autopsy shows. First indications were that he was stabbed to death but the National Police autopsy revealed he “died of extensive bleeding” as a result of a bullet that severed the femoral artery in his left leg.
“This is why we conduct autopsies,” said Carlos Cabrera, National Police General Commander. “When the body was recovered we believed death was the result of multiple stab wounds. Due to the amount of blood on the victim we did not notice the bullet wound that led to the death.”
Nazareno’s body was found Thursday morning in Amaguaña parish, south of Quito. According to police, his hands were tied behind his back and the body showed several deep lacerations as well as other signs of torture.
Cabrera reported that videos have been obtained showing Nazareno in the company of three or four other men on Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the murder. The images were taken at a hotel and restaurant south of Quito. At least two of the men have been identified, he said, and a search is underway to locate them for questioning.
Meanwhile, prosecutors are protesting a judge’s ruling to suspend the case against Nazareno, his wife and another associate following the murder. They say that Nazareno’s Big Money financial operation had received more than $10 million from as many as 2,000 investors and much of the money was not returned.
Teachers threaten protests following Lasso veto
Ecuador teacher unions say they may take to the streets following President Guillermo Lasso’s veto of legislation that would have raised wages. First, however, they say they will wait for the Constitutional Court review of the veto.
The Organic Law of Intercultural Education included a new pay scale that would bring teacher salaries in line with those of other public officials but Lasso rejected the change because the National Assembly failed to provide the necessary funding. He claimed the proposed law violated a constitutional requirement that new expenses be offset by a funding source.
Representatives of the National Union of Educators said they were not surprised by the veto and believe the court will nullify Lasso’s rejection and allow the Assembly’s law to go into effect. If that does not happen, the union says its members will stage nationwide protests.
Besides rejecting the veto, the court has the option of accepting the veto, which means new teacher pay legislation could not be introduced for at least a year. The court could also allow a partial veto but make changes to other parts of the legislation, including allowing pay raises to go forward.
Power company to install more electric vehicle charging stations
Centrosur Electric Company announced Friday that it will install three more fast-charging electric vehicle stations on the highway between Cuenca and Guayaquil. Two weeks ago, Centrosur opened its first charging station at the University of Cuenca.
“Electromobility is the wave of the future in Ecuador and the world and we must prepare for it,” said Wilson Núñez, Centrosur executive president. “In the coming years, fast charging stations will replace gasoline stations and Centrosur will be part of this paradigm shift.”
According to Núñez, the new charging stations will have a capacity of 50 kilowatts and can provide an 80 percent battery charge in 12 to 20 minutes. In addition to the University of Cuenca, the new charging stations will be located in the Cajas National Park, La Troncal and Durán.
Complaints mount about late VAT refunds
Ecuador’s Internal Revenue Service admits it has fallen behind in VAT tax refunds for senior citizens and the disabled. SRI said that some refunds, dating back to December, have yet to be delivered. Those eligible for tax refunds on services and products considered essential, can receive up to $102 a month.
“We acknowledge the late refunds in some cases although many of these involve claims that require verification and investigation,” an SRI spokeswoman said. “Like many other functions of government, we have been severely affected by the pandemic, which has disrupted personnel schedules and computer systems.”
The SRI says it expects to catch up on refund payments by May.