Drought, weather extremes take toll on farmers; Wildfires spread; Hottest day on record; New election in parish where voters said ‘none of the above’

Oct 10, 2023 | 0 comments

Lunes, 9/10/2023

Hola, Todos –

Titular –

Balotaje: semana decisiva (Ballot: decisive week) – Voting will begin el 15/10 a las 7:00. More than 13 million Ecuatorianos are registered to vote. <Wow – 3/4 of the population is registered to vote.> To review the work plans of the candidates, go to https://www.cne.gob.ec/. <I’m curious – how many gringos are both registered to vote and either have voted in the past or will vote in this election? Am I translating election articles for only a handful of people who are actually involved in the electoral process?>

Informe –

Farmers in the Tarqui parish, south of Cuenca, have been hard-hit by drought conditions and temperature extremes. (El Mercurio)

La alteración climática impacta en agricultura (Climate change impacts agriculture) – Climate change has been felt more strongly this past year and is taking its toll on agriculture and ranching. High temperatures during the day and frost at night and in la madrugada <Remember that word from yesterday? If you don’t, there’s always the translation program.> have damaged pastures and land in rural zones of Cuenca. One of these zones is Chilcachapar in Tarqui parish, 20 km. south of Cuenca, where the residents frequently cope with water shortages, the lack of a sewer system and irrigation: The drought has only aggravated the problems. Manuel Gallegos, president of the community, said the majority lives on ranching and agriculture and now they are hoping/waiting for the will of God to see if he brings them water. <This might be one of the “be careful what you wish for” times since the water could come in the form of serious flooding.>

HIgh quality grass to feed the cows is scarce so milk production has dropped from 30 liters per day to 15. This is happening in other communities as well. In addition to lack of water, there isn’t any land to rent to graze their animals since the frosts are burning the pastures. This is also affecting home gardens. <Maybe you’d better get used to using that powdered white stuff in your coffee.>

Incendios son más frecuentes y severos (Fires are more frequent and severe) – According to the Plan Nacional de Sequías (National Drought Plan), forest fires are more frequent and intense due to climate change. Between 2012 & 2019, over 80% of the fires in Ecuador were in the Sierras, 18% were at the coast and less than 2% in the Amazon and Galápagos. Data from the Secretaria Nacional de Gestión de Riesgos (National Secretariat of Risk Management), showed 2,335 forest fires affected a total of 27,904.91 hectares in 2020. The provinces with the most areas burned were Loja with 6,024 hectares, Pichincha with 4,220, and Azuay with 3,177.53. <How can they measure burned areas that precisely?> The diversity of important natural ecosystems were affected as well as agricultural productivity. In Cuenca, on the 16 & 17/9 there were 30 simultaneous fires in 11 rural parishes.

In numbers:
20 rivers, the Tomebamba and the Yanuncay remain in critical low-flow condition.
28 Celsius (82F) was the maximum temperature last sábado, a new all-time record high.
Average river flows this year have diminished considerably compared to past years with the trend tending to more decreases.
40 days without rain in Cuenca. ETAPA is forecasting a low probability of rain by miércoles. <Do the sprinkles we’ve been getting count as rain? Or just Pachamama playing with our hopes?>
43 days is the longest time recorded without rain in Cuenca according to ETAPA data.

Cartoon of the day – the panel shows a bureaucrat sitting behind a desk labeled SNAI (Servicio Nacional de Atención Integral a Personas Adultas Privadas de la Libertad y a Adolescentes Infractores – National Service of Integral Attention to Adults Deprived of their Liberty and Adolescent Offenders – the people who run the prisons). The bureaucrat is asked, “What are you good for?” And he answers, “For picking up cadavers, whole or in pieces.”

Nacional –

Por primera vez repiten voto donde ganó el nulo (For the first time, voting was repeated where the null vote won) – For the first time in Ecuador’s history, an election had to be repeated when the null votes “won” an election for representatives to the Calacalí Parish Junta in Quito.<I don’t know if anyone else finds this funny, but I see this as evidence that democracy is alive and well in Ecuador, where an electorate can say, “We don’t find any of the candidates deserving of our vote.” I bet if a party had run Mickey Mouse, he would have won in a landslide.”>

The Códico de Democracia covers what to do when the number of null votes exceeds the votes for all the other candidates, but in this case, there were 1,882 null votes (48.52%) and 1,806 votes for the 5 lists of candidates (51.49%). <I think they got the numbers reversed as well as the percentages wrong.> This exposed some legal holes in the code with the responsibility of regulating the process falling to the Tribunal Contencioso Electoral (TCE – Electoral Dispute Tribunal). The election was nullified, but there was a question as to at what phase? The final elections, the primaries? The TCE decided to annul the whole election process and go back to the internal elections phase where the political organizations pick their candidates (equivalent of the primaries in the US).

The Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) complied and said that this would obligate the CNE to repeat the call for elections, registration of alliances, the internal elections, registration of candidates, notification and training for the poll workers, the election campaign, and the simulation of the election. <The whole shebang – and now you have the electoral process in Ecuador in one sentence.>

Even though the citizens of Calacalí rejected the candidates and lists (slates) presented in the first round of voting, and preferred to vote nulo, one list repeated all of its candidates and the other 4 included at least one of the candidates who ran in the 1st round. For Medardo Oleas, an expert in elections, the political organizations fielding the same candidates who were rejected in round 1 is a mockery of the voters. José Cabrera, a spokesman for the CNE pointed out that there is no regulation that prevents this repetition since any person has a right for to participate in the democratic process. Because of this, now there is worry about the same thing happening in the presidential elections. Cabrera said that an earlier ruling determined that if a presidential election is annulled, it would not return to the internal election (primary) phase which would imply registering candidates, and emphasized the final decision would be in the hands of the TCE which is the highest body of electoral justice. <I sure hope that a real candidate and not “none of the above” wins. Imagine the international headlines if no one wins the elections on top of the past headlines about the violence and prison riots, etc.>

And that’s all for today so hasta ? –

Jeanne

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