Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso and Colombian President Iván Duque announced Sunday that the border between their two countries will reopen December 1. Except for a limited number of transport vehicles, the border has been closed since March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to a joint presidential statement, the Rumichaca Bridge at Tulcán will be the first entry point to reopen, allowing access to all vehicles and residents of both countries who present proper documentation.
In addition to announcing the reopening of the border, Lasso and Duque discussed security issues affecting the two countries, including the fight against drug traffickers. “Our countries share the plague of the illegal drug trade and we have no choice but to work together to combat it,” Duque said at Carondelet Palace on Sunday. It was Duque’s first visit to Ecuador since Lasso took office.
Strong earthquake rocks southern coast
A 4.9 magnitude earthquake was felt throughout much of the coastal region and southern sierra Saturday afternoon. The quake was centered near Pedro Carbo, west of Guayaquil, and was felt strongly in Guayaquil, Durán, Samborondón and Daule, as well in coastal communities in Guayas and Manabí provinces. It was also felt in parts of Azuay, Loja and Cañar Provinces to the east.
According to local emergency officials, some minor damage was reported to structures near the epicenter but there were no injuries.
Korean firm to operate Manta airport
The Korea Airports Corporation said Friday it expects to sign an agreement this week to manage the Manta Airport. The multi-year arrangement includes management of both air freight and passenger services through 2051.
According to a spokesman for the Korean company, Manta is expected to experience rapid growth as an import and export center in the coming years. “Our expectations are that the Manta airport will become second only to Guayaquil for receiving and sending air freight shipments between Ecuador, China, Korea, Japan and other Far East destinations. In addition to Ecuador, goods received at the airport will be forwarded to other countries in South America.”
Cuenca Guitar Festival begins today
The Cuenca Guitar Festival opens today at the Casa de Chaguarchimbana with a series of lectures, recitals and sales of locally made guitars. Monday’s events include a master guitar class at 4:30 p.m. and a concert featuring festival director Bolívar Ávila and Vanesa Freire at 7 p.m. Sales kiosks of guitars made in Cuenca and San Bartolome will be open throughout the day, beginning at 10 a.m.
According to Ávila, Casa de Chaguarchimbana, on the Plaza del Herrero, was the home of Antonio Soler, the man credited with bringing the guitar arts to Cuenca. Soler arrived in Cuenca from Madrid in 1792, appointed city treasurer by the Spanish crown. A concert guitarist and harpist, he offered lessons to Cuenca children and gave recitals at local churches. Through his influence, the guitar-making tradition began in Cuenca and nearby communities.
The festival continues through Saturday, November 29.
Cuenca supports gay rights
“Cuenca No Discrimina” is the slogan given to Cuenca’s campaign welcoming members of the LGBTI community. In a Friday ceremony at the municipal building on Parque Calderon, city officials and gay rights representatives signed an agreement to work together to fight discrimination and to expand opportunities for gays and trans-sexual people.
“We welcome the municipality’s support for the right of all people to dream without fear and to live in freedom,” said Jorge Betancourt, president of the Verde Equilibrante Foundation, part of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Network of Ecuador.