Election plans complete, rules explained; Ecuador & Cuenca rank high as expat destinations; Businesses complain of extortion; Pickleball gains popularity

Jan 24, 2023 | 9 comments

Lunes, 23/1/2023
Hola, Todos –

Actividades –

De El Mercurio del domingo, 22/1 1 article):
De arcilla y creatividad (Of clay and creativity) – Navigating the dreams of Edward Segovia is to take a long journey of years of dreaming and doing. The galleries of the CIDAP museum are showing his path from a curious child playing with clay in the convención del 45 to an adult living the same atmosphere of clay.

Titular – 

CNE deja todo listo para las elecciones (CNE is ready for the elections) – The 2nd and last election simulation was completed ayer at the Manuela Garaicoa de Calderón School in preparation for the February 5 election. It included a simulated bomb threat after which the site was evacuated and left in charge of the Fuerzas Armadas (FF.AA. – Armed Forces) and the Policía Nacional. The Grupo de Operaciones Especiales (GOE) and the Unidad de Mantenimiento del Orden (UMO) also responded. Teodoro Maldonado, director of rhe CNE (Consejo Nacional Electoral) said it was a complete simulation of election day with the purpose of measuring times, testing systems, and applying emergency plans. <Like what to do if there’s a bomb threat.>

National Election Commission workers prepare the ballots for the February 5 election. There will be 271 voting locations in Azuay Province. (El Mercurio)

The 271 polling places in Azuay were activated to confirm that they will be adequate and ready for voting. There are some changes from the last elections. There will be 5 rather than 4 people at the Juntas Receptoras del Voto (JRV) and two containers to deposit your ballots. One will be for the sectional candidates, and the other for the members of the CPCCS and the referendum. Maldonado explained that of the 271 polling places, 100 will be converted to Centros de Digitalización de Actas (CDA – Records Digitization Centers). The other 171 polling stations will give their results to the Policía Nacional to take to the CDAs where all information will be collected and then transmitted to the Centro de Procesamiento Electoral (CPE). The CPE is in the Huayna Cápac school, near the U. de Azuay. There, the 5 members of the Junta Provincial Electoral will receive the data from the CDA and issue the preliminary results after 20:00.

Quick overview points:
Businesses conducting exit polls can not give results before the CNE in order to prevent confusion.
Representatives of political organizations can send observers to see the vote counting and transmission of results.
You can download the CNE App to find out where your polling station is and to see the candidates.
36 people registered with CNE for the Vote at Home Program in Azuay.
The CNE has ballots in braille for the election of mayors and prefects. <I wonder if those will have the candidates’ pictures on them?>
Each JRV will have 3 substitutes who need to show up at the polling stations in case main members don’t show up.
The electoral kits will be delivered to Azuay el 26/1 and then distributed to the 15 cantons.
Each member of the JRV is paid $40, up from the previous renumeration of $20.
The candidates for Mayor of Cuenca can spend $179,420 of their own funds in their campaigns.
1,200 members of the Policía Nacional received training on how to transport the ballots to the Centro de Digitalización de Actas (CDA). <In black garbage bags duct taped to the back of a moto?>

Cuenca –

From the Sunday Ellas & Ellos magazine de El Mercurio de domingo, 22/1 (1 article):
San Andrés – Una cafetería en Cuenca libre de gluten con productos a base de yuca (San Andrés – A gluten-free cafeteria in Cuenca with cassava-based products) – Husband and wife owners Andrés Jara y Paulina Reinoso say they don’t just cook the yucca and fry it. They process it to get a dough which they use to make pizza, burritos, waffles, bizocho, and breakfasts. They also make a lasagna from maduro with salprieta manabita (a seasoned, ground peanut and corn condiment from Manabí. San Andrés is at Miguel Moreno 5.52 y Roberto Crespo and open from martes a sábado from 8-12:00 & 16-20:00. <Interesting – breakfast and supper but no lunch.> You can make reservations by calling 0988691982.

De El Mercurio del domingo, 22/1 (1 article):
Cuenca se ratifica como ciudad para jubilados (Cuenca ratifies its status as a city for retirees) – Ecuador is in the top 5 countries for retirement in 2023 according to International Living. To create the list, the magazine analyzed 10 categories which were housing, benefits and discounts, climate, development, visas and residency, entertainment, health services, government, opportunity and cost of living. The analysis was based on opinions and experiences of people already living in the countries. The top retirement locations were Portugal, México, Panamá, Ecuador and Costa Rica.

Edward Lindquist is one of the expats who retired from a corporate job and came to Cuenca 9 years ago. He now publishes “Cuenca Expats Magazine,” oriented to the community that speaks little Spanish <Like this column>. As an affiliate of the Cámara de Comercio Ecuatoriano-Americana (AMCHAM), the magazine provides a bridge between the ‘expats’ and those with businesses in Cuenca. From the research he has done, Lindquist says that of the North Americans who have come to Ecuador, 50% picked Cuenca and the other 50% picked Guayaquil, Quito and other cities. He said that about 10,000 foreigners live in Cuenca. Of those 95% come from the US and Canada and 5% from other countries. <How does that 5% include the thousands of Colombians and Venezuelans?>

Of the expats, 25% have bought a condo or house. This data was from information to which Lindquist has access about visa proceedings and US Migration. He said this translates to about $360 million in local economic support annually from the approximate 10,000 “expats,” who have an average retirement of $3,000/month. The expats also contribute financially to charity organizations.

Other expats have opened businesses in Cuenca. Adam Burton, originally from Texas, moved to Cuenca 10 years ago and is the owner of the “Café San Sebas” in parque San Sebastián. He said his customers are 60% Cuencano and 40% foreigners and tourists. He said the city is clean, safe, with pure water, a good climate, Tranvía service, bike paths, mercados and organizes cultural activities. Terry Trimble, an electrical engineer, agrees. He has been in Cuenca 6 years and has a chocolate business with his partner Isabel Gutama.

Sucesos – 

Casos de extorsión o “vacunas” sin freno en Cuenca (Cases of extortion or “vaccines” unchecked in Cuenca) – Paying “vacunas” (protection money) is keeping inhabitants of Cuenca and Azuay on edge. Most cases are not being reported for fear of reprisals. Even so, the Policía Nacional is insisting that victims report the crime to the Azuay Prosecutor’s office. Businesses in sectors such as the Feria Libre have organized to fight criminal gangs who try to frighten business owners with threats. The owners met el último jueves to coordinate actions against the extortionists after they didn’t get any positive responses from the police. One alternative would be to install community alarms managed by the business owners. Currently, there are closed circuit security cameras which can be monitered by cellphone.

One owner said that he was approached by “vacunadores” (vaccinators) who demanded $50 to be paid every month. He added that the extortionists demanded money from another businessman who refused to pay. His store was robbed in retaliation. Another owner said they were indignados (outraged – your word for the day) because when they call the police no one comes. He said the owners need to identify the “vacunadores” and warned that they would stop them when they came and take matters into their own hands. <That would probably result in burned up motos and beaten up “vacunadores.”> Sex workers are also victims of extorsion. One woman reported that she had to pay $20 for security around the Terminal Terrestre. She said another worker refused to pay and was assaulted. <Sex workers could take “matters” into their own hands and do a Lorena Bobbit on the extortionist.>

Deportes – 

De El Mercurio del sábado, 21/1 (1 article):
En Cuenca también se juega pickleball (Pickleball also played in Cuenca) – You can see pickleball, a mixture of tennis, badminton, and table tennis and which is a traditional sport in the US, being played at the parque Las Candelas. Since it does not involve a large expenditure of physical energy, most of the players are adultos mayores (seniors). Tyler Krieble, retired from the US, commented in his español poco fluido (not very fluent Spanish) about how points are made. <Hey, better to use imperfect Spanish than to insist that the reporter speak English.>

On the court, the language most commonly spoken is English even though 95% of the players are of other nationalities including Canada, Great Britain, Portugal and Venezuela. Krieble and his Cuencana friend, Alexandra Maldonado, have been playing for about a year and half. Recently, retired doctor Ángel Mogrovejo who was a martial artist in this younger days, learned pickleball and has formed a bond with the foreigners that goes beyond sports. Players meet at the Parque de las Candelas los lunes, miércoles, y viernes between 10-14:00.

And that’s all for today so hasta ? –



Editor’s note: Jeanne’s Periodico is a translated digest of news from the Cuenca daily newspaper El Mercurio. If details, such as event dates and times, do not appear in the translation, they did not appear in the newspaper (please don’t ask her for them). The text between the carrots, or guillemets (< … >), is Jeanne’s personal opinion and not part of the news translation.


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