Euthanasia debate continues; Electric and hybrid car sales increase; Quito prison raided for electronic equipment; Cops seize cocaine in wood shipment

Mar 19, 2024 | 0 comments

Lunes, 18/3/2024

Hola, Todos –

Titular –

Enfermedades raras en el país suman 106 (Rare diseases in the country total 106) – The death of Paola Roldán on el 12/3 rekindled the debate in Ecuador on rare diseases, the suffering of those afflicted, and the possibility for those patients to opt for suicide. Roldán was diagnosed with ALS, which is incurable, in 2020 when she was 38, and wound up bedridden and on a ventilator. After a long legal battle, the Supreme Court accepted the unconstitutionality of article 144 of the Penal Code and decriminalized euthanasia.

David Jaramillo, sales supervisor at Corporación Maresa in Cuenca, believes the number of electric and hybrid cars sold in Ecuador will grow rapidly, led by Chinese models. (El Mercurio)

Pilar Zambrano, a doctor and specialist in genetics, said that the Ministerio de Salud has identified 106 rare or orphan diseases in Ecuador. She said there is no cure for more than 90% of these diseases, but added that adequate treatment and care can guarantee a better quality of life for these patients. For her the MSP needs to deepen the research into the condition of these patients — economic, mental health, access to medicines and other data. These diseases can create depression and chronic anxiety which can lead to suicide. For Zambrano, the State needs to guarantee the right to suicide always, and after filters have been met that confirm the condition of the patient and that they have the mental capacity to decide.

Paúl Jara, a priest, said that for Catholic Church, life is the fundamental value so that it fights to defend it from birth until death. He noted that dignity has to do with life, so there cannot be a dignified death but a dignified life. When euthanasia started to be proposed worldwide, there wasn’t the same palliative care as now. From his point of view, it’s treated as a medical issue which often responds, like many other issues, to political realities and for that we need to be very cautious. <So how many of you have directives that tell someone to pull the plug on you when the time comes?>

Cuenca –

Incrementa venta de autos eléctricos e híbridos (Sales of electric and hybrid cars increase) – In 2022, 440 electric and 6,559 hybrid vehicles were sold in Ecuador. These numbers increased to 1,825 and 10,452 in 2023, although the total sales are still a tiny proportion of vehicle sales. David Jaramillo, sales supervisor of Corporación Maresa said one of the latest models at Maresa is the Dongfeng Huge <Does that model name mean that this is a Suburban sized SUV, and if so, where the heck can you park it?> which is the first Chinese hybrid SUV in Eucador. It costs about $26,000 and can be charged at home, but it’s slow and takes from 4-5 hours depending on the battery. However, a full charge costs less than $4 compared to $20-$25 for a tank of gasoline.

Electric cars do not pay import duties, IVA, or Impuesta los Consumos Especiales (ICE – Special Consumption Tax – a tax on luxury items). They are subject to the Impuesto de Salida de Divisas (Foreign Exchange Tax) if the vehicle is for private use. According to the Asociación de Empresas Automotrices del Ecuador, the prices for electric cars range from $20,990 to $150,000. <And what do you get for $150,000? Which is probably more than a lot of houses including the garage to park the car in.>

Incremento de oferta a nivel global (Increase in global supply) – Gerardo Alvarado, manager of E-Car, an electric car dealership in Cuenca, said that another factor boosting the electric car market is the growth in global supply. Since 2020, E-Car has sold 30 100% ‘City Spirit’ electric cars. The Chinese car costs between $7,500 & $8,500, has a 100 km. range, and a 4-year guarantee. He said sales are increasing and people, especially youth, are changing their minds about electric cars. One obstacle is that in spite of the increase in sales, there is a lack of charging stations.

Nacional –

Policía incautó cocaína camuflada en madera, lista para Europa (Police seize cocaine camouflaged in wood, ready for Europe) – The Policía Nacional along with the Dirección de Inteligencia y Operaciones de la Aduana Frances (DNRED) and the help of dogs, conducted an operation in which 600 packages of cocaine were found in shipments of wood going to Italy from Guayaquil. <Probably wouldn’t have found a thing without the dogs.> One person was arrested. Police also announced another control operation in Tababela in Imbabura where 200 brick type packages were found hidden in a double floor and interior of a vehicle.

Nueva intervención en la cárcel 4 en Quito este fin de semana (New intervention in jail 4 in Quito this weekend) – Various items of technology were found in an operation in the Centro de Privación de Libertad Pichincha número 2, also known as prison 4. 25 officers and 183 uniformed personnel from the Policía Nacional and Fuerzas Armadas were deployed. <What, no dogs?> Among the items found in were 7 bladed weapons, 8 computers and chargers, a fiber optic cable, 3 routers, electric appliances <coffeemakers? I’m guessing prison coffee is as bad as police station coffee is reputed to be.>, and more. Some of these items allowed internet connections in different cells. The seized items passed into a chain of custody, and part of the procedures included investigation into whether there were connections to other prisons in the country.

And that’s all for today so hasta ? –

Jeanne

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