Ex-comptroller posts $14 million bail in Miami; PanAm highway repairs make slow progress; Law requires more women, youth on ballot; School masking rules
Hola, Todos –
Sigue la indefinición (Indecision continues) – See Wednesday’s article in CHL for more information.
Lineamientos del Ministerio de Educación (Ministry of Education Guidelines) – The Ministry of Education has set out guidelines for the use of masks and selfcare and hygiene in all schools and school buses in the country. Masks are not required in open spaces such as patios, gardens, and open or covered sports courts except for someone who has symptoms of respiratory infections. It is recommended that people with aggravated or vulnerable conditions use masks in open areas. Masks are also recommended in closed spaces, but parents or guardians can decide if students will wear a mask or not.
For adults, the use of masks will be regulated internally depending on the reality of each institution. The use of masks and hand disinfection is recommended while riding the school bus. Students and teachers who are showing respiratory symptoms should not go to school until the symptoms go away or until they can show a negative antigen or PCR test.
Mujeres y jóvenes integrarán listas (Women and young people will be on lists) – In Azuay, parties and movements are getting ready for their internal elections and also for complying with the percentages of women and youth according to the Ley Orgánica Electoral y de Organizaciones Políticas (Comprehensive Law for Elections and Political Organizations). This law determined that the midterm elections on 5/2/2023 need to have women at the top of at least 30% of their lists (slates), and that 25% of their candidates are young people. <At my age, young is anyone under 55. But I don’t think that would comply with this law.> Parties not meeting these requirements will not be allowed to participate in the elections.
The electoral calendar calls for internal voting (“primaries”) between 22/7 and 5/8/2022 and for registration of candidates between 22/8 and 20/9. In the 2025 general elections, the number of women at the top of the lists must be 50%. These percentages will be a big change from the 2019 midterm elections in which the participation of women was minimal. Of the 1,875 candidates for mayors, only 249 were women. <You should be able to do your own math to get the percentage. Shame on your math teachers if you can’t.>
Nuevos daños a la tubería en Checa (New pipeline damage in Checa) – The Junta Administradora de Agua Potable y Saneamiento (JAAPS) Regional San Andrés de Checa in Cuenca reported new damage in pipelines leaving various sectors of Checa without water for 3 days as of ayer. Mario Fajardo, president of the organization said that these constant breaks were because of the construction of curbs on the vía Checa Ochoa León. They have installed 36 pipes in 2 weeks and now there’s another break. He said that sometimes, they are not notified in time about the breaks and mud and dirt enter the lines causing serious problems with supplying water.
Recursos hídricos (Water resources) – The Ministerio del Ambiente, Agua y Transición Ecológica (MAATE) announced that the process of designing the Ley Orgánica para la Gestión Integrada de los Recursos Hídricos (LOGIRH) has started. Technicians are going to all of the provinces to receive citizen input. The announcements for the provincial debates are on the web page www.ambiente.gob.ec. <So if you’re one of those folks who likes to complain about or show off your superior knowledge about everything and anything, here’s your chance to spout off about water, and what “they” ought to be doing.>
Cierre vial impacta a negocios (Road closure impacts businesses) – The communities between Azogues and Biblián are urging the repair of the stretch of the Panamericana (E35/E40) that collapsed when the río Burgay rose. <I guess God wasn’t willing and the creek did rise.> The Ministerio de Transporte y Obras (MTOP) is expecting to restore normal circulation in 5 weeks. 80 meters of one lane near the old railroad bridge in the San José sector collapsed last 20/4. People in Biblián have 2 options to get to Azogues — walk for some minutes to cross the damaged area and catch a city bus or go back to the north end of Biblián and take the vía rápida Cuenca-Azogues-Biblián which is now carrying heavy traffic loads during rush hours. <So the vía rápida is temporarily mis-named.> Businesses along the route are suffering both from lack of customers and the inability of suppliers to get to them.
MTOP has channeled the river as part of its first actions after the emergency declaration was issued. Paúl Ramírez, provincial director of MTOP explained that they are currently building a muro de escolleras (breakwater or sea wall — I like this for the word of the day. Sounds impressively technical.) with rocks from the Tamuga hill in Azuay. The wall is 4 m. high and 80 m. long. Next, they will place material to repair the road structure. Later they will protect the abutments of the railroad bridge which is just a few meters from the area that collapsed. The bridge is considered part of the country’s patrimony. <Part of history when Ecuador had a functioning but short-lived railroad system.>
Exigen mejorar acceso a Zhucay (Demands for improved access to Zhucay) – Residents of Zhucay and the communities of Tutupali Chico and Tutupali Grande protested at the tollbooth of the Empresa Asfaltar EP, a business of the Azuay provincial government. They want to improve the 8.1 km. of road in those sectors of Tarqui parish. They demanded suspension of the tolls until the road is rehabilitated. It is currently full of potholes and areas that have subsided. Asfaltar EP assumed this committment in marzo, 2022 after meeting with community leaders. It has a budget of $723,000 for road maintenance projects.
A Carlos Polit le dan arresto domiciliario al pagar USD 14 millones (Carlos Polit given house arrest upon payment of $14 million) – A deal in which Carlos Pólit, the ex-comptroller, paid $14 million to be able to defend himself in freedom and to lower his bail which had originally been set at $18 million, was accepted by Jacquiline Berra, a judge in Florida. She also ordered him to wear an electric ankle bracelet, house arrest in his daughter’s house, restrictions on visitors, surrender of his passports and other travel documents, and appearing before judicial authorities periodically. Another condition the US authorities imposed was that the bail money was obtained legally. Polít’s lawyer pledged that the real estate backing the bail would not be returned if it was proven that the properties were obtained fraudulently. The bail is being guaranteed with real estate belonging to Polít’s 2 sons.
The elder Pólit was charged in Ecuador with concusión (soliciting a bribe) in connection with the Odebrecht case, but found innocent. <Most of Congress would probably be in electronic ankle bracelets if someone did enough digging on where they got their money and campaign funding. But taking money from corporations in the US is legal as long as you don’t actually say, “Now how did you want me to vote on this law?>
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.