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Cuenca News

Government files Rio Blanco appeal, Three-day holiday weekend, Hiker still missing in the Cajas

Cuenanos head to the beach for holiday weekend

Ecuador’s ministry of tourist estimates that as many 100,000 Cuenca residents are leaving town for the three-day holiday weekend, with most of them headed to the coast. The ministry notes that the exodus is an annual occurrence and that the numbers are enhanced by the school holiday.

Juan Pío Montúfar

So what holiday is this anyway?

Today marks the 209th anniversary of Ecuador’s first attempt to gain independence from Spain, often referred to as the “First shout for independence.” On August 10, 1809 a group of revolutionaries led by Juan Pío Montúfar, Marquis of Selva Alegre delivered a letter of dismissal to Count Ruiz de Castilla, who presided over the Royal Audience of Quito on behalf of the Spanish government. Although the revolutionaries briefly formed a compromise government with the Spanish, their success was short-lived and the Spanish regained full control by 1812. Full independence for Ecuador came in 1822.

Government files Rio Blanco mine appeal in high court

Ecuador’s mining ministry has filed an appeal to a ruling by the Azuay Provincial Court to permanently close the Rio Blanco gold mine in the Cajas Mountains. The ministry claims that the Azuay court erred when it ruled that the residents of the area where Rio Blanco is located were not properly consulted, as required by the constitution, before mining rights were granted to the Chinese company that operates the mine.

Andrea Balseca, undersecretary of industrial engineering, who filed the appeal on behalf of the mining ministry, claims that that no prior consultation with area residents was required for Rio Blanco.

According the ministry, the region that includes Cuenca and Azuay Province, holds one of the world’s largest gold and silver deposits and that proceeds from mining are needed “to improve the lives of all Ecuadorians.”

Cuenca hiker still missing in the Cajas

Search efforts continue for Wilson Serrano, 68, who was reported lost Sunday in the Cajas Mountains, west of Cuenca. On Wednesday and Thursday, drones with video cameras were added to the rescue effort as 47 firefighters, EC 911 personnel and Cajas National Park rangers searched the area where Serrano is believed to have made cell phone calls on Sunday and Monday. Serrano’s family worries that the hiker has suffered an injury, since he has hiked the area for years and is a veteran South American mountain climber. Search teams plan to continue the search on Friday.