Government outlines plan to fix highways; Slow growth predicted; Thousands to march in student parade; U. of Cuenca students win Microsoft award
Hola, Todos –
I will be taking about 3 weeks off starting this Friday and resume translating on Wed., May 3.
Todo listo para el desfile estudiantil (Everything ready for the student parade) – There will be a parade celebrating the 466th anniversary of the founding of Cuenca el 11/4. The students and teachers will meet in the parque de San Blas at 8:30 and start marching at 9:00 along Bolívar to the plaza de San Francisco. <Who’s going to run the pool as to when they actually start marching?> There will be at least 3,000 students from 31 schools with each school having a theme such as the washerwomen of the Tomebamba, the Chola Cuencana, the Cholas de Piedra monument, and the flower plaza.
“Vamos a transformar al Azuay” (“We will transform Azuay”) – Darío Herrera, minister of Transporte y Obras Públicas was interviewed about the state of the roads to Cuenca. He said he understood the concerns of the Citizens’ Assembly for Azuay’s Roads, but said that a 15-year problem was not going to get solved in 2 months. <Doesn’t seem like there was much time or money spent on solving the problem before it got to be a teenager.> In answer to the question of why a road emergency wasn’t declared sooner, the answer was that an emergency declaration needs an event which leaves cities incommunicado. That event was the earthquake in spite of the constant landslides in Azuay and something about not abusing bypassing normal contracting processes. <The interview got less intelligible from there – or my Spanish suddenly went on vacation before the rest of me.>
He talked about why things wouldn’t be fast, what is budgeted for Azuay, and a new autopista between Cuenca and Guayaquil. He said there will be temporary route for the connection between Azuay and the northern Sierras, which was cut when E35 was buried by the landslide in Alausí. The 34 km. vía Alausí-García Moreno-Guamote will be the temporary bypass and avoid drivers having to go down to the coast and then back up to the mountains. <I did that when I had to drive to Vilcabamba by way of Santa Rosa. The trip took 11 hours, much of it in the dark, over the crappiest “main” road I’ve been on.>
Microsoft premia una aplicación de cuatro cuencanos (4 Cuencans receive prize from Microsoft for an app.) – 4 U. of Cuenca students won a prestigious international competition organized by Microsoft. The Imagine Cup prize of $10,000 was for their PAQHA project which improves conditions for local producers by connecting them directly with local businesses and cutting out the middlemen. They won in the “Earth” category, beating out large universities such as the U. of Washington and the U. of Kansas.
Un catálogo con obras del pintor Marco Martínez Espinoza (A catalog with works by painter Marco Martínez Espinoza) – The U. del Azuay has published “El árbol del paraíso,” a catalogue with works by painter and architect Marco Martínez Espinoza. There is a digital edition you can download from the Casa Editora de la Universidad del Azuay: https//publicaciones.uazuay.edu.ec/.
Se alista la instalación de 16 nuevos foto sensores en vías (Preparation of 16 new photo sensors to be installed on roads) – EMOV will install 16 new photo sensors to control traffic and register 4 types of infractions: not respecting red lights, not respecting pedestrian crossings, blocking intersections, and unlawful U-turns. There will be 9 on Av. de las Américas; 2 on av. España; and 1 each on 12 de Octubre, Núñez de Bonillas, the vía a El Valle, av. Gil Ramírez Dávalos, and 10 de Agosto. The devices installed on the vía rápida Cuenca-Azogues and on the Medio Ejido-Sayausí are speed controls.
En km 33, a Girón, habilitan un carril (One lane is opened at km 33, to Girón) – MTOP planned on opening one lane at km. 33 on the vía Cuenca-Girón-Pasaje yesterday afternoon. The road had been closed for 3 days following a large slide. An alternate route through the Templete de Tarqui to the Santa Marianita sector is open for light vehicles.
De El Mercurio del domingo, 9/4:
La economía ecuatoriana crecerá menos este año (Ecuador’s economy will grow less this year) – The Banco Central del Ecuador (BCE) adjusted its growth target for 2023 from 3.1% down to 2.6% due to factors such as the rains, oil price volatility, the international crisis, and political instability. Even though foreign investment grew 22% in 2021, reaching $788 million, that is still far from the pre-pandemic level of $1.389 million in 2018. For the experts, the deceleration of the economy, which grew 2.9% in 2022, also plays an important role in what the government has done wrong. They cited the tax on the middle class, the lack of appropriate people appointed to ministries, and above all, the inability to transfer successes in the macroeconomy into the pockets of Ecuatorianos. <Does that sound like what’s happening up north? Things are supposedly going well, but none of the money made goes to the people who actually do the work to make the money.>
In spite of household consumption being the main factor in the 4.6% growth in 2022, the reforms to the Impuesto a la Renta (Income Tax) was a blow to the middle class and has put this consumption at risk for continued contribution to the economy. The problem is that the reform was not tax on income but an elimination of deductions which discourages spending.
And that’s all for today so hasta ? –