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Hydro plants may be concessioned, Vaccine brigades hit the street, U. of Cuenca admissions scandal, Home for the elderly is leaking

Martes, 9/7/2019

Hola, Todos –
Actividades –

De la pagina cultural –

Revista – The magazine “Resaltador Digital” will be presented mañana a las 19:00 in the Piazza del Río at the Mall del Río.

Charla – There will be a talk on “La ciencia y el lenguaje de los símbolos como punto de partida para el intercambio de conocimientos y el diálogo” (Science and the language of symbols as a starting point for the exchange of knowledge and dialogue) mañana y jueves a las 18:30 in the Planetario Municipal. It will be given by the Allpa Fest Cuenca Holística collective.

Cine de la India – From ayer (yesterday) until el viernes, there will be a session on Indian film and philosophy from 18-21:00 in the Hugo Ordoñez Auditorium in the law department at the U. of Cuenca. At the end of the session attendees will receive a participation certificate showing 15 hours.

The Coca Codo Sinclair hydro plant may be concessioned, the government says.

Otras cosas –

Titular – Sopladora está en lista de concesiones (Sopladora on list of concessions) – The Sopladora hydroelectric plant, along with Coca Codo Sinclair, are on the list of public businesses to be concessioned to the private sector. Sopladora does not have a reservoir, but depends on water flow from Mazar y Molino. The Minister of Energy hopes to receive about $800 million for Sopladora and $1,500 million for Coca Codo. He recognizes that the country is being pressured by the FMI (International Monetary Fund) to collect $1,000 million by the end of 2019. Labor groups are opposed to privatizing these government assets.

Goteras (leaks) – The Hogar “Cristo Rey”, more commonly known as the Asilo de Ancianos (Home for the Aged) is leaking. The facility is run by the Congregación de Hermanitas de los Ancianos Desamparados (Congregation of Little Sisters for the Abandoned Elderly), and houses 140 ancianos (elderly – your word for the day.) <I think anciano may be even older than tercera edad which as far as I’m concerned, starts in late middle age.> The order needs a lot of money to make the repairs, and has planned a raffle for a Yamaha motorbike, refrigerator, or 43″ TV provided by a “buen samaritano” (good Samariton) on 25/8. Tickets cost $2.50.

U. of Cuenca – A group of students and their families sued the U. of Cuenca to set aside the entrance exam for the medical and health school taken by 8,201 applicants. This was the test that was allegedly purchased by some parents and students and then leaked on social media before it was given on 31/5. Test takers in other schools of the university are also demanding that they be allowed to retake admission exams. The U. of Cuenca is asking that the test and results stand.

Bridge work – <Not the kind that goes in your mouth.> The Cámara de Construcción de Cuenca (CCC) did a study which showed 4 bridges on he vía Cuenca-Azogues-Biblián in the Nulti sector need to be reinforced since they are sagging. The bridges were built in 2008 and are now showing deformations which are increasing.

Vaccines – The Ministerio de Salud Pública is sending brigades out into the neighborhoods to vaccinate children under 8 against measles, polio and diphtheria. They are working from 8-17:00 in the Distrito Sur (South District). The campaign will last until 30/9.

Intermittent road closure – The vía Gualaceo-Plan de Milagro-Limón was closed yesterday morning due to mist and rain. MTOP is generally allowing cars through from 6-7:00 and 17-18:00, but not if conditions are unsafe. The road was opened to traffic yesterday between 8:15 & 12:00. At 12:30, new slides were reported and road clearing machinery was not able to operate due to the bad weather. <How did they know that at 12:30 it would be unsafe again?> However, there is a contractor who is doing slope stabilization with dynamic barriers at different levels to control falling rock.

Páramos – It seems as if only researchers, biologists and environmentalists understand the importance of the páramos since they know that the páramos supply water to thousands of Cuencanos. The páramos is a very fragile eco-system which acts like a sponge that absorbs water and then feeds it to ETAPA’s water treatment plants. But they are being affected by human action: forest fires caused by people, cultivation, and extreme sports which is a new problem. It takes 30 to 40 years to recover from each tire track made by a moto or 4×4. A Cuencana researcher specializing in studies of high mountain zones will be going to Switzerland in septiembre to learn what is happening to páramos because of climate change.

Business Page – SRI started free training on how to fill out a tax receipt, a tax return and issue electronic facturas. Anyone including natural and legal persons, Ecuadorian or foreign, engaging in economic activities whether permanent or occasional, needs to register in the Registro Único de Contribuyentes (RUC). <Does that count people who sell stuff at the ferias? I doubt more than a handful have a RUC.>

And that’s all for today so Hasta Mañana –

Jeanne

31 thoughts on “Hydro plants may be concessioned, Vaccine brigades hit the street, U. of Cuenca admissions scandal, Home for the elderly is leaking

  1. It’s the IMF list. Sell off your infrastructure to the cash rich cultures (Chinos, Saudi’s, Abu Dhabi’s etc) and watch the results on your electric bill…

    1. …any examples of China, Saudi or Abu Dhabi-based companies taking over local electricity companies and subsequent price hikes?

      1. Most of the investment income over the past decade has been coming from the Middle East, both directly and through US financial institutions. That’s understandable considering that they have a lot of idle cash that they’d rather be earning high rates of return on. That’s what the IMF does. It takes idle wealth from cash rich nations and finds places to get a double-digit return for the idle rich. It’s why they can’t just provide a loan and demand interest in return. They have to have strings attached like selling off public infrastructure at pennies on the dollar, privatization of public services that would never happen in developed countries, etc. Yet with all the talk about being in debt to China over the past few years, most people fail to recognize that only about 20% of Ecuador’s debt was to China in 2017. Now that figure is closer to 14%.

        But it’s not just about price hikes. The hydroelectrics not only provide low-cost carbon-free electricity to Ecuador, they also export electricity to Colombia and Peru. The combined hydroelectric plants generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the state coffers every year. Coca Codo cost taxpayers $2.1 billion to construct. Now the Moreno administration is going to sell it off to investors who risked nothing for half the full cost with a guaranteed revenue stream that will return 100% of their investment in only 5 years. Meanwhile, Ecuador will have another billion in debt to pay off and the loss of a lucrative revenue stream. This is theft at a massive level.

        1. Let´s not distort the information here. Coca Codo (and all the others you mention) is NOT going to be sold: “La Corporación Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (CNT), las hidroeléctricas Sopladora y Coca Codo Sinclair, el Banco del Pacífico, la Refinería de Esmeraldas, y 20 empresas distribuidoras eléctricas son los primeros activos que el Estado pretende CONCESIONAR. … Casi todas las operaciones, salvo con la Refinería del Esmeraldas, consisten en TRASLADAR EL MANEJO ADMINISTRATIVO a un agente privado.” [emphasis added, El Comercio, July 4]

          And with regards to privatization of public services which supposedly do not happen in developed countries, just look to baba free´s example. I can happily provide more from Germany.

          1. They use the word “concession” because the Constitution expressly prohibits privatization. However, the “concession” gives the private company the entire resource and ALL revenue from for 30 years, yet they took zero risk and only have to invest less than half what it cost to build in the first place. That’s privatization in all but name, but in this case it’s crony privatization because it’s only open to invited bidders and the asking cost has already been revealed up front.

            Save your word games for a jury of your peers.

            1. So, Mr Faulkner, you knew full well that the government wants to concession the administration but chose to post it wants to sell it. Is that to make it better fit your ideology? The difference between the two has serious consequences for Ecuador and I am happy to keep playing word games if it helps to point that out. As for your other allegations: it is not open to invited bidders only (no bidders at all have been invited) and no asking cost other than a wish for one of the entities has been revealed up front. They have not even chosen the financial entity to accompany the process which is needed because the government admittedly does not know how to go about the “monetizacion de un activo publico”. Concessions, on the other hand, are explicitely mentioned in the constitution (article 316), so Correa´s constitutional assembly was well aware that it could come in handy some day to have a back door.

              1. Seriously, Karl. You need to stop wasting your time writing nonsense here and instead read more news. The asking price for Coca Codo is $1 billion, less than half what it cost to build it, and despite calling it a “concession”, there really is no fundamental difference because the company that wins the concession will receive 100% of the revenue. They’re only calling it a concession because the Constitution expressly forbids privatization, but when a company’s only contribution is a one-time payment and in return they get all the profits for 30 years, the difference is only semantics. But that’s the currency you trade in, isn’t it?

                And for the record, it’s Dr. Faulkner. Mr. Faulkner was my father.

                1. I´d prefer not to be called by my first name by someone who continuously insults me, but hey, it´s the internet, there is really nothing I can do about it. Not sure why you feel the need to publish your title here, lack of recognition maybe? I salute and respect you for your academic credentials but considering your background, it appears you have lost the knack for doing research (I think “tedious” is the word you used in that context). It´s ok to rely on newpaper articles (most expats do, nothing to blame them for) but in complex cases that´s not enough. Read the Contraloria report about Coca Codo and let´s take the argument from there.
                  I doubt any serious bidder will show up based on the preliminary wishes the government has voiced. It was, by the way, the great Correa himself who initiated the whole process of concessioning in 2016, admitting sad-faced that the lack of funds forced him to do so.

                  1. Anyone who believes the reports from the self-appointed Contralor displays complete ignorance of everything that has been happening in this country for the past two years. You might as well throw in a report from Alex Jones while you’re at it. If you’re betting your idle money on that level of due diligence, all I can say is I hope your kids like you enough to maintain you after you go broke.

                    And for the record, I’m not an ex-pat. I’m an immigrant. I didn’t come here to retire or live out my golden years. I came here in my 30s to work and support the growth of this nation, not to figure out a way to live off it without producing anything.

                    1. …whether you believe the report is insignificant. All the repair work being worked out right now is pure fantasy and completely unnecessary, yep. I am sure the private operator the government is seeking is happy to dish out a billion $ to get the thing up and running; he might as well bring another half a billion to cover the cracks for which the country apparently lacks the funds.- For a down-to-earth doctor you are speculating a lot about my being here, brings a smile to my face, really. I thank you for that.

                      You had the freedom to come here and live your dreams while the very ideology you defend kept my parents as prisoners in their own country for 28 years (when they were finally able to visit Ecuador it was almost too late) and myself for all my teenage life. Be careful with your loose judgement, doctor.

                      Actually, a man with your capabilities and universal knowledge should keep on supporting the growth of this great nation rather than spend his time posting to the idle money class. Ecuador needs people like you (subtle irony fully intended).

                    2. All of the repairs are being paid for by the builder as was stipulated in the original contract … as is stipulated in any massive public works contract of this magnitude. Ecuador was never on the hook for those costs, you just made that part up for rhetorical points. Anyone who does as much research and due diligence as you claim to do for a living should have known, but maybe I give you too much credit. Maybe taking you at your word when you claim to review laws, correspond with legislators, blah blah blah is giving you too much credit. That certainly would explain why you never seem to be aware of information that was front-page news for weeks. I’ll be sure to not give you the benefit of the doubt anymore.

                      And seriously, don’t expect any sympathy because your parents lived in East Germany. Like I said before, it was better than they deserved.

                    3. Doctor, you really outdid yourself with that last sentence but don´t expect me to adjust to your level of discourse.

                    4. …you missed the sarcasm there. And as with all contracts, the devil is in the detail. The Chinese have a lot more pull in all of this but I hope for Ecuador that your confidence in the letter of the contract is justified. Feel free to post again on this subject half a year from now.

                      What did the older generation of East Germans deserve according to Dr. Faulkner?

                    5. If Germany had gotten what it deserved, there’d be nothing left there but a forest and a healthy population of wild boar. Even better, the entire place should have been declared a Jewish national homeland, the occupants expelled, and we probably wouldn’t have half the problems we currently have in the Middle East. But alas karma doesn’t exist so instead they got 40 years of doing to each other better than they did to everyone else and in the end they ended up controlling Europe anyway.

                      But that is neither here nor there. The point is don’t blame socialism for East Germany’s short-lived tribulations. Germans more than anyone should know that fascism is still fascism even when you call it national socialism … unless you depend on word games meaning North Korea is actually a Democratic Republic and the Holy Roman Empire was holy, Roman and an empire.

      2. Yeah, Karl, I’m a NZ citizen, which went from having the cheapest electricity in the world to the 2nd most expensive. Who owns it? Lots of little investors and lots of LLC.’s which are sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East and China using Swiss banks and Goldman Sachs to cover their tracks.

        1. I am not satisfied. Most sovereign wealth funds tend to invest, for good reasons, in listed companies and their statutes limit them with regards to transactions like yours. That being said, it cannot be too difficult to find out who now owns your power supplier because the transaction surely will have been scrutinized by everybody in NZL (or your region) as the sale of these assets is usually very politicized. While I not question your facts with regards to cost, I am doubtful about SWFs owning utilities, much less indirectly through investment banks but I might be wrong. However, in order to have the complete picture: how much did you pay before and how much now? And more importantly, how much does the generation of 1 kWh actually cost in NZL? Was it subsidized? In Germany, despite a somewhat deregulated market with a number of private and public companies offering power, the price of one kWh has risen from 14 cents to almost 30 in 18 years. The average family of 4 now pays around 1400 dollars per year for electricity which I personally find rather expensive, even more so when compared to what we pay in Cuenca now, around 20 per month. While I am not an expert on the matter it appears that market forces are not working there in Germany and this in spite (or because) of still dominant local public electricity providers. I am not advocating privatization of utilities but the state as an owner certainly is not a guarantee against price hikes either.

          1. Well it went from roughly .02/kwh to the current .30+ like Germany. But unlike Germany which is wedded to gas plants and some wind/solar (nuclear, as you know is verboten now) NZ was mostly hydro from the numerous huge alpine lakes on the South Island. Plus the kiwi houses are shoddy, single pane windows and no insulation and it gets cold like Germany. So it’s easy to have 400/month power bills for 5-6 months there. It’s not a good situation. The SWF’s have numerous ways to hide their identity. Nobody wants their utilities owned by oil sheiks in Abu Dhabi and they know that. It is true that it is no guarantee having the state as your utility owner but at least we can cling to the dream that voting might have an effect..We have Jacinda who is cutier than Mrs. Merkel. That at least!!! I don’t know if she’s smarter or more capable..

          2. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find out who owns it? Seriously? One who makes his living by parking capital is surely aware of how the international web of shell companies used by investments firms works. Maybe you were being sarcastic?

            Market forces don’t work in any public utility because they are monopolies. There are no market forces without competition when we’re talking about services that people cannot live without. That is why SWFs and the idle rich try so hard to get their hands on them. Where else can you get consistent double-digit returns on your money for doing essentially nothing? It’s a bug in capitalism that the idle rich have turned into a feature.

            1. Well, Dr, it might require a little bit of research work but I challenge you (or baba free) to provide the name of the utility provider in question and I will tell you who owns it although I will readily admit that it will not be one of my priorities for the time being. And again, you do not know a thing about my professional or personal background but keep alluding to my income situation. Why? A bit cheap, isn´t it?

              1. I never mentioned your income even once. Like I stated before, I really don’t care about your professional or personal background … which is why I never brought it up. You, on the other hand, keep mentioning it over and over so clearly you want to open this line of discussion. You must have a really clever comeback that you’re dying to use. Feel free to insert it now and get it off your chest.

  2. Sad. Ecuador lost 260K jobs last year, most of them full time. Yet, “brigades” of people are roaming the neighborhoods to help? the population with poisonous vaccines. Throw these vaccines into the garbage, and instead, help people get good-paying jobs. The word “brigade” sounds like a Roman occupying force.

    1. Ah, it’s the anti-vaxxer brigades vs the health worker brigades. Kinda like the Catholics vs the gays. Or the flat-earthers vs the round-earthers. Always good entertainment albeit a clear demonstration of the failure of our educational systems. I was under the impression that the Chinese were good in the sciences but obviously I was mistaken.

      1. Believe me, he isn’t from China and doesn’t have a drop of Chinese blood. He’s from New Jersey.

    2. I’d ask you to provide evidence that vaccines are poisonous, blah blah blah, but it’s clear you don’t have even a basic understanding of the science. This is why we don’t let people like you make public health policy.

    3. Aren’t you the guy that rode shotgun on Abel Garraghan’s last trip across the Darién Gap? He says you got your Big Mac all over his car and he’s not at all happy.

      I also heard that those brigades will be rounding up all of the anti-vaxxers and putting them in lunatic fringe encampments, sort of like the FEMA camps all of you said obama was going to use to confine conservatives.

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