In spite of Covid, voting still mandatory; Why are buses and tram not integrated?; Number of labs and pharmacies surges; Holidays can’t be restricted

Feb 4, 2021 | 4 comments

Miércoles, 3/2/2020

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –

Otras cosas –

Titular – Hay más laboratorios y farmacias por Covid-19 (There are more laboratories and pharmacies due to Covid-19) – Covid-19 has generated an increase in the number of pharmacies and laboratories in the region. They are noticeable in the areas around hospitals. According to ARCSA records, it has given permission for 155 new pharmacies in Azuay, Cañar, y Morona Santiago. There are 30 new labs in the province, mostly in Cuenca, bringing the total up to 180. Most of them have asked for permission to test for Covid. In Azuay, the regulatory agency ACESS has given 12 labs permission to process PCR tests and 37 to give the tests and send them to authorized establishments. <And finally, here’s the answer to the question so many of you have asked.> Go to the ACESS web page at for a list of labs with permits to apply Covid tests. <Easy peasy, if you can navigate the site in Spanish, and probably even if you can’t.>

Fiscalización, sin respuestas sobre integrar el transporte (Audit, no answers on integrating transport) – La Comisión de Fiscalización del Concejo Cantonal de Cuenca has sent 8 requests to the city administration to find out why the integration between bus and tram service has not been accomplished, but it has not received any concrete or justified answers. There is an obligation on the part of the city and bus operators to integrate the system which is spelled out in the Reforma a la Ordenanza que Regula la operación del Sistema Tranviario del Cantón Cuenca which went into effect el 11/2/2020. <The ordinance probably doesn’t spell out penalties for noncompliance or legal remedies the ridership has. There I go, thinking like a gringa – sue the city and bus companies.>

Despite years of planning and talks, Cuenca’s transportation system is still not integrated. (El Mercurio)

El voto de los jóvenes es clave en elecciones (Youth vote is key in elections) – Since over 29% of the voters in Azuay are between 19 & 30 years old, candidates have devised estrategias de cercanía (proximity strategies- whatever those are) <When I Googled it, it came up as a classroom control tactic.> on social networks to convince them. But experts agree that beyond the platforms, the messages need to connect with the interests and aspirations of youth.

Nationally, youth are people between 18 & 29 and represent about 20% or 3.3-3.5 million voters. Each party or list must include at least one candidate representing this group. Generation Y or millenials who are aged 30-40 represent 15.43% of the population. In Azuay, there are 178,312 young voters and 618,406 general voters with 134,209 millenials (21%).

Un ABC de lo que hay saber al sufragar (An ABC of what to know for voting) – Despite the pandemic, voting is still obligatory, with exemptions only for those who are in voluntary lockdown or who have tested positive for Covid. At the polls, bring your own pen, alcohol to disinfect your hands, maintain social distancing in lines, and wear your mask at all times except for facial recognition against your cedula. The police and army will be on hand to monitor compliance with these measures.

The COE is recommending that voters with cedulas ending in an even number vote between 7 & 12:00 and voters with odd numbers between 12 & 17:00. The CNE has said that this is only a suggestion and voters can vote at any time regardless of the cedula number including people with expired cedulas. Voting is facultativo (optional – your word for the day) if you are over 65, 16 or 17, military, police, a foreign resident, or analfabetas (illiterate – your bonus word for the day, <and one which describes too many of you. At least in Spanish.>). Find out your polling place at, on the free app CNE App, or by calling 150. (Also easy peasy at the web site – just enter your cedula number and name.) <Remember -this is a dry weekend so stock up on booze tomorrow and plan on doing your drinking at home. I know, I know. Your favorite bartender will slip you your whiskey in a coffee cup and call it tea.>

COE nacional exhorta a municipios tomar posibles restricciones (National COE urges municipalities to take possible restrictions) – La Ley de Feriados and the Corte Constitucional’s prohibition on declaring a state of emergency have tied the hands of the Government. There is little it can do to restrict movement and avoid citizen misconduct. Massive public events will continue to be suspended and there will be free movement on national roads. The national COE is asking localities to not restrict circulation of private vehicles on election day so people can get to the polls. <Would restricting private vehicles keep more Lasso voters at home?> Medical groups are alarmed by the increase in Covid cases and this has even led them to request the suspension of the Carnaval and Semana Santa holidays, which is something the Government can’t do. Since the restrictions applied at the end of the year can’t be repeated, doctors are appealing to the population to care for their own health.

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.

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