By Deborah DuBoff, Expat living in Cotacachi
Auki Tituaña will be the new mayor of Cotacachi. He was elected by 10,514 voters representing 37.27% of the vote. The sitting mayor, Jomar Cevallos received 9,517 votes, or 33.73% of the total.
This election will mean a return to the office of Alcalde for Auki Tituaña. He was the mayor of Cotacachi from 1996 until 2009. He was one of the first indigenous mayors to be elected in Ecuador. He has also been involved in national politics.In 2012 he was a vice presidential candidate running with Guermo Lasso.
During his recent campaign Tituaña held several public meetings with expats to learn more about expat needs in Cotacachi and to determine how he could work with expats to improve services in Cotacachi if he was elected. At that meeting many expats expressed interest in working with him on maintaining literacy, (a focus during his previous terms as mayor), improving information about healthcare in the region, and on maintaining the purity of the watershed.
Tituaña was very active promoting Cotacachi to the international community while he was mayor. He was able to win several grants that helped benefit Cotacachi. During his two terms, the city won three international awards.
The Dubai International Award for Best Practices was awarded by the municipality of Dubai and UN-HABITAT in 2000. The award recognizes cities that are working to improve the living environment in their cities.
In 2002 Cotacachi was awarded a City of Peace award by UNESCO. According to the UNESCO website, Cotacachi was one of five cities to receive the award in 2002 out of a pool of 76 entries. The award ceremony took place in Morocco. According to UNESCO the factors they considered were urbanism, the environment, civic education, the creation of cultural infrastructure and the reinforcement of links binding society together.
The jurors also recognized factors that demonstrated that cities were confronting difficult situations that had not been addressed in the past. The jurors credited Tituaña’s efforts to integrate the native Kichwa people into the operations of the city. He put in place a decentralized system attempting to integrate researchers, NGO’s, religious groups and others to help develop services and to improve social links.
Also during Tituaña’s term as mayor, in 2007, Cotacachi was recognized for a Digital Cities award by AHCIET, the Inter-American Association of telecommunications companies. AHCIET is an organization of companies (public and private) in the telecommunications sector that operate in Latin America.
Deborah DuBoff and her husband moved to Ecuador from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living in Cotacachi since 2017. Writing is her hobby. She has a blog about being an expat in Ecuador that you can check out at www.thrivinginthenewnormal.com