Isolated Cajas community demands access to the world; Drought threatens power supply; Airline ends service; Sheraton restaurant seeks local diners

Oct 3, 2023 | 0 comments

Lunes, 2/10/2023

Hola, Todos –

Titular –

El debate no alcanzó mayor contundencia (The debate did not achieve greater forcedfulness) – See today’s (lunes) article in CHL for a review of the debate.

Patul, el conflicto entre avance y conservación (Patul, the conflict between progress and conservation) – <Here’s a side of Ecuador I’ve never seen and a community between a rock and a hard place.> Patul is a picturesque and hundred-year-old hamlet in Molleturo parish, located in the Cajas on the banks of the laguna (lake) Cochuma. As the outside world progressed, Patul has been stopped in time. The residents live on ranching and farming, in adobe houses that were roofed in straw in past years. <Not as picturesque in the photo as a photo of an English thatched roof cottage.>

Residents of the Cajas Mountain community of Patul clear a trail connecting their town to the Cuenca-Molleturo highway. (El Mercurio)

Now, some of the houses have been reroofed in zinc, brought in with great effort on mule and horseback. Residents remember el febrero pasado when a group had to carry an aged patient on an improvised stretcher for about 4 hours to the main vía Cuenca-Molleturo-El Empalme to get medical attention.

The conflict in creating an access to Patul goes back to 2009 when the residents started cutting a road with picks and shovels to also communicate with the neighboring communities of Guagualcay, La Grana, Hornillos, León Huayco, Chaconceo, Buate, Chocarsol, y Carguay. Since it was an illegal road, it was shut down. Gustavo Morejón, a biologist and ex-Director Regional de Ambiente zonal 6, remembers the residents made several attempts to open an access to the hamlet. In 2019, stakeholders met due to the necessity of a road connection, and decided to open a 3d class road. <Which is probably a little better than a cow path, and the main difference is that you don’t have to bushwhack your way to the main road.> The road would cross the Parque Nacional Cajas and connect Patul and Baute with the vía Cuenca-Molleturo. An Environmental Impact Study was done and once the Molleturo Parish GAD decides the project is necessary, a public consulting an technical studies contract will be let.

Unfortunately, the road would pass through the Parque Nacional Cajas for much of its route with direct impacts on the grassland, the high mountain ecosystems, and cut off the normal water flows. The area is the habitat for the páramo wolf, Andean bear. pumas, and various bird species. It would also have a direct effect on the endemic mesofauna (soil dwelling species) in the soil of the páramo. Morejón said there are two alternatives. The first is to route the road outside of the Park which would make the road longer and more expensive. The second is a road with high environmental control which would be constructed with low impact technology and not allow all cars on the road.

For the past 5 years, the residents have held mingas to widen the road. They said that they don’t have internet. Without a signal, they could die and there’s no way to communicate. Currently there is a road for the use of the residents. The road can only be negotiated with a 4×4. The efforts of the commmunity has allowed them to have electricity, but they still don’t have phone service, and the nearest medical dispensary is 39 km. away in Molleturo. One resident with property an hour and half from Carhuita, travels once a week to round up livestock. From the main road through the Cajas, he travels 6 hours on horseback to his property. He commented that the road is narrow and access by car is complicated. <Maybe he has to bring his horse along anyway in case the vehicle has to get pulled out of a rut or ditch.>

And that is the eternal conflict in Patul – between development and conservation because both people and nature need to be cared for.

Actualidades –

De El Mercurio del domingo, 1/10 (2 articles):
El estiaje agrava crisis energética para Ecuador (Low water levels aggravate energy crisis for Ecuador ) – The coming month will be critical for electricity production due to the lack of rain. The decrease in river flows in the Amazon watershed is affecting hydroelectric plants, and La Corporación Eléctrica del Ecuador (CELEC) said the low water levels are alarming. It also said that demand for electricity has risen 10-12% and the problem is going to be exacerbated in the next 5 months with the arrival of El Niño. Ecuador has been importing about 12% of its energy from Colombia which is also going thru a drought.

The country has 15 generating centers with the most important in the Amazon basin where it is forecast that there will be no rain for the rest of the year with drought conditions lasting until febrero of 2024. Normally, there is a 400 megawatt rise in demand during this season due to hot weather on the coast. <Time to lay in your supply of candles, flashlights, and a hand cranked charger. Don’t you think no electricity is a good reason not to post these Periodicos which need electricity to produce?>

Restaurante ‘Cooks’ alista un menú moderno e innovador (Cooks’ restaurant prepares a modern and innovative menu) – The Cooks restaurant in the Four Points by Sheraton hotel has modified its menu with products from the sea and mountain which combines traditional flavors with a current and stylized touch. Some of the dishes include Ceviche Jipijapa, llapingachos en ñoquis (gnocci), cuy, pulpo, and more. Remodeling of the restaurant itself was started in marzo, and phase 2 is concentrated on the buffet area, enlarging the kitchen, and an architectural redesign of the lobby with a space for a lounge bar. There will be a new Sunday brunch from 11-14:00. Jonathan Yánez, Sales and Marketing manager of the hotel, said these changes are focused on Cuencanos to present Cooks as not just for foreigners and hotel guests, but the local public.

ellas&ellos (Sunday supplement) –

‘Helapets’ – A new business by Verónica Barreto is something your pet will appreciate. After receiving training and research about pet nutrition, she and her husband started making ice cream without preservatives in 3 flavors – chicken and carrot, beets and chicken liver, and beef and spinich. This was followed by natural cookies with a base of vegetable protein and oatmeal flour. Last month she added cakes and cupcakes to line. The products are made weekly by order. You can find Helapets on Facebook and Instagram (helapets_cue) and order at 099 886 7047. Her plans are to open up a physical location and place her products in stores, supermarkets, and pet friendly restaurants.

Nacional –

De El Mercurio del domingo, 1/10 (1 article):
Aerolínea Equair cierra operaciones en el país (Equair airline closes operations in the country) – Equair airlines suspended operations after operating for 2 years in Ecuador. Oddly, the airline inaugurated a new flight between Quito and Coca el lunes pasado. The suspension was due to a market study. <Aren’t those usually done before you start operating? Or has the air service situation changed that much in 2 years?> When the airline started, it had 66 weekly flights between Quito and Guayaquil, 12 to the Galápagos, and 10 to El Coca. It has established a way to refund tickets purchased by its customers.

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). If information is incorrect, they are the responsibility of El Mercurio. The text between the carrots, or guillemets (< … >), is Jeanne’s personal opinion and not part of the news translation.


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