Supporters of Luca Pallanca are protesting the Azuay Electoral Board’s decision to disqualify him as a Cuenca mayoral candidate based on what they claim is a “minor technicality.” Following last week’s filing deadline for candidates for mayor, prefect and other local offices, the election board disqualified Pallanca, saying he is not registered to vote in Cuenca and did not vote in the 2021 national elections.
Pallanca, who became an Ecuadorian citizen in January, says he is, in fact, registered and has filed an appeal of the board’s decision.
Board president Alejandra Garófalo, said Thursday that Pallanca does not meet the requirements by Ecuador’s Democracy Code. “We follow the rules established by law and cannot change them for individual candidates,” she said. “When you apply to run for the office of mayor you must be registered in the city of Cuenca and Mr. Pallanca does not appear in the electoral register.”
Born in Italy, Pallanca is best known for his philanthropic work of delivering food, clothing and school supplies to rural communities near Cuenca. In addition, his historic district pizzeria donates food packets every morning, primarily to Venezuelan refugees.
Iza trial begins Monday in Latacunga
The trial of Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities President Leonidas Iza for obstructing public transport begins Monday in Latacunga. Iza, who led the June strike that paralyzed many of the country’s highways, was arrested June 13 at an indigenous roadblock on the Pan American highway near Latacunga.
Government prosecutors are seeking undisclosed penalties against Iza in a hearing before Magistrate Paola Bedón. Iza’s attorney, Carlos Poveda, claims the charges against the Conaie president are “bogus, amounting to government intimidation” since Iza was simply visiting the roadblock and did not participate in its construction.
Hail storm snarls traffic, floods homes
A strong thunderstorm late Sunday afternoon left foot-deep accumulations of hail in some parts of central Cuenca, paralyzing traffic and causing flooding in several neighborhoods. Although the storm affected most of the city, police said the hardest-hit area was to the east and northeast of the historic district.
Motorists on several streets were forced to abandon their cars as water washed large quantities of ice into low-lying areas. In the Totoracocha sector, residents reported flooding in the homes and yards when ice clogged drains. Ecuador’s meteorology service reported hail accumulations of six to seven centimeters (2.5 inches) in Totoracocha.
Cuenca’s Mariscal La Mar Airport closed temporarily as a result of the storm, delaying flights from Quito and Guayaquil.
Sangay volcano activity intensifies
The Geophysical Institute said Sunday that eruptive activity is increasing at the Sangay volcano. As of 6 p.m. Sunday, the Institute recorded almost 1,000 small explosions and dozens of earthquakes at the 5,230-meter volcano in Morona Santiago Province.
“We are witnessing a continuing series of explosions that we believe indicate a larger eruption may occur,” the institute said in a bulletin. “Seismic measurements show strong movement of lava within the volcano. Gas and ash clouds are rising approximately 2,000 meters above the crater with a general drift to the west. We are advising interests in affected areas to remain on alert for ashfall and to prepare accordingly.”
Located in a remote region of the southern sierra, about 70 miles northeast of Cuenca, Sangay has been in an active state for more than 20 years. In recent years, eruptions have resulted in heavy ashfall in Riobamba, Ambato and Guayaquil.
At least one dead as Galapagos boat capsizes
An inter-island transport yacht capsized Sunday night on its route between Isabela and Santa Cruz islands in the Galapagoes archipelago, resulting in at least one death. According to the Ecuadorian navy, the boat’s engine failed in high seas at about 7 p.m. Sunday.
As of 10 p.m. Sunday, National Police reported that 27 passengers had been rescued and returned to Santa Cruz Island. The body of an Israeli citizen was also returned. Seven passengers are missing.
The navy says its search and rescue operation is continuing.