Iza accuses gov’t of reneging on subsidy; Pallanca’s election appeal rejected; Cuenca universities rank high; Protest targets Iranian embassy
Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities President Leonidas Iza claimed Tuesday that the government is going back on earlier fuel subsidy agreements in negotiations with indigenous organizations. “We are within 20 days of completing the talks and the government is revoking some of its commitments, including ones about fuel subsidies for the poor,” he said. “It is clear they are under pressure from economic interests that they are putting ahead of the interests of the people.”
Iza said that other major issues remain to be resolved in the talks, including collective rights and justice for indigenous causes. “On October 13, the 90 days of dialog will end and we remain far from achieving the goals we established two months ago,” he said.
Iza did not provide details about the fuel subsidy disagreements but said establishing “fair prices for the poorest people” has not been met. “We also require guarantees that those who can afford to pay full price are required to.”
Despite the disagreements, Government Minister Francisco Jiménez says negotiations are making progress. “We have reached a number of critical agreements and I see no reason we won’t overcome the remaining conflicts,” he said. He added that the 90 days established for the negotiations is not a “magic number” and that talks can be extended if necessary.
Pallanca’s appeal rejected by elections board
The Azuay Province Elections Board has rejected an appeal to allow Luca Pallanca to run for mayor of Cuenca. On Tuesday, the board upheld its original decision to deny his candidacy based on his failure to register to vote in Cuenca and to vote in the 2021 election.
In a statement, president of the Electoral Board Alejandra Garófalo said the decision was simple. “Under the law, he does not meet the requirements to seek public office in Ecuador,” she said. “This is unrelated to the fact that he was born outside of the country — he is a legal citizen of Ecuador and this is not in dispute.”
Sebastián Cevallos, a member of Pallanca’s Unity Party and a candidate for Azuay Province prefect, said the election board decision does not settle the issue. “We will appeal to the Contentious Electoral Court and the Constitutional Court if necessary.”
Quito protest targets Irananian embassy
More than 100 people gathered outside the Iranian embassy in Quito Tuesday to protest Iran’s crackdown on public uprisings in Iran. The protests follow the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died in the custody of Iran’s Morality Police following her arrest for wearing her face veil “inappropriately.”
In two weeks of protests, the Iranian government has suspended most internet and phone service and jailed an estimated two thousand demonstrators. More than 75 people have died in clashes with police.
Iranian-Ecuadorian Ardavan Jamalifard, a leader of the Quito demonstration, says it is impossible to communicate with relatives back home. “We have been unable to talk to our families for more than a week and insist that the Iranian government restore internet service,” he said. “We worry for the safety of our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and especially for the rights of women who are being tortured and killed by the government gestapo.”
Four Cuenca universities ranked among the best
The QS World University Rankings includes 22 Ecuadorian universities among the best in Latin America, with four of the 22 located in Cuenca. QS ranks the University of San Francisco in Quito first in Ecuador, followed by the Polytechnical University of the Litoral in Guayaquil and Pontifical Catholic University in Quito.
The University of Cuenca ranks seventh. Other Cuenca universities included in the rankings are Salesian Polytechnical University, the University of Azuay and Catholic University of Cuenca.