Lasso apologizes for ‘pretty woman’ comments; Bespattered brothel busted; Christmas, New Year’s fireworks sales banned; City extends free wifi service

Nov 28, 2020 | 13 comments

Presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso has apologized for suggesting that Ecuador think of itself as a woman looking for a boyfriend. During a speech in Machala Thursday, Lasso said that the country must dress itself up like an “elegant woman” to attract foreign investments.

There will be no fireworks displays during the coming holiday season.

“Remember the movie ‘Pretty Woman’? Ecuador is like that woman. She must make herself attractive, make herself pretty and desireable, to catch the attention of the proper suitor.” he said.

On Friday, Lasso said his words were “ill-chosen,” particularly in light of the news of the increase in cases of domestic violence and femicide in the country. “I offer a sincere apology and admit, with humility, that I learn to be better every day.”

According to the average of three recent polls, Lasso, a centrist-conservative, is the leading candidate in the February presidential race.

Christmas, New Year’s fireworks sales banned
The Cuenca Emergency Operations Committee (COE) announced Friday that the sale of fireworks and other “pyrotechnic devices and explosives” will be banned during the Christmas and New Year’s season. In addition, the COE said the use of fireworks are banned in all public areas until further notice.

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“We are forced to take this action due to the crowds that fireworks displays attract and the consequent threat to public health due to the pandemic,” said Mayor Pedro Palacios. He added that, in the past, fireworks are often accompanied by excessive of public drinking, which is linked to the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

In addition to controls on fireworks, the COE said that police will strictly enforce the 50 percent indoor capacity limit for businesses and will increase observation of gatherings in private residences. Police patrols will also be on the look-out for events in restaurants and homes where drinking is occurring. Palacios said that a telephone “holiday hotline” will be installed so city residents can report cases of excessive crowds and drinking.

Bespattered brothel busted
The Cuenca National Police command has closed an unlicensed brothel in Ricaurte operating under the name “Dr. Chiquis.” A police lieutenant described the premises as “filthy, with the walls smeared with bodily fluids.” He added that it was a brothel fit only for “horny rats, mice and other vermin.” In its Thursday night raid, police were responding to complaints from neighbors of loud music, drinking and crowds gathering in the brothel courtyard.

ETAPA adding 500 free internet ‘hotspots’
The municipal utility company ETAPA is adding 500 free internet connection points in the city before December 31. ETAPA manager José Luis Espinoza said that 100 of the wifi “hotspots” are already established and that the others will go live in the coming weeks as part of the Cuenca United project.

Among the new wifi zones are: The El Arenal (Feria Libre) market, the Terminal Terrestre, The Mariscal La Mar airport, Colegio Benigno Malo, the University of Cuenca and the Corazón de Jesús school. In addition, wifi service has been expanded in Parque Calderon, Parque de la Madre, El Vergel Plaza, Otorongo Plaza, Plaza de las Flores and San Francisco Square.

In the selection of wifi connection locations, Espinoza said an emphasis is being placed on suburban and rural parishes. “The intention is to provide free internet to areas that have previously been unserved.”

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