Latin America protests will return, IMF warns; Cuenca airport drops test requirement; 17 fined for mask violations; City revenue plummets
Due increasing poverty and other social tensions, the International Monetary Fund is warning that Latin America will see a repeat of the protests that rocked the region during the second half of 2019. “We think a number of countries in the hemisphere will experience a rekindling of social tensions following the Covid-19 economic contraction.”
The IMF says it is particularly concerned about possible unrest in Chile, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina but says that at least 12 countries could see protests, some of them violent. The IMF is forecasting a 9.4 percent contraction of the economy of region, the deepest it has ever forecast. “The social tensions created by economic problems will inevitably boil to the surface in some countries,” it warned.
In addition to the four countries it considers at highest risk for protests, the IMF says that social unrest could return to Colombia, Ecuador and Haiti in the second half of 2020.
“Countries of the region must be very cautious as they reopen their economies and allow science and data to guide the process,” said Alejandro Werner, IMF director for the Americas. “Social reaction is being restrained at the moment by concerns about Covid-19 but this will change in late 2020 and 2021.
Negative Covid-19 test no longer required at Cuenca airport
The management of Cuenca’s Mariscal La Mar Airport announced Saturday that departing passengers will no longer be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test. The airport said that the change was approved by the National Emergency Operations Committee, which said the results will only by required at the Quito and Guayaquil airport through July 6. Juan Pablo Vega, Cuenca airport director, said that outgoing passengers will still have their temperature taken and be required to wear a face mask in the airport.
Vega said that Latam is the only airline currently serving Cuenca, offering five flights a week. Aeroregional has expressed an interest in serving the airport but must pay an outstanding debt before that will be allowed, Vega says.
Coronavirus devastates city income
Cuenca has collected only a fraction the amount of taxes it had budgeted for in March, April and May, according to Patricio Abad, head of the financial department of the municipality. He said revenues $2.6 million were collected in the three-month period while $22.6 were expected. “The low collection is due the health emergency and we expect to recoup a large part of the arrears in the coming months,” he said. “Because of the uncertainty created by the coronavirus and the economic losses suffered by businesses, it could be months before we know the full extent of the deficiit.”
Most cantons in red are on the coast or in the Amazon
Only one canton in Ecuador’s sierra remains under red light health restrictions while most others are yellow or green. The situation is different on the coast and in the Amazonia. Twenty cantons in Manabí, Esmeraldas and Santa Elena continue under red lights due to rapid increase in Covid-19 case numbers and stress on hospitals and clinics. This week, Suscal in Cañar Province becomes the eighth of the country’s 221 cantons to go green.
17 fined for not wearing face masks
A police sweep of several Cuenca neighborhoods Saturday night resulted in 17 arrests for non-compliance for the health emergency face mask requirement and warnings to 72 mostly young people for gathering in local parks. The face mask rule violators were released from custody after they paid a $100 fine. Most of those fined or warned were involved in football or volleyball games.