Local mob kills suspected thief; Group threatens road closures; ‘Yellow alert’ maintained at Cotopaxi; 2022 Pase del Niño parade returns to ‘full strength’

Oct 26, 2022 | 26 comments

Gary Espinoza, president of the Federation of Peasant, Indigenous and Negro Organizations (Fenocin), said Monday that his organization will “very likely” call a strike in November. “This fighting action is necessary, unfortunately, because the government has not fulfilled the agreements it made during the negotiations following the June strike,” he said.

In particular, Espinoza said the government has not delivered the urea subsidy promised farmers, has not paid the debt to the Social Security system and has not reduced crime in rural areas.

“We will close highways and roads in Guayas, Esmeraldas, Los Ríos and possibly other provinces,” Espinoza said in a television interview. “Many areas of the coastal region escaped the pain of the June mobilization. If we decide to strike, they will not escape it this time.”

Local mob kills suspected thief
The Azuay Province Prosecutor’s Office and the National Police are investigating the beating death of a 24 year old man it suspected of attempting to rob a hotel in Cuenca’s San Joaquín suburb Sunday night.

A coastal indigenous organization threatens to block highways in November if the government doesn’t make good on agreements it claims have been ignored.

According to reports, the man threatened the clerk at the Gaviota Dorada hotel who was able to contact acquaintances who surrounded the building entrance. Witnesses said two associates of the victim were able to escape as the crowd gathered.

Police said the victim was dragged out of the hotel and beaten and stabbed by a crowd estimated to number about 30. “The man was attacked with sticks, machetes, whips and iron objects, and was unconscious when officers arrived,” the police report said. He died two hours later after being taken to the Vicente Corral Moscoso hospital.

Following his death, the man was identified as José Luis Montuano Vergara.

In a Tuesday press conference, prosecutors and police denounced the killing, saying that mob “lynchings” set a dangerous precedent. “We have breakdown of law and order when private citizens take the law into their own hands,” said Hernan Gomez of the prosecutor’s office. “Robberies and other illegal acts should be handled by the police, not the public.”

Cuenca neighborhood association leaders also condemned the death but said it is the result poor response by the police. “When people call to report crimes, it sometimes takes 30 minutes or more for police to arrive,” said one neighborhood representative in a radio interview. “We agree actions such as this are not right, but many residents feel they have no choice but to deliver justice directly.”

Christmas Eve parade back to ‘full strength’ this year
Cuenca’s famous El Pase del Niño Viajero Christmas Eve parade returns this year with no Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. The parade was cancelled in 2020 and restricted to a small procession in 2021 due to pandemic requirements.

“We return to full strength in 2022 and believe this will be the biggest parade ever,” says Cuenca Monsignor Marcos Perez. “There will be a full schedule of activities and events this year as we celebrate the end of the pandemic and the birth of Jesus Christ.”

‘Yellow alert’  maintained at Cotopaxi
Seismic activity under the Cotopaxi volcano has declined but the Geophysical Institute says conditions remain in an “agitated state” and are subject to change on short notice.

“Gas and steam emissions were observed Tuesday at elevations 200 meters above the crater and there are accumulations of ash on the higher elevations of the glacier,” the IG reported. “The danger of lahars continues due to the heat and weight of the ash.” The statement added that light snowfall and rain near the summit added to the instability.

Ecuador’s Risk Management Service is maintaining the “yellow alert” for the volcano and Cotopaxi National Park remains closed to visitors until further notice. Climbers who were on the mountain Saturday reported the strong odor of sulfur and said that they experienced periods of ashfall before being ordered to base camps.


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