Cuenca priest resigns over sex abuse charges
Cuenca priest Cesar Augusto Cordero, founder of Catholic University, has stepped down from all religious duties, the Archdiocese of Cuenca announced on Thursday. Although it did not release details of its investigation, church officials say the resignation was “not voluntary” and came as a result of accusations that Cordero sexually assaulted children during his 50 years in the priesthood. The church’s investigation and the resignation are unrelated to an ongoing investigation by prosecutors into the sexual allegations, which could result in a prison sentence for the 92-year-old priest.
Imbabura volcano shows new activity
Dormant for 2,900 years, a series of small earthquakes at the Cuicocha – Cotacachi volcanic complex in Imbabura Province is being monitored by Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute. Geologists say the earthquakes are the result increasing gas pressures breaking rocks beneath the complex and are not caused by the movement of magma, which can be an indication of an imminent eruption. They add that most of the 90 earthquakes recorded so far are small, of 2.5 magnitude or less, and are not felt by area residents. In a statement, the Geophysical Institute called the situation “one for concern” said it will closely monitor the volcano and report changes if they occur.
Correa-era construction projects investigated
The government announced Wednesday that it is conducting a “top to bottom” review of five major projects built during the presidency of Rafael Correa. The review, which includes the oversight of a United Nations technical team, will look at the possibility of mismanagement and corruption during construction of the Cuenca- Pascuales gasoline pipeline and the Monteverde LP gas distribution facility in Santa Elena Province, as well as energy projects in Esmeraldas and Manabí provinces. The government said it will deliver a final report in 90 days. In addition to the UN, energy companies from the U.S., Great Britain and Spain will participate in the project reviews. Together, the projects being investigated cost the government more than $5 billion.
Buses to be equipped with seat belts by December
The National Transit Agency (ANT) and the Ecuadorian Traffic Commission (CTE) have announced a public service campaign to inform bus passengers that seat belts are required on all interprovincial buses by December 1 and to encourage their use. The new rule is the result of a series of recent bus accidents that killed dozens of passengers. According to ANT director Juan Pazos, 98 percent of those deaths could have been avoided with the use of seat belts. In addition to seat belts, the ANT is installing GPS devices in interprovincial buses to track location and speed and is strengthening requirements for bus drivers. Municipal buses and drivers are not affected by the new rules.