LP gas trucks arrive, distributors look to normalize service; Zoo animals need food; City to apply fines for blocked streets; Art for migrants; Covid cases rise
Hola, Todos –
Al migrar, el arte es terapia (When migrating, art is therapy) – There has been an art therapy program run by Marinés Cardoso for migrants in Cuenca. 24 artists and foreigners worked together for 3 weeks to explore the questions of What is home?, What is it like to be in a place other than the one you are leaving behind?, and What does it mean to be somewhere other than the place you were born and grew up? <Is that why so many gringas are learning new arts – painting, weaving, clay, etc. I guess you guys just find a welcoming bar and drink.>The workshop attendees worked in painting, writing, drawing, music and clay. The works are being shown in the Casa el Alfarero on Convención del 45.
Cursos de guitarra y pintura en el MMAM (Guitar and painting courses at the MMAM) – Registration for summer vacation activities will be between 4 & 8/7 from 8-16:00 at the Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno on Sucre 15.27 y Coronel Talbot. The courses will be from 11/7 to 10/8. The painting classes are for children from 6-12 with 2 groups; and the guitar classes will be for kids from 9-18. There will be spaces in morning and afternoon sessions. Free.
Lasso, firme en el poder; sancionarán a taxistas (Lasso, firmly in power; cab drivers to be sanctioned) – See today’s articles in CHL and below in the Informe section.
Taxistas se toman vías; el Municipio sancionará (Cab drivers take over roads; the Municipality will impose sanctions) – Cuenca streets were blocked Tuesday without transportation service. The Unión de Cooperativas de Taxis del Azuay (UCTTA) conducted a protest in support of the indigenous strike. It asked for a reduction of gas prices to $2.10 for Ecopaís and to $1.50 for diesel. The transportistas closed streets at 5:00 in spite of the warning from the city that it would apply administrative sanctions. There were taxis stopped around the colegio Benigno Malo, the Terminal Terrestre, the Chola Cuencana, Virgen de Bronze, and at various points along De Las Américas, Remigio Crespo, Don Bosco and other sectors. Ambulances and other aid vehicles going to hospitals and clinics were allowed to pass.
People had a hard time getting to work. <If you’re retired, aren’t you glad you don’t have to go to work? The strike puts a new slant on fighting traffic.> Public institutions opened with reduced personnel and precautions against possible problems posed by the protests. A few businesses opened, mainly in the Centro Histórico. At the “Vicente Corral Moscoso” hospital, 35-40% of the patients scheduled were “no shows” since they could not get to their appointments. The IESS dispensary at Bolívar y Córdova (sic – Cordero?) opted for virtual consultations since some of their doctors couldn’t get to work.
EMOV EP aplicará multas y demanda penal (EMOV EP will apply fines and criminal actions) – The Municipality announced through EMOV EP that it would start sanctions processes, fines and criminal actions against people who closed city streets. One of the basic social services the city has a duty to provide is internal transit.
Esperan retomar hoy la venta de gas (Gas sales expected to resume today) – Austrogas which covers almost 75% of the city, has planned to return to filling and distributing gas tanks in Cuenca today. Empty tankers which were parked in Cuenca were able to leave at 4:00 yesterday, to get to Machala on the vía Cuenca-Girón-Pasaje thanks to a humanitarian corridor organized by the Junta Provincial de Azuay and the Cruz Roja Ecuatoriana (CRE). Christian Astudillo, president of the Red Cross, said the convoy of 21 gas and medical oxygen transport vehicles was marked with the distinctive red cross symbol indicating a humanitarian mission.
The trucks filled up at EP Petroecuador plants in Santa Rosa, El Oro, La Troncal and Cañar. Astudillo thanked the people of Tarqui, Santa Isabel, El Pongo, Santa Marianita de Girón, Sarayunga y Maravilla who facilitated passage of the vehicles. The plan was to head back to Cuenca at 14:00 to arrive at night and immediately start unloading. The convoy also supplied gas to the communities between Santa Isabel and Tarqui.
Gerardo Maldonado, manager of Austrogas, confirmed the expectation of supplying the city with gas this afternoon. Its daily production is between 10,500 and 11,000 cylinders, and it has 111 distributors. With the shipment that arrived, it will have a day and half worth of stock; similar to the other suppliers, Eni Ecuador (Agip Gas), Congas and Duragas who also got shipments. Usually Austrogas brings in 8-10 tankers a day and hopes to continue with a new humanitarian corridor with the support of the CRE. EP Petroecuador was not able to normalize distribution of Extra gas due to blockages in the access roads to the terminal in Challuabamba. It said there is available stock of Extra to cover demand, but distribution will be irregular due to road closures.
The Yurak Allpa and Amaru zoos in Tarqui and Cuenca are asking for donations. The Yurak Allpa zoo has 200 animals who are running out of food. It needs vegetables such as carrots and beets, alfalfa and similar crops, and fish to feed the penguins and spoonbills. There are monkeys, deer, and llamas, eagles and other raptors, mountain cats, tapirs, parrots, páramo wolves, buffaloes and more, including species at risk of extinction such as condors and spectacled bears. To help, contact owner, Alberto Vele at 098 565 2133.
Amaru also needs help with donations of fruit, vegetables and meat. Every week, the zoo needs 60 papayas and melons, 30 watermelons, 20 pineapples, 4 boxes of apples and pears, 100 avocados, 2 boxes of graprs, 120 tunas, 2 sacks of choclo, 4 sacks of yuca, and more. Go to the Fanpage of Facebook @zoologicocuenca or call 099 378 1679, 096 995 6055, or 099 994 8872. <You wouldn’t want to see the zoos feeding the penguins and llamas to the lions and wolves, would you?>
Producción artesanal se reduco hasta 80% (Artisanal production reduced by up to 80%) – The crafts sector, one of those which was recovering from the pandemic is one of the hardest hit by the strike. Fausto Ordóñez, a jeweler and past executive director of CIDAP, said their activity is not a basic need and people are more worried about getting gas, gasoline, and food. <Thank heaven water hasn’t been a problem.> He estimated the sector in Azuay is producing 70-80% less in areas such as straw weaving in Sígsig, shoemaking and ikat weaving in Gualaceo, and orfebrería (goldsmithing – your word for the day) in Chordeleg and Cuenca. The problems are in getting their primary materials and loss of customers.
Preocupación por los contagios de COVID-19 (Concern about COVID-19 infections) – Rates of positive tests for Covid have risen from 5% to 7% while the vaccination rate remains low. These factors are worrying the scientific and medical communities since more contagious new variants such as BA.2.12.1 and BA.4 have appeared. Andrea Gómez, an epidemiologist, said cases have risen in the past months, not just because of the strike but due to a decrease in vaccinations, especially the 3d and 4th doses. She added that communication from the government has not been the best since the elimination of mask wearing has contributed to a false sense of security. She said that there have been cases of people with stronger and more prolonged symptoms compared to the first variants of the virus, and others who have lost their senses of taste and smell. <That should be a warning to all of you foodies. No taste, no smell – no fun.>
Dr. Bernardo Vega said the increased positives is related to the protests as well as the repeal of obligatory mask wearing. He said that the higher positives could also be since the data sent to the MSP is only for results of PCR tests. He said that a more accurate number would be to multiply the rate by 2 or 3 times since many people with light symptoms do not get tested. He also said that people should assume any cold or flu symptom is Covid until proven otherwise. If it is Covid, you should self quarantine and use a mask. <Even if it’s not Covid, a mask would be a nice thing to wear so you don’t give your friends a cold or flu. You might lose friends if you passed on a nasty virus you knew you had but didn’t safeguard those friends from. Same goes for computer viruses.> As of now, the hospital system has not been overwhelmed.
Fiscalía inició 290 procesos relacionados con las protestas (Prosecutor’s Office initiated 290 proceedings related to the protests) – The Attorney General’s Office has opened 261 preliminary investigations and 29 prosecutorial instructions, which are the first step in criminal proceedings, related to the indigenous protests. Of the 290 investigations, 54 were opened in Pichincha followed by Pastaza with 41. there were 25 in Azuay. The last investigation announced was for the attack on a convoy in Sushufindi early yesterday morning in which a soldier was killed and 12 police and military injured. The Fiscalía is also investigating Leonidas Iza for shutting down a public service which can be sanctioned with up to 3 years in prison. The hearing will be el 4/7. <Might not be Independence Day for Sr. Iza.> Also being investigated is the attack on the Fiscalia’s offices in north Quito which were destroyed on 2 occasions.
And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –