Mayor encourages tax protest; ECU911 ready for emergency births; Lead poisoning alert; New Covid strain in the country; El Centro balcony serenades

Dec 21, 2023 | 0 comments

Miércoles, 20/12/2023

Hola, Todos –

This will be my last post for the year. <I was very tempted to put the period after “post,” but my sense of obligation won out. One of these days I’m going to say s***w it or die on you, and hopefully you will have learned enough Spanish to get your own local news.> Bah-humbug. I will be back after the NY, either the 3d or 5th.

Actividades –

Serenatas en el centro – The Fundación Municipal de Turismo de Cuenca has organized the serenade of balconies for el jueves, 21/12. This show is planned for houses located in the Historic Center and will feature mostly local musicians. This type of serenade along El Centro streets has been done in the past. <But then COVID?>

A new Covid-19 Omicron variant has arrived in the country. It is more contagious than previous strains, doctors say. (El Mercurio)

Titular –

Reforma tributaria, aprobada (Tax reform approved) – See today’s (miércoles) CHL for story.

Cuenca –

Eliminado el descuento en rubro de predios del 2024 (Tax discounts eliminated in 2024) – The discount on prompt payment of taxes that applied to the part of your property tax bill for Obras de Beneficio General (OBG – General Benefit Works) will be eliminated in 2024. This was done due to a report from the Contraloría General del Estado (National Comptroller General’s Office) which obligated the city to eliminate this benefit and collect from whomever benefitted from this since 2018.

Mayor Zamora called for taxpayers to organize and go to the Contraloría and ask why it’s sending a bill for the last 5 years and, in addition, why is it eliminating the discount for prompt payment. He also called the Comptroller’s report “absurdo” <you can translate that for yourself, sí?> to eliminate a discount that motivated people to pay their taxes promptly.

Virus priola, ‘muy contagiosa’ (Pyrola virus, ‘highly contagious’) – The first case of the pirola strain of COVID, identified in a woman in Quito, has put health services on alert. This is a new strain that is expanding in South America with Ecuador the 4th country in which it has been identified following Brasil, Perú, and Chile. José Tobar, an immunologist, said that it is highly contagious and patients are more severely affected. He said the best mechanism for prevention is vaccines, a good diet, and using masks where there are large crowds. <And those of you who want to start a fight, just keep your fingers off that keyboard and pour yourself a double Scotch instead. Treat yourself to the single malt if it’s in your bar.>

He said there is also seasonal flu and that in the past few weeks until now, there has been an increase in people with COVID-19 and flu. Up to the beginning of diciembre, there have been 63 cases of COVID -19 reported in Zone 6. The Quito patient is being monitored and receiving treatment at home.

De El Mercurio del martes, 19/12 (1 article):
Ojo con productos con plomo (Beware of products containing lead) – The Agencia Nacional de Regulación, Control y Vigilancía Sanitaria (ARCSA) has intensified their preventive controls to detect products that could be contaminated with lead. On el 6/11/2023, the United States FDA issued an alert that there were elevated levels of lead in WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree which is an apple and canela puree made in Ecuador. According to ARCSA, the fabricator has issued a voluntary recall and is working closely with the FDA to investigate the source of the contamination. ARCSA suspects the source is the cinnamon and has found high levels of lead in 5 products. These are Apple Cinnamon Fruit Puree; Smoothie Mango; Passion Fruit, Banana; Cinnamon Apple Sauce; Apple Sauce Cinnamon; and Compota Orgánica de Mango. The last is sold in Ecuador and the others are exported.

Short term symptoms of lead poisoning are headache, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and anemia. If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention quickly. Long term exposure can cause irritability, lethargy, fatigue, muscle pain, abdominal discomfort, constipation, difficulty concentrating, headache, and weight loss. If you suspect you have eaten the WanaBana Apple Cinnamon Fruit Pouche report it to the ARCSA Móvil app or to

Sucesos –

ECU 911 registró 8,667 emergencias por labores de parto (ECU 911 recorded 8,667 labor emergencies) – <This is not an article about carpenters falling off roofs and I’m guessing it applies to more or less 0 of you readers out there.> So far this year, ECU 911 has responded to 8,667 emergencies for births. This is a reduction from the 10,102 calls in 2022. There is a protocol, Clave Roja, to respond to women in labor which brings immediate help and mobilization of resources at the site closest to the patient. The call screener asks for all information needed to transfer the caller to medical personnel and provides phone support with detailed instructions until the ambulance arrives.

Many times, the birth happens at the location from which the mother is calling: houses, vehicles, roads, parks and more. The first responders attending these calls are trained and prepared to assist in obstetric emergencies. Bolívar Tello, director of ECU 911 said that of the thousands of emergencies the attend to every day, births stand out. 911 gets 754 calls a month. The most are from Guayaquil with 367, Morona with 318, and Cuenca with 307 labor emergencies. <So now you know if your water breaks in el parque Calderón, 911 is ready and prepared to help you give birth.>

Descuentos y compras –

Plaza Europea – Big Promotion – Your purchase of a turkey or fresh ham plus $1.99 will get you a free bottle of wine. <Whoopee – a bottle of 2 Buck Chuck? Californians and/or Trader Joe’s customers might remember 2 Buck Chuck.>

Feliz Navidad, Hannukah, Kwanzaa; and a Prosperous New Year. That’s all for today so Hasta el próximo año –



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