Mayor rejects suggestion to cancel Carnaval; Court okays four referendum questions; UN applauds Ecuador’s early success in anti-narco campaign

Feb 7, 2024 | 0 comments

The show will go on, says Cuenca Mayor Cristian Zamora, despite the army’s recommendation that some Carnaval events be cancelled. “We will follow all safety guidelines to protect the public but we have no plans to cancel any events associated with the Carnaval holidays,” Zamora said.

On Monday, General Ivan Vasconez of the Division II Tarqui Brigade said the city should cancel all “large-scale” events, including concerts and parades, during Carnaval week. “As a result of the national emergency and the threat of terrorist activity, it is our position that some of the events should be cancelled,” Vasconez said, adding: “I understand that Cuenca and Azuay Province have been relatively peaceful but we are still under serious threat and this is not the time to let our guard down.”

All Carnaval activities will go on as planned, according to Mayor Cristian Zamora, who rejects suggestions that they be cancelled. (El Mercurio)

Zamora said he appreciated the advice and is coordinating with police and military authorities to ensure that all Carnaval activities are safe. “More than ever, now is a time for people to celebrate and enjoy themselves and events will proceed as planned. The government has provided guidance to secure the areas of the events and protect celebrants and we will follow all safety requirements.”

Among the larger events scheduled are Thursday’s Compadres y Compadres Night at the football stadium and Saturday’s Carnaval parade.

High court okays four referendum questions
Following a two-week review, the Constitutional Court has approved four more referendum questions submitted by President Daniel Noboa. The court had previously approved six questions.

The questions, which include proposed changes to the constitution, will make it easier to extradite criminals to other countries; expand judicial authority to deal with organized crime; commit the country to participate in international arbitration in cases of cross-border disputes; and allow hourly and fixed-term labor contracts.

With the court’s approval, the government can now request a national referendum date from the National Elections Council. By law, the election date must be set within 45 days of the formal request.

Among the 10 questions that will appear on the ballot are two that Noboa considers the most important. They would allow the armed forces to assist police in specified law enforcement activities.

UN applauds Ecuador’s success in anti-narco crime fight
UN Secretary-General António Guterres acknowledged Ecuador “early progress” in its fight against drug gangs and cartels. “We are encouraged by the dramatic reduction in murders and other violent crime during the state of emergency,” he said.

Guterres added that the UN continues to monitor police and military operations to ensure that human rights are respected. “We understand the negative impact that organized crime has had on the citizens of Ecuador but we continue to stress that the rights of all people, including those accused of crimes, be respected,” he said.

Authorities dismantle a ‘luxury’ suite at Turi prison
In an ongoing search of prisons, military and police personnel have discovered what they described as a “luxury suite” at Cuenca’s Turi prison. The suite was home to a “gang ringleader” who was transferred last week to a maximum-security prison in Guayaquil. The suite was dismantled on Tuesday.

Based on videos and a police statement, the suite included a king-size bed, a fully stocked bar, a 52-inch television connected to Netflix and DirecTv accounts, designer furniture and a refrigerator containing caviar and other high-priced food items.

Police say the suite was set up and furnished “under the eyes” of prison guards and administrators and say an investigation is underway to identify collaborators.

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