More Ecuadorians head to the U.S.; Contamination found in bottled water; Crack-down on driver’s with fraudulent licenses; Police hunt highway robbers

Apr 2, 2024 | 0 comments

Lunes, 1/4/2024

Hola, Todos –
Happy April Fools Day. You know what this means. Can you tell the real news from the fake news?

Titular –

Desde hoy el IVA sube del 12% al 15% (Starting today, VAT increases from 12% to 15%) – See today’s (Monday) article in CHL for story. <You can verify the veracity of this article – just go out and buy something like a bottle of booze and read your receipt.>

Cuenca –

As the VAT increases from 12% to 15%, Cuenca market vendors worry that transport companies will raise costs for delivery due to the hike in fuel prices. Most of the food sold in the markets is exempt from the tax. (El Mercurio)

Migración en Ecuador: una nueva ola (Migration in Ecuador: a new wave) – US Customs and Border Protection published data showing 11,824 migrants from Ecuador, including 204 minors, traveling without their parents were detained in febrero, 2024 at the US/México border. This is higher than the same month in 2021 with 3,507 detained, 2022 – 747, and 2023 – 7,461. Data from then Ministerio del Interior showed just in febrero, 2024, 4,239 migrants left Ecuador for México. The number was 3,829 in enero, and 3,975 in diciembre, 2023. Ecuadorians leaving with the US as a destination in 2/24 was 44,471; in 1/2024 – 31,807; and in 12/23 – 41,736. Other destination countries were El Salvador which showed the same pattern, and Panamá where Ecuadorians are the second largest nationality to cross the Darien gap.

Pedro Arízaga, a migrant and member of a collective of Ecuadorians in NY, said that people are still tempted to travel in spite of the dangers since US immigration policies are still flexible. He said he sees compatriots who have gotten to Texas or Arizona and turned themselves over to US border patrol who let them wait in the US because they asked for asylum. <Maybe Ecuadorians should claim asylum based on being tax refugees. See the headline article. Think that might cause those with influence who have their own tax problems and issues to be a little more sympathetic to migants?>

Agua con bacterias (Water with bacteria) – The Agencia Nacional de Regulación, Control y Vigilancia Sanitaria (ARCSA) detected high levels of aerobic mesophiles and other bacteria in lots of 7 brands of water sold in the country. Some of these (Fresh Water and Your Clean Water) <Kind of ironically named> also had high levels of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa which are bacteria that have health conditions such as stomach, intestinal, urinary, skin infections and more. Look up the brands on www.controlsanitario.gob.ec.

Vigencia de RUC obliga a pago anual de patente (Having a valid RUC requires annual patent payment) – Taxpayers to the SRI who have a RUC need to pay the Impuesto a la Patente Municipal. If you are a natural person not required to keep accounting records, the deadline is el 30/6/2024. If you are required to keep accounting records the payment date in between abril y junio depends on the 9th number of your RUC. Those who have to pay the Patente are natural persons, and societies both national and foreign who have economic activities in the canton of Cuenca. These include commercial, industrial, financial, real estate, and professional economic activities. In enero, the Cantonal Council passed an ordinance forgiving interest, fines, and other charges for those who pay the capital in full or partially by the end of julio, 2024. To find out if you owe the patente or other items, go to ‘Cuenca en Línea’ in the section ‘Pago de impuestos, tasas y contribuciones’ and enter your cédula or RUC.

Proyecto para fomentar el aprendizaje del español (Project to promote learning of Spanish) – A private group has formed in Cuenca to promote the learning of Spanish by non-Spanish speaking residents. After observing this community they have decided that material incentives would have better results than shaming <and sarcasm as I do?>. Their project, “Premios por hablar en español” (Prizes for speaking Spanish) will reward non-Spanish speaking foreigners who they hear speaking more or less understandable Spanish with each other. If you are one of the lucky recipients, be prepared to get a ticket for a weekly raffle with prizes such as meals at restaurants, gift certificates, and small souvenirs.

Sucesos –

Controles de licencias falsificadas (Checks for counterfeit licenses) – The Ministerio de Transporte y Obras Públicas (MTOP) is conducting operations to control the use of fake licenses which has proliferated in past months as well as to promote awareness of road safety. Drivers who make illegal maniobras (maneuvers – your word for the day) such as not respecting traffic signals will be targeted as well as non-Spanish speaking foreigners who have been buying counterfeit licenses rather than taking the written drivers’ tests. Drivers who are stopped will be given a 5 question “pop quiz,” with a passing grade of 4 right answers. Those who flunk will have their licenses checked against ANT’s records of test takers, and if your name does not show up as having taken the test, your license will be deemed fraudulent.

The normal penalty for driving without having a valid license is 3 days in jail and a fine equal to the basic salary. All drivers have the option of the normal penalty or making an appointment, taking, and passing the written exam within 60 days. <I think that if you don’t comply within 60 days, a cop will show up at your door to take you to jail> Foreigners will also have the option of having their visas revoked and voluntarily leaving the country within 90 days. <Might be the time to start studying and take that test. I hope you don’t think the group in the previous article has made me change my ways.>

Controles de seguridad en vías estatales (Safety controls on state roads) – Recent assaults on interprovincial buses, tourist vans, and private cars, included an inerprovincial bus which was intercepted on the Guayaquil-Cuenca route on the vía Durán at km. 26 la noche de viernes. Armed criminals robbed the passengers and fled. Another assault on a bus occured el 22/3 at the same 26 km. mark. The Policía Nacionál is intensifying anti-crime operations on the vías Cuenca-Molleturo-Naranjal and Biblián-Zhud-Cochancay-El Triunfo. Police units in La Troncal are concentrating on the vías Zhud-La Troncal, La Troncal-El Triunfu, and La Puntilla-Pancho Negro-Tamarindo. There are also permanent operations in the Terminal Terrestre in Cuenca before interprovincial and intercantonal buses leave. They are verifying luggage and recommending that passengers do not give personal information to anyone they don’t know. <But you all already know not to do stuff like that. I hope.>

Cleber Guamán, chief of the Sayausí circuit said that the controls on the vía Cuenca-Molleturo are during strategic hours with officers patrolling the zone up to las Tres Cruzes in the Cajas. If a crime occurs, there is immediate coordination by radio with other units in Molleturo and Tamarindo. Walter Villarroel, commander of Zone 6, said operations are being reinforced on the roads to the Camilo Ponce Enriquez canton. Personnel at the UPC in Sarayunga are conducting patrols and controls on the vía Cuenca-Girón-Pasaje up to the la Cocha bridge in the Casacay sector. Pablo Salvador, in charge of the Transit Police in La Troncal said their preventive operations are 24 hours. Most of these controls have netted motorcycles with expired registrations.

And that’s all for today so hasta ? –

Jeanne

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