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Ecuador News

More internet attacks reported, Constitutional amendments repealed, Top four Cuenca traffic violations, Pope worried about Correa

More attacks on ETAPA internet service reported

Despite company claims that internet service disruptions had stopped, more ETAPA customers are reporting outages this week. ETAPA, Cuenca’s public utilities provider, says the disruptions are the result of attacks by internet hackers. According to Boris Piedra, ETAPA general manager, the latest attacks affect “a small number” of customers in the Gapal neighborhood, in the city’s northeastern sector.

Customers at an ETAPA service center.

“This is the third attack in six weeks and we continue to work on the problem by reconfiguring modems of affected customers and making technical upgrades to the system,” he said. Piedra said that those who have suffered internet disruptions will be compensated in their September bills. He said police have identified suspects in the hacks and says arrests may be announced soon.

According to Piedra, 3,000 to 4,000 of ETAPA’s 73,000 internet customers have been affected by the disruptions.

High court rejects Correa-era constitutional amendments

A majority of the judges of Ecuador’s Constitutional Court voted Wednesday to repeal a 2015 amendment to the constitution that made communication a “public service” that could be regulated by the government. The amendment, which was opposed by national and international journalist organizations as a violation of free speech, was passed by a “super majority” of the National Assembly along with other amendments. In addition, the court repealed an amendment that allowed the armed forces to assist police in “maintaining public order.” Other 2015 amendments are under review, a spokesman for the court said.

Top four traffic infractions result in 7,000 fines and arrests

According to the EMOV, the Cuenca transportation authority, four traffic violations have resulted in more than 7,000 fines and arrests so far in 2018. The four are: disregarding traffic signals, resulting in 3,967 fines; drunk driving, 1,934 arrests; speeding, 682 arrests and fines; and cell phone use while driving, 424 fines. Those caught driving drunk face mandatory jail time as do those those arrested for driving at “extreme speeds” above legal limits. Violating traffic signals and cell phone use are punishable by fines.

Pope concerned about prosecution of Correa

In a meeting with Latin American labor leaders Wednesday in Rome, Pope Francis said he is concerned about legal action against former Latin American presidents, including Ecuador’s Rafael Correa and Brazil’s Lula da Silva. Francis said that there appears to be a tendency for some governments  to be guided by U.S. and European interests in attempting to punish former leftist leaders. The pope said he is hopeful that the election of leftist Andrés Manuel López in Mexico is an indication of a “turning political tide” in Latin America.