In a meeting with Cuenca officials Friday, President Lenin Moreno backed up his ministers of finance and public works in guaranteeing the cash flow to complete the tranvía. In addition, he said the government will offer financial assistance and low-interest loans to help businesses that have suffered loses due construction delays.
“We will help the citizens of Cuenca to get the project done and will not forget those who have been harmed during the building process,” he said. “We are optimistic about the finished product but understand there have been human and business costs that were not anticipated.” The president said details of aid and loans are being developed by Finance Minister Carlos de la Torre.
During his Friday comments, Moreno also pledged to keep Cuenca’s drinking water the cleanest in the country. “It is my promise that the government will allow no mining activity that will damage the water supply of Cuenca.” Controversy has swirled for two years about the impact on water sources of mining operations in the Cajas Mountains, west of Cuenca.
“We are studying this now and will maintain continuous monitoring during the mining process,” Moreno said. The government is allowing water testing in the area by a team from the University of Cuenca. Independent testing had been prohibited during the administration of former president Rafael Correa, which claimed the government had already determined water quality safety.
In tests by international water engineering groups, Cuenca’s water has been rated the best in Latin America and among the best in the world on several occasions during the past 10 years.
During his Cuenca comments, Moreno also urged young people to get involved in politics, saying government is too important to “leave to the old people.” He said “new blood” is needed to get beyond selfish interests. “We need a new generation that can rise above the politics of confrontation and personal enmity. I believe young people understand the value of working out problems through dialogue,” he said.
He defended his referendum question that will reverse the Correa-era constitutional amendment allowing the indefinite reelection of public officials, including presidents. “Change in government is good and allowing leaders to remain in government for years can lead to dictators such as Strossner, Trujillo and the Somoza,” he said.