Hundreds of supporters turned out Saturday for President Rafael Correa’s weekly “citizens link” broadcast to the nation in Cuenca’s Parque Paraiso.
During his comments, Correa said he regretted the construction delays of Cuenca’s tram system but said that when the project is completed, it will serve as a model for all of Latin America. “It will not only improve mobility of Cuenca’s citizens but will attract more tourists and help the economy,” he said. “This is what the future will look like and Cuenca will be the symbol.”
He added that funds from the federal government’s donation of an army base to the city of Cuenca guarantee the completion of the project.
During his broadcast, Correa attacked U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros for her suggestion that the U.S. government publish a list of Ecuadorian officials who have taken bribes in the Odebrecht scandal. “You notice that Señora Ros does not care about the corrupt officials in other countries, just in Ecuador,” he said of the anti-Castro Florida Republican. “She wants to embarrass this government for being a friend of Cuba.” Correa added that Ecuadorians should be vigilant of U.S. efforts to influence the February election.
Correa said he regretted illegal mining in Zaruma, El Oro Province, and Camilo Ponce Enríquez, 30 miles west of Cuenca, and said the government would move quickly to expel miners who do not hold permits. The illegal mining in Zaruma was blamed, in part, for sink holes that have destroyed several structures in the city.
Correa also said that the economy is improving, citing a forecast for growth in 2017 following a 1.6 percent contraction in 2016.
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