Non-Covid cases fill hospitals too; City hospital adds specialties; New ordinance protects Cuenca watershed; Election reform debated

Aug 21, 2020 | 3 comments

Jueves, 20/8/2020

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –
De la pagina cultural –

Mobile library – The Casa de la Cultura del Azuay is getting to roll out the “BiblioAzuay” project. The project was created last year, but its start date in marzo was delayed by the health emergency. The mobile library, housed in a van, will bring a library to barrios, cantons and communities that don’t have access to books. It will start in septiembre and many of the 1,000 books in the collection are by local and national authors as a way of reactivating the economy for writers. The project will also have a digital platform on the social networks of the CCE where kids can order books and have them delivered to their houses.

El Observador – Edition 118 of this magazine is in circulation and you can get it through their social network pages or from Articles are about issues that have been debated in the last few months such as the fire station in the Parque Nacional Cajas, the presidential candidates, the Ley Humanitaria, comparing death rates from Covid with those of other infectious diseases, and illegal fishing in the Galápagos. <And no, I don’t think there’s going to be a version in English for those of you who didn’t take advantage of the lockdown to study Spanish on line.> Cost: $2.00.

Otras cosas –

A new city ordinance strengthens proections of Cuenca’s watershed in the Cajas Mountains. (El Mercurio)

Titular – USD 101 milliones en campañas ($101 million in campaigns) – The country has spent over $101 million in the last 11 years to finance candidates’ electoral campaigns and $42 million is anticipated for 2021. This initiative sought to equal advertising for the candidates regardless of the funds they had after Correa won the presidency in 2007 against Álvaro Naboa, Ecuador’s richest man. Correa promised not to return to a time when the biggest checkbook won the elections and in the Constitution of 2008, article 115 calls for federal funding in communications media for all candidates.

The 2009 general elections cost $41,740,000; the referendum in 2011 cost $5,670,000; in 2014 – $19,516,976; the 2017 presidential elections cost $24,058,693; and the sectional elections in 2019 cost $35,000,000. For the elections in febrero, 2021 the budget is $42,483,018. Reduction or elimination of this money is being debated in the National Assembly. Some view it as a waste of money in a time of need for addressing the pandemic. Also there were previous elections in which a candidate only got .49% support or 33,000 votes. These candidates got hundreds of thousands of dollars just to promote their faces.

Last year the Asamblea reformed the Código de la Democracia so that candidates receiving less than 4% of the vote would have to return 50% of what was spent on their campaigns, but only on their second run for office. One expert felt the country should return to the system of private financing of campaigns where the problem was not with the method but with the lack of control. He stressed that although money is not delivered directly to the candidates, there have still been acts of corruption. <Now there’s an understatement. And probably amounts to peanuts compared to electoral corruption in the US.>

Non-Covid illnesses also fill hospitals – Since the beginning of the pandemic, the regional hospital Vicente Corral Moscoso has performed 1,850 surgeries and it and the IESS hospital have treated emergencies and illnesses besides Covid-19. The municipal hospital has assumed specialties from the public system and opened new treatment areas. However, there have been complaints from patients about delays in scheduling surgeries, lack of medications, and delays in getting to specialists. The regional hospital sees patients from other parts of the south.

The IESS takes calls every day from patients to schedule appointments and receive attention by telemedicina. Patients can also call the Call Center to find out the status of their consult. Access to the IESS hospital is through a referral from a minor medical center. Patients should call 140 and get an appointment at a medical center with a general practitioner who will make a referral to a specialist if needed.

The municipal hospital added treatment by specialists in neurology, endocrinology, and pediatric pneumology this week. Illnessses not related to Covid are being channeled to this hospital and other health centers and subcenters.

Médicos posgradistas to be paid – Yesterday the Ministerio de Finanzas announced that post-grad doctors will be paid. Some have been waiting for 10 months. <Still wondering why grown children still live with their parents?>

Prevention in traffic controls – In the control of salvoconductos, transit agents will not sanction people who do not repeat the infraction. EMOV is leading the campaign, “Entro todos nos ciudamos” (Between all of us, we take care – sounds better in Spanish – less clunky) to promote a culture of road safety with prevention and education. <Not punishment as a first option, which is a different approach to law enforcement.> Agents will review your documents for inconsistencies or lack of clarity in the information, and if the driver does’t re-offend, the sanction will not be applied.

With regard to parking controls of the Sistema de Estacionamiento Rotativo Tarifado (SERT), “meter maids” need to wait 10 minutes before issuing a parking ticket to give the driver time to go buy the ticket. <Since there aren’t meters, drivers can buy a ticket for $1 with 4 slots to fill out indicating time and date. You put these on your dashboard.> Agents’ job performances are not evaluated on the basis of how many citations they hand out. EMOV considers a reduction in accidents as the real measurement of success.

If there is an emergency and you need to drive on your “off” day, you can call ECU 911 or 157 which is a direct line to EMOV to explain why you need to drive. <Like you’re on your way to the emergency room for slicing a bagel and almost cut your thumb off in the process.> Normally, if your license plate ends in an impar (odd) number, you can drive on lunes, miércoles, viernes, y el domingo 30/8. If your plate ends in a par (even) number, you can drive on martes, jueves, sabado y el domingo 23/8.

New conservation areas – The Municipio de Cuenca has defined the Áreas de Conservación y Uso Sustenable (ACUS) to prohibit mining in zones where water sources originate. This is one of the proposals in the Ordenanza para la Protección de Fuentes Hídricas, el Aire Puro y la Biodiversidad (Ordinance for the Protection of Water Sources, Clean Air and Biodiversity) which was approved in the first debate by the Concejo Cantonal. Once ratified, the first 3 ACUS will be Mazán, Curiquingue-Gallocantana, y Machángara. The three areas include about 3,200 hectares, contain forests and páramos, and are habitat for páramo wolves, pumas, Andean bears, condors, and 15 classes of amphibians which are unique on the planet.

An environmental engineer called it an historic advance since it creates zones that are blindadas (shielded, armored – our word for the day) where mining activities will never be allowed. Most of the land in the 3 zones has been acquired by ETAPA to conserve water sources. Elecaustro also has 16,291 hectares under protection in the río Machángara watershed.

Public works projects – The city is projecting $194 million in loans and investments for public works projects in the next 4 years as part of its plan to reactivate the local economy. <It worked for Roosevelt, why not for Palacios?> $36 million will be invested in the rest of 2020 to improve the Avenida del Migrante, the Mirador de Turi, parks, bridges, bike lanes, and street improvements. The money is coming from the Banco del Estado, Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina, direct investments, and private businesses.

Political cartoon of the day – A picture of a sheep holding up a ballot and saying “¡¡Ya tenemos papeleta!!” <We have a ballot already!!> A voice off to the side answers “Pues más parece la lista de los más buscados” (But it looks more like the list of the most wanted) <To get this joke, you have to know that ballots have the photos of the candidates on them. The pictures on the ballot are of ratones y sapos -rats and toads. Also sapo is a big insult.>

And that´s all for today so Hasta la semana de 24/8.