Paccari chocolate opens ‘Casa de Experiencias’; Ecuador women face challenges; Ecuador, Peru meet about illegal mining; Cuenca still most expensive city

Mar 9, 2023 | 6 comments

Miércoles, 9/3/2023

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –

Concierto sinfónico – The Orquesta Sinfónica de Cuenca will perform a new concert el 10/3 a las 20:00 in the Teatro Pumapungo. Guest violinist Jorge Saade will play. Free.

Paccari abre su Casa de Experiencias para los cuencanos (Paccari opens its Casa de Experiencias for the people of Cuenca) – Paccari opened a Casa de Experiencias at Simón Bolívar and Juan Montalvo in the Casa del Coco, one of the oldest houses in Cuenca and part of the “ruta francesa” tour. Cofounder of Paccari, Santiago Peralta, returned to the city of his birth for this new location after putting Ecuador in the eyes of the world with his internationally award winning chocolate. <The picture shows ice cream, too!> Paccari maintains good relations with its 4,000 small scale growers.

Ecuador’s award-winning chocolate maker Paccari has opened a “Casa de Experiencias” in Cuenca in the Casa del Coco on calles Simón Bolívar and Juan Montalvo. (El Mercurio)

Mercado – Paccari is in over 40 countries around the world, and has received 400 prizes for the quality and unique characteristics of its chocolate. It is in El Corte Inglés in Spain which is the best chain in Europe for high quality products and is in 1st class on Emirates Airlines. 50% of Paccari’s production is sold nationally and the other 50% is exported. <My definition of a 3d world country is one where its inhabitants can’t afford or get products produced in that country. This takes Ecuador out of that category if half of the chocolate is enjoyed here.> For fans of dark chocolate, one of its new products is Crema de Avellanas Dark. The company is part of a co-branding strategy with the World Wildlife Fund where families in the Zancudo Cocha community inside the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve grow chocolate in agroforestry systems to avoid impacting the Amazonian forests. Sustainability is important to the company which has transitioned to biodegradable packaging. Their products are organic and free of soy, dairy, gluten, chemicals, and GMOs.

De El Mercurio del martes, 7/3 (2 articles):
Sinfónicas ofrecen tres conciertos (Sinfónicas ofrecen tres conciertos) – Ram Corps and Welsh Revival symphony orchestras composed of US musicians, will play in Cuenca. The last performance, and only one that’s not already over, will be el 9/3 a las 19:00 at the Unidad Educativa Bilingue Interamericana. Free. <The photo makes the orchestra look like it’s on the Mad Max set.>

Agenda por fiestas (Holiday schedule) – The Dirección Municipal de Cultura is preparing a calendar of events from 1-30/4 for the founding of Cuenca holidays. If you want to include an activity in the agenda, go to the department’s Facebook page by 9/3. No cost to register.

Titular –

8M: grito por la vida (8M: a shout for life) – Wednesday was the Día Internacional de la Mujer and marches in Cuenca included “8M Paro Feminista: mujeres y disidencias en resistencia” which started at 17:00 at the Gobernación de Azuay in El Centro and finished at the “Vivas Nos Queremos” bridge. FEUE called for universities to meet at Parque Calderón at 17:00. While there have been advances, there are still many challenges left to be accomplished. In the area of politics, Ecuador was a pioneer in women’s rights and Matilde Hidalgo Navarro was the first woman to vote in an election in not only Ecuador, but Latin America. <Her life was full of “firsts” and if you want to see an example of an exemplar role model, Google her.>

The country also included gender parity for elections to guarantee fair participation by women in election campaigns. There are challenges in the area of economics including women receiving lower salaries for the same work then men, and women not being affiliated with social security in the same percentages as men. Gender violence is another issue with 322 femicides and 9 transfemicides in 2022. The national Attorney General’s office receives an average of 15 reports of violence against women every day, but only 2% of the cases go to court.

Cuenca –

De El Mercurio del martes, 7/3 (1 article):
Cuenca sigue con la canasta básica más cara en USD 808.24 (Cuenca continues to have the most expensive basic basket at $808.24) – Nationally, the basket of basic necesities rose from $764.71 in enero to $767.11 in febrero, 2023. The basket was $725.15 in febrero of 2022. Cuenca continued as the most expensive city with Santo Domingo the cheapest at $712.75. Annual inflation was at 2.90% <a long way from Venezuela or Argentina’s inflation rates>. Food and non-alcoholic beverages had the highest annual inflation rate with 1.14%. Manta had the highest inflation with 3.14% followed by Guayaquil with 3.03%, Quito with 2.98%, Amato with 2.71% and Cuenca 5th with 2.71%.

The canasta básica familiar (basic family basket) includes 75 essential goods and services to satisfy the basic needs of a typical household of 4 members with 1.6 people earning the $450.00 basic salary.|

Region –

Usar alterna por Uzhcurrumi tiene “peligros” (Using Uzhcurrumi as an alternate has “dangers”) – When the main route between Cuenca and Machala was closed last jueve at km. 112, the Uzhucurrumi-Quera access was opened to light vehicles. This road is over 15 km., with 4 km. in Azuay and 11 in El Oro. The Azuay section is gravel and the part in El Oro is deteriorating asphalt. The whole of the road is narrow, potholed, and unlit. <I guess that answers the questions I had about the road last week. It’s actually worse than I thought it might be.> People living along the road are worried because in addition to the vehicles that encunetan (wind up in the ditch – from cuneta, a ditch, and your words for the day) while trying to avoid potholes, there have been assaults at night and in the early morning due to lack of lighting. Leonel Heras, a resident of the Uzhcurrumi parish, feared that a temporary bypass the year before in the Porotillos sector might collapse. The bypass was built <cobbled together?> after a creek rose and washed away part of the “main” road. He said in spite of the alternate route being for light vehicles, it’s being used by tankers and other heavy vehicles.

Authorities are considering restricting traffic in coming days to safeguard this alternate route <Restrict it to motorcyles, bicycles, horses and pedestrians only? A foto of a particularly bad part of the road with a bridge that may or may not be on the route was in the paper, and looked too dangerous for anything wider than a donkey.> Various neighbors and drivers who travel on the alternate route made suggestions about improving it. Meanwhile, the Ministerio de Transporte established the vía Biblián-Zhud-Cochancay-El Triunfo-Puerto Inca-Ponce Enríquez as the alternate route for public transport between Cuenca and Machala.

Reparación de alcantarilla tomará de diez a 12 días (Sewer repair will take 10 to 12 days) – The work to replace a broken sewer will take 10-12 days depending on the weather. Luis Mario Barzallo, undersecretary of MTOP Zone 6 said it is working overtime to replace the sewer which is from 15-18 m. deep. MTOP has to remove all of the structural part of the road to make the replacement. There is one bus or van cooperative which is providing trasbordo services. <Passengers get off the bus on one side of the project, walk or scramble across, and reboard another bus on the other side. Most likely there will be residents who you can pay to carry your luggage across while their wives sell you food.> <Sometime next year, if you drive along km. 112, and there’s a big dip in the road – the new sewer is probably under that dip.>

Nacional –

Reunión binacional sobre minería ilegal (Bi-national meeting on illegal mining) – The Minister of the Environment from Ecuador, Gustavo Manrique, met with his counterpart from Perú, Albina Ruiz, to analyze the subject of illegal mining which is considered by the Ecuadorian government to be a threat to public safety in the country. The two ministers talked last week to set up a meeting, possibly in abril, to coordinate joint efforts to combat illegal mining. That issue took a violent turn in the last few days when Perú blew up Ecuadorian machinery involved in illegal mining. <I think Perú bombed the machinery which was on its side of the border. No one seems to be too unhappy with the bombing so the machinery probably belonged to illegal miners.>

And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –



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