Planning underway for a safe election; Bus income hit hard by Covid, higher gas prices and the tram; Cedula services extended; Chordeleg water flow restored

Jan 14, 2021 | 3 comments

Miércoles, 13/1/2020

Hola, Todos –
Looks like 2021 is going to be just as crappy as 2020. I lost internet service on Monday <and no, it wasn’t an unpaid bill>, called the provider, and the technicians came today. Now I have a new router to go with the new hard drive and new operating system. Do I dare ask “What next?”

Actividades –
No hay nada.

Otras cosas –

Titular – Precauciones para votar (Voting precautions) – Authorities recognize that voting on 7/2 could be the event most likely to spread Covid since the beginning of the pandemic and are preparing so that it will not be the source of a new outbreak. A recommendation by the Ministerio de Salud to increase the voting by two hours was not accepted since legally, that would invalidate the elections. The CNE did agree on the possibility of voting in turns so citizens holding cedulas that end in even numbers would vote between 7-12:00; and citizens with cedulas ending in odd numbers would vote from 12-17:00. Voters will not be able to bring companions inside the voting sites, circulation will be one-way to the right, poll workers and observers would get kits with masks, alcohol, and distinfecting towels. Voters need to bring their own pen and masks which can be removed for 5 minutes while their identity is confirmed. The possibility of requiring 272,853 poll workers, plus observers and party representatives who spend the whole day at the site, to provide negative Covid tests was discussed.

Tres candidatos buscan una nueva universidad (Three candidates looking to a new university) – The elections for a rector of the U. of Cuenca will be this viernes. There are 3 lists of candidates for rector, academic vice-rector, and research vice-rector headed by Pablo Vanegas, María Augusta Hermida, y Fernando Pauta. The rector and vice rectors will serve 5 year terms. The cantonal COE approved plans to set up 35 voting stations on the sports field for 8,698 undergraduate students and 2 stations on the library patio for 408 workers and 468 professors to vote. <Let’s hope it will be a nice day. Can you imagine voting outside in a downpour like Wednesday afternoon’s?>

Crece preocupación en transportistas (Carriers’ concerns grow) – Directors of the Cámara de Transporte de Cuenca (CTC) are worried about their ability to continue providing bus service due to lack of income. The price of diesel rose from $1.30 to $1.358 el lunes.

Bus owners say that pandemic restrictions, the tram and higher fuel prices could put them out of business. (El Mercurio)

Rubén Calle, a legal advisor to the CTC said that when the tram started operations and line 100 was discontinued, income fell by 10-12%. On top of that was the reduction in passengers due to capacity restrictions for the pandemic which reduced income by 20-25%. The bus owners also owe about $60 million for loans to renew the fleet as part of the agreement to increase fares from $.25 to $.31 in 8/2018. That fare was arrived at after a 2017 study by the U. of Cuenca. Calle thinks that a new sustainable tariff of $.34 should go into effect and the study should be updated to reflect current costs and conditions. He also thought it was urgent for the Municipio to agree on a plan to integrate bus and tram service.

Desde lunes se puede matricula vehículos (From Monday you can register vehicles) – Registration of vehicles for 2021 will start el lunes according to their regular schedule. Register vehicles with plates ending in 1 in febrero, 2 in marzo, 3 en abril, etc. <I’m sure you get the idea. Heaven help you if you don’t.> You can register vehicles in enero that were not registered in previous years. Hours for EMOV and vehicle inspections at Mayancela and Capulispamba are lunes a viernes de 8-17:00 and sábados de 8-12:00.

Se amplían horarios para cedulación (Schedules for cedulization are extended) – The Registro Civil has extended hours for people who need a new cedula or to replace a lost or stolen cedula in order to vote. The office will be open on los sábados 30/1 and 6/2 from 6-20:00 and on 7/2 from 6-15:00. <Now that’s truly last minute – get your cedula and run to the polls before they close.> Service on these days is direct without the need for an appointment and you get your cedula immediately. Cedulas that expired after 16/3/2020 until 31/5/2021 will be valid. In febrero, new cedulas will be more secure and durable with a chip containing the owner’s personal data and an electronic signature. The cost for a first cedula is $5, for a renewal it’s $15, and for a person with a 30% or more disability, it’s free.

Restablecen servicio de agua en Chordeleg (Chordeleg water service restored) – The canton of Chordeleg has been without water service since el 26/12 when the río Pungohuayco flooded. Fire department tankers from Chordeleg, Gualaceo, and Paute and from ETAPA in Cuenca supplied water until water collection pipes could be repaired. The center of Chordeleg now has 24 hour service with intermittent service in peripheral areas.

Voto 2021 –

Ratifican fondo para promocionar el sí o no (Fund ratified to promote yes or no) – The CNE has approved $26,157 for the campaigns for and against the referendum on mining in Cuenca. Groups for sí on the referendum are the Savia Roja foundation, the Creando Oportunidades (CREO), Unidad Popular (UP) movements, and the Igualdad and Participa alliances. Groups for no on the referendum are the Asociación de Producción Textil 27 de Junio de la Victoria del Portete (Asoprotexvi), the Colegio de Ingenieros Geólogos y Minas del Azuay, and the Asociación Turística Francés Urco. Besides the national ballot, Cuencano voters will receive an extra ballot with the 5 referendum questions.

From lunes, 11/1/2021

Plantean aprobar una ley anticurrupción (Passage of anti-corruption law planned) – List 9 is the Libertad es Pueblo movement and is led by Patricio Miller, expresident of the Cámara de Turismo de Azuay and in the tourist industry. The other candidates are Dolores Segarra, Galo Rizzo, María Fenanda Patiño, y Miguel Toledo. Their plan de trabajo would create an anticorruption law to sanction crimes committed by polical and administrative powers with 60 years in prison. <Sounds like it would be a life sentence for most infractors.> It would also include a law to seize assets acquired through corruption.
Libertad es Pueblo would modify the Ley Orgánica de Educación and reform the system to include principles of honesty and moral, ethical, and civic values in the curriculum. It would promise access to the Internet as a right for children and youth. It would work to transform tourism into a source of riches for the province and country and work on laws that make tourism a public policy. They would implement universal social security for every citizen at a minimal cost whether or not they are an employee.

ID apuesta por agenda de desarrollo (ID is committed to development agenda) – List 12 is the Izquierda Democrática and supports Xavier Hervas for president. The candidates are Rodrigo Fajardo, a 36 year old lawyer, Ivonne Quezada who is also a lawyer, Marco Dedesma who is an athlete and professional coach, and Elizabeth Flores and Fernando Ochoa who are professors at he Universidad Católica de Cuenca. The average age of the candidates is 38.

ID’s plan de trabajo focuses on medium to long term objectives as well as urgent proposals to improve the institutionality, economy, and social development of the province and country. It would strengthen business links with Asia and the Pacific Rim and promote activities such as customs, insurance, financial and software services, and reactivate industry, services and innovation with an emphasis on tourism. It plans a social justice based in rights, universal education through el Bachillerato (high school), free university, and eradication of corruption through exemplary penalties. It proposes efficient management of public debt, establishment of progressive taxes, credit for entrepreneurs, and decentralization of the Government. Their plan of over 100 pages proposes laws and reforms to 35 legal entities in different areas.

And that’s all for today so Hasta Mañana, if the computer djinns allow.

Jeanne
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Editor’s note: Jeanne’s Periodico is a translated digest of news from the Cuenca daily newspaper El Mercurio. If details, such as event dates and times, do not appear in the translation, they did not appear in the newspaper (please do not ask her for missingi info). The text between the carrots, or guillemets (< … >), is Jeanne’s personal opinion and not part of the news translation.

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