Thousands march in Cuenca Gay Pride parade; Quito cable car passengers rescued following mechanical failure; Chinese vehicles increase market share

Jul 9, 2023 | 14 comments

An estimated 2,000 LGBTI supporters crowded into San Francisco Plaza Saturday afternoon following a Gay Pride parade through Cuenca’s historic district.

Organizers said the parade from Parque San Blas to San Francisco Plaza was the largest in the event’s 10-year history. “We are very happy with this wonderful crowd,” said Anita Ludeña. “This is a powerful demonstration of our resolve to demand our rights and to be accepted by all Ecuadorians. Our numbers show our strength.”

She said she was particularly pleased to see foreigners in the crowd. “There are people marching today from Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Cuba and Chile. I am particularly happy to see our friends from the United States and Europe and I notice several signs in English demanding rights for the LGBTI community,” she said. “Our movement is truly international, and Cuenca has become an international city.”

Marchers in Saturday’s Gay Pride parade display the LGBTI colors.

Ludeña added that she wanted to thank those who joined the parade who were not gay. “Many people who are not LGBTI came out today to show their support for our cause. This shows us how many in the larger community support rights for gay people.”

A speaker at San Francisco Plaza reminded the crowd of the progress the LGBTI has made over the years. “Do you realize that in 1996, if you publicly admitted you were gay in Cuenca, that you would be arrested and fined one million sucres? We have made great progress, but we still have far to go to gain acceptance.”

Quito cable car passengers rescued
All the passengers trapped on the Quito cable car system, TelefériQo, were rescued Thursday, the municipal government said Friday. In total, the authorities rescued 27 people who were suspended in the gondolas when power to the system stopped unexpectedly and could not be restored. Another 96 people stranded at the Cruz Loma viewpoint were transported back to Quito by van.

Quito Mayor Pabel Muñoz said the rescued people showed no signs of hypothermia or injury and all had been returned to their hotels or residences. He announced that that TelefériQo operations will be closed indefinitely for technical checks, saying that a malfunction of the braking system disrupted power to the gondolas.

Quito’s cable car reaches more than 3,947 meters (12,950 feet) above sea level, up the east slope of the Pichincha Volcano, making it one of the highest cable cars in South America, according to the TelefériQo website. It travels more than 2,500 meters in an 18-minute ride that offers a view of Quito’s cityscape and surrounding mountains.

Chinese vehicles increase market share
By the end of 2024, Ecuadorians will purchase more Chinese-made cars and trucks than all other vehicles combined. The Chamber of the Automotive Industry of Ecuador (CINAE) reports that through the first five months of 2023, 20,359 of the 46,555 new vehicles sold in the country were Chinese brands.

In several Latin American countries, including Chile and Argentina, Chinese brands are already the top sellers.

According to the chamber, the reasons for the popularity of Chinese vehicles is low price and a wide variety of models. Another factor is reliability. “When Chinese cars first arrived several years ago, there was concern that they did not have the quality of Janpaense, U.S. and European brands,” said Jorge Miller, spokesman for the chamber. “As the years have passed it was discovered that they are just as reliable and, in some case, more reliable than the better-known brands from other countries.”

“Today, people understand that the Chinese are owners and partners with many popular automobile brands, such as Volvo, Nissan and MG, and has part ownership of other non-Chinese makes,” Miller added. “The rapid growth of the used car market in Ecuador for Chinese brands also speaks to the quality of the product. Resale of vehicle of vehicles more than six years old show they retrain their value compared to brands from other countries.”

According to Miller, Chinese-built cars and trucks sell at a discount of 20% to 40% compared to non-Chinese brands.

The top Chinese brands sold in Ecuador, Miller says, are Jetour, Jac and Great Wall.

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