Transport owners protest diesel price rise; Election inspires little interest; Businesses stake hopes on Carnaval; Cuenca Covid case reach 1849 in January

Feb 3, 2021 | 6 comments

Martes, 2/2/2021

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –
No hay nada. <Have yourselves another boring day with nothing to do.>

Otras cosas –

Titular – Transportistas vuelven a protestar (Carriers protest again) – Yesterday, for the 2nd time in 2 months, the organizations of the 7 types of public transport in Azuay protested. The protest was to ask the Government to stop the rise in diesel prices, take effective controls against informal transport <which includes the “tourist” vans between Cuenca and the Guayaquil airport>, and remove the agents of the Comisión de Transito del Ecuador (CTE) from Azuay.

Yesterday’s protest saw interprovincial, intercantonal, and interparroquial buses parked on av. Remigio Crespo near Los Totems< urban buses parked on av. Gil Ramírez Dávalos; tourist buses on av. Diez de Agosto; and heavy cargo, dump trucks, and trucks on av. De Las Américas. Taxis, mixto pick-ups, and school buses and vans were in El Centro around the parque Calderón. <So that’s why you either couldn’t find a cab or the cab you found had to do a lot of detouring.>

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The General Secretary of the Sindicato de Choferes Profesional del Azuay said that the price of diesel rose by 36% since mayo, 2020 to date. As compensation, the Sindicato is asking the Government for exoneration from the payment of taxes on tires, oil and parts. Manolo Solís, president of te Cámara de Transporte de Cuenca (CTC) agreed with stopping the rise in diesel prices since this represents an average extra cost of $6/day/bus. <Doesn’t sound so bad until you multiply it by 30 days.>

Protesting higher diesel prices, buses, trucks and taxis lined city streets Monday and Tuesday, sometimes blocking traffic. (El Mercurio)

Obras de vialidad en la Feria Libre (Road work at Feria Libre) – This weekend the City will be doing maintenance to fix potholes in the sectors of the Feria Libre redondel, El Arenal, and the underpass of De Las Américas. About 400 meters of roadway will be affected. The repairs are expected to last about 4-5 years. Other areas of work are Totoracocha, the Fabián Alarcón bridge, and av. Turuhuayco.

Zoo libera a dos aves rescatadas (Zoo frees 2 rescued birds) – The “Yurak Allpa” zoo in Tarqui, released an adult and a young owl el pasado viernes on their own property. The owls had been rescued by the Ministerio del Ambiente y Agua (MAAE), examined with help from the U. of Cuenca, and rehabilitated so that they could hunt and feed themselves. The owls need populated areas to survive, and they and hunt and feed especially on roedores (rodents – your word for the day). <I hope you don’t ever need to use it in the context of an infestation.>

Pese a restricciones, turismo espera reflotar en Carnaval (Despite restrictions, tourism hopes to refloat in Carnaval) – The tourist sector in Cuenca is waiting for the decisions from the cantonal and national COEs which will depend on Covid infections and hospital occupancy. The sector is hoping that tourists will be able to celebrate in Cuenca even though large scale events such as the Jueves de Compadres will not be held.
The Fundación de Turismo para Cuenca is trying to break the seasonal nature of visits to Cuenca and is campaigning in Guayas, El Oro, Manabí and even Quito to present Cuenca as a weekend getaway.

1849 casos de COVID se registraron en enero (1849 COVID cases were recorded in January) – There were 1849 new cases of Covid recorded in Cuenca in enero. This compares with 1427 cases in diciembre with the increase attributed to Christmas and New Year festivities. <Good thing Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated here or diciembre would have seen a lot more cases.> Doctors are reminding people to intensify the care they take to avoid getting or spreading Covid since ICU units are still full. They are also worried about the upcoming election and Carnaval activity.

Fuentes de trabajo, urgencia de votantes (Job sources, urgent for voters) – The economic crisis and the avalanche of illegalities uncovered in the past months are bringing Ecuadorians to vote for policies that promote employment and the fight against corruption. A student from the U. Católica de Guayaquil said that unfortunately the proposals have been demagogic, and you need to go through each proposal from each candidate with a fine toothed comb in order to find anything feasible.

This lack of concrete proposals has fed disinterest in the elections. A political scientist said that people are voting with boredom and laziness and because voting is mandatory. Many feel that their lives won’t change much no matter who wins. Another jaded voter said he had little expectations that the next 4 years would produce the changes the country needs. He said the process is long and complicated with no immediate changes, but he hoped that the new government would champion the independence of powers and transparency that are sorely lacking. He added that political transparency would bring stability.

Presentan solicitud de juicio político (Request filed for impeachment) – Yesterday, assemblyman Ángel Sinmaleza (SUMA) presented a petition with 38 signatures to impeach Juan Carlos Zevallos, the ministro de Salud. The process must be done within 45 days with “archiving” <ending the process before completion – or something like that> not an option. The impeachment is based on 3 grounds: issuance of fraudulent disabled cards during the pandemic; lack of compliance with the Ley de Apoyo Humanitario (Humanitarian Support Law) regarding the appointment of all health professionals who were in the front line during the first months of the pandemic; non-compliance with the vaccination schedule since Zevallos prioritized family members and vaccinated in private centers outside of the plans.

Yesterday the Prosecutor’s office started an investigation into accusations of influence peddling against Zevallos. The first diligencia (hearing?) was not open to the public and there was no press release.

And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –

Jeanne

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