Unmasked men get violent; Restaurants and bars protest proposed hours; Local governments go unpaid; Scholarship students stranded overseas

Jul 7, 2020 | 38 comments

Lunes, 6/7/2020

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –
Nada.

Otras cosas –

Titular – 300 becarios están dejados a su suerte (300 scholars are left to their own devices) – At least 300 scholarship winners are stranded in various universities around the world. The government has not paid their manutención ni colegiatura (living stipend nor tuition), leaving them in precarious condition, to sell what they can, get loans from family and friends, and find what work is available. Many are suffering from anxiety and depression since the system has requirements they do not have the mechanisms to fulfill. Some have been barred from continuing with their studies due to unpaid tuition.

Womens’ work triples – According to the UN, the work of women has tripled during the pandemic. Just in Ecuador, women spend at least 36 hours a week in the care of people and homes – unpaid work. In addition to housework, women have to contend with telework, which is not limited to an 8 hour day, and studies. A Cuenca researcher found that studies have diminished among women since so much of their time is dedicated to child care, husband care, and housework which is still not shared by men. <So those of you retirees who are grousing about not having your cleaning lady need to be grateful you don’t have to be available to telecommute 24/7 and take care of and home school your kids.> All of this is topped by intrafamily violence. From 12/3 to 4/6, there were 876 reports of intrafamiliar violence in Azuay with 796 of those in Cuenca. According to ECU 911 data, there were an average of 286 calls for intrafamily violence nationally.

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The Covid-19 health emergency makes women’s work more difficult. (El Mercurio)

Mask incidents – Last weekend, citizens resisted being sanctioned for not using masks in the parque los Héroes de Cuenca. Two people were caught not wearing masks and while the Guardia Ciudadana and Policía Nacional were trying to do their paperwork, other people arrived and there was pushing and violence. A motorcycle was knocked over and one person arrested. Some of the excuses were, “I live here,” and “I was only out for a second,” and “You should be out catching robbers.” <So if you’re out and unmasked, you’d better get more creative with your excuses.>

Money owed to municipalities – The national government owes about $40 million to 34 municipalities in Azuay, Cañar, y Morona Santiago for monthly transfers and el Impuesto al Valor Agregado (IVA – Value Added Tax – your word for the day for those of you who have been taking your senior refund but only knew it as IVA). The lack of funds has hit the smallest municipalities the hardest leaving them without funding for activities including salaries.

Public works employment – 4 contracts for $71.9 million, signed by the Municipio and the Banco de Desarrollo de Ecuador for restarting public works projects will generate 7.000 direct and 15,000 indirect jobs. The work will start with reactivating the of widening Avenida del Migrante which has about 200 jobs. There will also be a bridge over the Yanuncay, an underpass at De Las Américas at the redondel in front of the bomba (gasolinera, gas station) de choferes, bike lanes, paving work, casas comunales, and parks. <The US ought to consider some spending on public works to get people back to work. There are too many bridges in dangerous condition, too many cities with ancient sewer systems, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera (to quote the King of Siam). For me, it’s a higher priority than more tax giveaways to billionaires. Maybe it will become important if a bridge collapses under an Amazon truck.>

New curfew hours – Bars and restaurants are asking the national COE, which meets tomorrow, to not approve the Cuenca cantonal COE request to change the start of curfew back to 19:00. The COE of Cuenca made the request to roll back the curfew because there were more people taking advantage of the late hour to drink in public spaces. <And probably sharing the bottle, cups and viruses.> The local COE request would affect the formal food and drink sector, one of the sectors hurt the most by the pandemic. For more, see the accompanying article.

COVID statistics – The last MSP (Ministerio de Salud Pública) showed 1,935 cases in Azuay since the start of the health emergency. Azuay has the 6th most cases behind the provinces of Guayas, Pichincha, Manabí, Los Ríos y El Oro. Cuenca, with 1,686 cases, is the canton with the most cases in the province. None of the other 8 cantons with active cases has over 75. Province wide, 73% of those infected have recovered. The number of critical patients dropped from 37 to 26 over the weekend which left ICU beds open. The Zone 6 health coordinator, Julio Molina, said they are waiting for a donation of more respirators from the US.

Trivia for the day – Basketball, both men’s and women’s, started in Cuenca at the Manuel J. Calle school in the 30’s. At that time, the womens’ uniform was a blouse, skirt and pantalón bombacho (bloomers). The Cuencana team played in Riobamba with the home team in shorts and the visitors in long skirts. The visitors went back to the dressing room in tears, and that’s when the skirts got ditched. Cuenca went on to win the game. <I wonder how well Michael Jordan would have played in bloomers and a long skirt?>

And that’s all for today so hasta ? –

Jeanne

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