Venezuelans without passports wait at border, Ecuador to get new U.S. ambassador, Art bienal could be in trouble, Ricky Martin plays Cuenca

Aug 19, 2018

Venezuelans without passports say they will wait

Hundreds of Venezuelans were denied entry into Ecuador on Saturday, the first day of the government’s new requirement that Venezuelans present valid passports to enter the country. The new requirement was met with surprise and anger at the the international bridge at Rumichaca, the main point of access between Ecuador and Colombia. At several points on Saturday, shouting erupted as Ecuadorian immigration personnel explained the new rules to those waiting to cross the border.

Immigration officer explains new passport requirement to refugees.

Venezuelans with passports moved quickly through immigration, the process taking less than 15 minutes in most cases, the interior ministry reported. Those without passports say they will wait at the entry until they are granted access. “We have set up tents and wait,” said one man. “We have no other place to go.”

Previously, Venezuelans were allowed to enter Ecuador by showing their national identification cards, which remains an option for citizens of other South American countries.

Cuenca art bienal could be in trouble

The Cuenca Art Bienal, one of the top three art bienals in South America, could be cancelled this year if funding is not found. The event, which attracts top artists from around the world, is scheduled to begin in November.

Cristóbal Zapata, executive director of the event, says he is still waiting for funding from Ecuador’s ministry of culture, which claims that budget cuts have forced it to reevaluate all disbursements. The ministry had originally budgeted $300,000 for the bienal but reduced the amount to $100,000. Now, according to Zapata, even the $100,000 is in doubt.

“If we do not receive funding soon we will be forced to cancel, which will end the 32-year run of the bienal,” Zapata said.

Trump nominates new U.S. ambassador to Ecuador

U.S. President Trump has nominated Michael Fitzpatrick to be the new U.S. ambassador in Ecuador. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Fitzpatrick would replace Todd Chapman who has served as ambassador in Quito since January 2016.

Currently, Fitzpatrick is deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs. A career diplomat, he has also served as interim representative of the U.S. to the Organization of American States (OAS) and U.S. Coordinator for the Summit of the Americas. His career has included diplomatic posts in Belgium, Colombia, the Philippines, Kenya, Paraguay and Peru.

Chapman will return to the State Department in Washington, D.C.

Ricky Martin plans Cuenca concert

Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin will perform in Cuenca November 3, his agent announced on Thursday. The concert will be held at Alejandro Serrano Aguilar stadium but times have not yet been announced. Ticket seller TicketShow said it will post prices and other details on its website “in the coming days.”

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