Viernes, 22/4/2016: Earthquake tax bill goes to Assembly, Quake victims robbed, City adding Wifi zones, Burial space running short

Apr 23, 2016 | 0 comments

Hola, Todos – 

Pagina cultural – 

Ongoing or finished events –

chl jeanne logoFestival de cine colombiano – The Colombian film festival closed Fri. with “Del amor y otros demonios” (About love and other demons) at the Sala de Conciertos at CCE.  (The photo shows the right upper part of a woman laying in a bed with her wrist in a restraint.  I wonder if this is really appropriate for high school students?)

The magazine “Arte en los Tiempos Contemporáneos” (Art in Contemporary Times) – This magazine was presented Fri. in MMAM (Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno) and features the life and career of Virgilio Quinde Tacuri who created the monument to the “Chola Cuencana” at av. España y Huayna Cápac.

Concierto solidario – Guest pianist Carlos Vargas joined the Orquesta Sinfónica de Cuenca Fri. night in the Teatro Pumpapungo in their 10th concert of the first season. Some concert goers brought donations of food which will be channeled through MIES.

Articles about –

Pablo Cardoso and Janneth Méndez – This couple are both Cuencano artists, and have been independently selected to participate in the 13th Bienal.
“El Observador” (The Observer) – This Cuencana magazine is 18 years old with a focus on politics.  It also covers cultural themes and the importance of culture.

Maratón de lectura (Reading Marathon) – The “Maratón de lectura de fondo 10H” was a 10 hour reading marathon Fri. from 8-18:00 in the upper level of Pabellón B in the Facultad de Filosofía at the U of Cuenca.  This is the 5th time the U has organized this event to celebrate el Día Mundial del Libro (World Book Day) (I have feeling electronic readers are included).  Each reader from the book, “El entenado” by Juan José Saer (The stepson) will read for 10 minutes.  There will be a similar event on 29/4 in city libraries and plazas.

Earthquake news – 

Titular – Pesca y turismo, espera (Fishing and tourism, waiting).  Activity in these two industries is practically at zero.  In Crucita and Jama, for example, most of the hotels fell and as a precautionary measure, fishermen have been told not to enter the sea, including the beach.  In addition, they have no one to sell their catch to.  Many lost motors and nets under the rubble although their boats which were on the sand are fine.  They are waiting for permission to resume their livelihoods.

Reconstruction – As the search for survivors under the debris has intensified, thoughts have turned to the best way to rehouse people and how to reconstruct. About 20,000 have been left homeless and authorities have started thinking about how to house them while reconstruction is going on.  The government has also identified buildings that need to be demolished.  Correa talked about suitable condominiums with green space where victims could be moved.  Many people are camped out near their collapsed or unsafe houses for fear that if they leave, they will be robbed.  (The accompanying photo is of an army truck and soldiers handing out supplies to an orderly line of people with others who have received supplies walking away carrying full plastic bags. It makes me feel good to see that the soldiers aren’t flinging supplies at an uncontrollable mob from the truck or from helicopters that can’t land safely.)

Hope fading – The hope of finding survivors is fading.  A lieutenant colonel in the Quito fire department said that after 96 hours, the possibility of finding survivors drops to 3-5%.  Signs of life have been identified by manual searching, sensing devices and search dogs at the 5 story Navarette shopping center.  Searchers are there 24 hours.  The search has been complicated by the odors of rotting fish and meat which confuse the sensors.  Also at hour 96, the risks of biological contamination increase.

Portoviejo – The Portoviejo Cemetery has suffered damage and is looking for space to inter quake victims as well as rehouse caskets taken from damaged niches. Normally niches are prepared and the caskets are brought in hearses, but processions are coming by foot from both Portoviejo and Manta.

International aid –

France – France will send 30 military experts in water treatment and 16 tons of emergency material.

Spain – A plane with 14 tons of supplies including two simple water treatment systems arrived in Quito yesterday, and its cargo will go to Pedernales.

Perú – Peru is sending a logistics ship and 3 helicopters which will help with medical and humanitarian assistance and transportation of fuel and cargo.
Colombia – Colombia sent 28 tons of food.  The donations are were collected in Pasto and transported to the border with Ecuador.

Unicef – The director for Unicef in Latinamerica and the Caribbean said yesterday that the organization will give support to Ecuador to guarantee that 80,000 children whose schools were affected will be able to return to class.

Numbers – La Fiscalía reported yesterday that there were 587 deaths, 581 in Manabí Province.  539 bodies have been identified and given to their families and 48 are still in the identification process.

Temporary economic adjustments – The “Ley de Contribución Solidaria con las víctimas del terremoto” (The Law of Contribution in Solidarity with the earthquake victims) will be sent to the Assembly as an urgent economic matter. The Minister of Economic Policy and director of the SRI explained that about 4,100 people will be affected by the 0.9% tax on assets over $1 million with about $70 million raised.  The increase of the IVA from 12% to 15% (?) will not affect food, medicine or education. Various taxes and other payments from the affected areas will be delayed, re-evaluated, reduced or forgiven.

Criticism of government – Without ignoring the human aspect; businesses, unions and economic analysts agreed that along with the package of economic measures, the government should included a fiscal austerity plan.  Some feel the government should have been saving more and squandered its money for the last 9 years. Others felt that raising the IVA rate will hurt the poor disproportionately.  A Guayaquil Chamber of Commerce person presented alternatives such as the creation of free trade zones in the affected areas to attract investment.

Home reconstruction – The Assembly started a campaign, “Ayudatón por la Reconstrucción” (Aid-marathon for reconstruction) to collect material and funds to rebuild houses.

Roads in Manta – Vehicles bringing in aid were slowed by cracks and fractures in the road measuring at least 20 cm.  Many of these were vertical displacements.  The road in Manta between the coast and the airport is especially bad.  The bridge leaving town going to Portoviejo has serious fractures although the road between Guayaquil and Portoviejo is in perfect condition.  Many of the potholes along the worst routes have been filled with sand and debris.

Radio marathon – Radio stations had an aid drive in parque Calderón yesterday to benefit children. The response was massive.  Radio Taxi Express taxis volunteered a free service to pick up donations from houses to bring them to the park.

Breves (In brief) – 

5k benefit run – University students are organizing a run called “Una mano por Ecuador 5K” (A hand for Ecuador 5K) on 30/4 at 10:00 in the parque De La Madre with the goal of raising $100,000.  Register at the student federations (student unions?) at any of the universities.

Donations for animals – Donations are being received and transported along with veterinary personnel by ARCA.  lt will send a team this weekend to aid animals who will be under the charge of AMARU. It plans to start an emergency location to attend to domestic and wild animals.

Collaborative map – LlactaLab has a map covering almost 100% of Pedernales, Portoviejo, Manta, Montecristi and Jaramijó to help aid workers. It is at

Consejo Cantonal (Cantonal Council) – At a special meeting yesterday, 3 issues were addressed.  A Humanitarian Assistance Committee was formed to coordinate and determine a protocol for channeling aid to the quake zone. The council members that preside over the Planning, Public Works, Historic Center, and Housing commissions will propose legislative changes to establish standards for construction in Cuenca.  The last resolution included money in the budget to contract for studies to finalize the Seismic Risk Map for the city.

Universidad Politécnica Salesiana (UPS) – Students in Electrical Engineering went to the coast to help in work to restore the electrical grid.  They brought a generator for temporary power. The University is also collecting supplies through today which will be brought to the victims in Manabí.

Medical and psychological assessments – The “Vicente Corral Moscoso” Hospital and the Ministry of Public Health are attending to aid teams returning to Cuenca from the quake zones.  After a two day rest, workers are receiving a medical exam to look for injuries, illnesses and above all, that they are managing the pressure from working in the disaster zone.

Health emergency – There is still no official confirmation of a health emergency.  A resident of Canoa said that a large part of the odors are from meat products.  The giant freezers are warming up and the meats are rotting. He said that this is bringing flies which is a health problem. Mosquitos were less of a problem since aid packages included repellents.

Jama – A resident estimated at least 75% of the city is in ruins. He told of people who started a rumor of a tsunami last Mon, and when people evacuated, their few possessions were looted.

Rural contributions – People in rural parishes of Cuenca, surrounding cities such as Sígsig and Girón, and agricultural coops and organizations are sending donations.  A caravan picked up donations from Tarqui, Victoria del Portete , Girón and other locations.

Otras cosas –

WiFi zones – The City of Cuenca will add 50 public WiFi zones in the next few days as part of the Cuenca Ciudad Digital (Cuenca, Digital City) project. The goal is to bring 100 zones with free service.  Parque Calderón can provide access to 70 users.  (The article includes a map of the locations if you want to go to and look.)

Public service ad – The City is looking for consultants for a study for the micro pedestian network in El Centro and a study for an urban integration project along the Tranvía corridor. Proposals are due 6/6/2016.  (And anyone who has to ask me questions about this won’t be qualified to do the work.)

Penco symposium – Cuenca will host the “Primer Simposio Nacional: Agave, Cultivo y Perspectivas de Industrialización en el Ecuador” (First National Symposium:  Agave, Cultivation and Perspectives on Industrialization in Ecuador) on 29/4 from 8:30-17:30 in the Facultad de Ciencias Agropecuarias at the U of Cuenca.  Penco is agave or maguey and is used to make aguardiente and mishqui.  If you are interested in participating, go to

Amenidades – 

Movies – as usual, go to for show times and locations.  The following movies open this week.
2D – El cazador y la reina del hielo – Esp y Sub.
2D – Cuentos de terror – Sub.
2D -Atrapa la bandera – ?
The following movies are continuing.
2D & 3D – El Libro de la Selva – Esp.
2D – Batman vs Superman – Esp.
2D – 10 Avenida Cloverfield – Esp y Sub.

Internacional – 

Brazil – Vice-President Michel Temer has assumed the interim leadership of Brazil while Pres. Dilma Rousseff is in NY seeking international support to overcome the serious threat of impeachment.  Temer will serve on an interim basis if the Senate starts impeachment proceedings.  Rousseff considers Temer one of the “jefes de la conspiración” (chiefs of the conspiracy) against her. (Better than assassination as a way for #2 to get a promotion to #1, though.)

Chile – Students are protesting in spite of a national day of mourning for ex-president Patricio Aylwin who led the country’s transition to democracy after the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

México – An explosion at the PEMEX petrochemical plant in Coatzacoales, Veracruz killed 13 and injured 136.  The counts are expected to rise once teams can enter the complex.  Many other industrial accidents involving Pemex were listed.

Bolivia – About 300 people were treated for toxic smoke inhalation in La Paz after a landfill fire in which 10 years worth of tires are burning .

Discuentos y compras – 

Metrocar Chevrolet – prices from $14,990 on selected models – 90 days to pay the down payment, 5 year loan with direct credit, a free bike and one year roadside assistance – restrictions apply, valid until 30/4/2016 – Huayna Cápac N5-45 (2833 240) and Remidio Crespo y Federico Proaño (2818 260).

And that´s all for today so Hasta Domingo –




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