VP touts government assistance to Cuenca but mayor wants help with tram and mining ordinance
Speaking at a ceremony marking Cuenca’s independence anniversary, Vice President Alfredo Borrero repeated the government pledge to rebuild a section of the highway connecting Cuenca and Guayaquil as well as to multi-lane the Pan American highway from Cuenca through neighboring Canar Province. He also promised funding for restoration of the Benigno Malo High School.
“We are upgrading transportation infrastructure and understand the importance of a good highway system for revitalizing the economy,” Borreo said. “Connectivity is the key to prosperity for all Ecuadorians and President [Guillermo] Lasso and I are making it a priority in Cuenca and throughout the country.”
In addition to promising $6 million to stabilize a landslide-prone mountain on the Cuenca-to-Guayaquil route and $18 million to widen the Pan American highway, Borrero said that money has also been set aside to repair the Cumbe-Biblián and Sigsig- Gualaquiza highways.
“As a native Cuencano, I take very serious the government’s commitment to this city and I pledge to follow the progress of these projects closely to make certain they are successfully completed,” Borrero said.
Borrero praised Cuenca for having one of the highest Covid vaccination rates in Ecuador. “The government promised to vaccinate nine million Ecuadorians in 100 days. We met that objective and Cuenca has been a major beneficiary of that plan and is now a leader in reducing the number of infections.”
In comments following the vice president’s, Cuenca Mayor Pedro Palacio thanked Borrero for his assistance but reminded him of the promise by Lasso to assume loan payments for the city’s tram system. “During his campaign, the president said he would assume payments on the loan from the French government and I would appreciate your help on formalizing this arrangement,” the mayor said.
Palacios asked Borrero for government recognition and enforcement of the ordinance approved by Cuenca voters to restrict mining in areas that affect the city’s water supply. “This was passed overwhelmingly by the voters since it affects the health and livelihood of all Cuencanos and we need help from Quito to make sure it is recognized.” Palacios added that the Ministry of Mining has, so far, not formally recognized the ordinance.
Palacios also voiced concerns to Borrero about the management of the Turi prison and the threat violent prisoners from outside the area pose to the community. The mayor repeated an earlier request to the government to allow the city to manage the prison.