Who will be excluded from fuel subsidies? Expat dies in climbing accident; Communication law reconsidered; Cuenca to play for South America Cup
Although the government and indigenous organizations have not reached a final agreement on fuel subsidies, the two sides agree on most of the exclusions. These would be based on income of the driver and the size and number of vehicles owned.
The disagreement centers on the eligibility of the commercial fishing fleet and shrimp producers, which the government says need help to be competitive in international markets. Conaie, which represents the indigenous side, insists that all large corporations pay full price for gasoline and diesel fuel.
Based on the agreements reached so far, individuals with an annual income of more than $41,603 would not be eligible for the subsidies. The figure would be determined through income tax records. In addition, cars with engine displacements of more than 2,200 cubic centimeters, trucks with more 3,000 cc’s, SUVs and off-road vehicles with more than 2,400 cc’s and motorcycles above 300 cc’s would not receive subsidies.
According to the Ministry of Transport, 80% of the vehicles circulating in the country would be eligible for subsidies based on engine size.
Under the agreements reached, individuals owning more than three vehicles would be excluded from eligibility. Monitoring and enforcement rules would be determined once a final agreement is signed.
Assembly to reconsider communication law
Ecuador’s National Assembly will begin debate this week on President Guillermo Lasso’s veto and the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the revised communication law. The original legislation would have applied government oversight to print, electronic and social media, and was called a “gag order” on freedom of speech by press organizations.
Supporters of the Lasso’s veto say they are encouraged that the new law will eliminate the “censorship” contained in the original legislation. “The Correistas have been defeated on most points,” says Democratic Left Assemblywoman Nathalie Arias. “The most extreme restrictions to free speech were found unconstitutional by the court so they cannot be included in the final text. The judges ruled that prior censorship and government review of the press is not allowed.”
She added: “We are especially happy that Rafael Correa’s thought police, Supercom, will not return. We don’t need that kind of fascism again in Ecuador.”
In August, the Constitutional Court supported 13 of Lasso’s objections to the revised law, mostly relating to what it called “undue constraints on speech.”
Supporters of the original legislation, claim Lasso’s line-item veto and the court ruling removes protection for private individuals from slander and libel. “Although the original text may been extreme in some cases, it included necessary limits on what could be published and posted,” says Social Christian Majorie Chavez. “Yes, it appears that most of Lasso’s objections will stand in the revised law but what we need is a new, comprehensive law that protects people from insults.”
Cuenca football team to play for South America Cup
Despite Friday’s 1-0 loss to Orense SC in Machala, Deportivo Cuenca will play in the Conmebol Sudamericana tournament, competing for the South America Cup. It will be Cuenca’s first appearance in the competition since 2017.
Cuenca qualified by solidifying seventh place in Ecuador Championship League standings with 40 points. The Southern Express have one game remaining, at home against Mushuc Runa.
Expat dies in climbing accident
Fifty-two-year-old James Ehlers died Sunday in a mountain climbing accident in Cañar Province. Two other climbers, men from Germany and and Canada, were injured in the accident and are being treated in a hospital in Azogues.
According to police, Ehlers, originally from Texas, was a six-year resident of Cuenca while the two injured men were tourists. First responders report that the accident occurred when a cable failed as the men were climbing a rock formation near the town of Durcur.
In a social media post, Sandra Monks, Ehler’s wife, described him as a former professional football player who served for two years as pastor of a non-denominational English-language Christian church in Cuenca.