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The Cuenca Dispatch publishes exclusive reports on Ecuador’s economy, politics, crime and more that you will not find published anywhere else on the web.
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Volume 7, Issue 50
From the week of September 17, 2023
The Sierra region of Ecuador offers a plethora of hidden treasures, brimming with natural beauty and waiting to be discovered by intrepid travelers on vacation. Imbabura, Carchi, Tungurahua, Cotopaxi, and Chimborazo are five provinces within this stunning region that harbor these lesser-known gems, where you can immerse yourself in nature, embark on thrilling adventures, explore […]
As record number of Ecuadorians are deported from the US, more arrive finding only shattered images of what they were promised
A surge in the number of Ecuadorians arriving in the US is highlighting the false expectations many arrived with.
The Galapagos Life Fund (GLF), created in Delaware, will manage resources for conservation on the Galapagos islands.
Central Bank of Ecuador economic projections for 2024 leave little doubt there will be difficult times ahead
Regardless of which party takes control of Ecuador in 2024, they will face an economic reality that will be extremely difficult to manage.
We’ve got guests in from Europe today (one from Germany and the other a Brit who now lives in Portugal). They’ve been with us for a couple of days and will leave on Thursday or Friday. So, I’m going to keep this short. But I’ll share this with you. Every time we get together with […]
Luisa González, the presidential candidate for the Citizen Revolution (RC), arrived at the State Attorney General’s Office in the northern part of Quito, flanked by her running mate, Andrés Arauz, and a group of RC politicians and enthusiastic supporters. They were there to formally file a complaint regarding an alleged attempt on González’s life.
The National Electoral Council (CNE) recently unveiled the rules for the upcoming presidential debate featuring Daniel Noboa and Luisa González. This debate, set to address critical issues, is scheduled for October 1st, running from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
New regulation adds new products to import list and loosens penalties for bringing in undeclared products.
Internal fighting has split the indigenous movement, turning it into a movement without political power
The fighting between Leonidas Iza, the president of Conaie, and Marlon Santi the coordinator of Pachakutik, have turned the once powerful voting block into wallflowers in the upcoming elections and assembly.
In the aftermath of recent elections, the landscape of the National Assembly stands poised for negotiation and collaboration among four political forces. None of these forces have managed to secure an outright majority, setting the stage for a crucial exercise in democratic deliberation. In this unfolding scenario, the Assembly’s inaugural session, scheduled for the end […]
Volume 7, Issue 49
From the week of September 10, 2023
There have been 11 assassinations and 8 armed attacks of Ecuadorian politicians and prosecutors over the last year
Over the course of little more than a year, Ecuador has witnessed a disturbing rise in political violence, marked by 11 assassinations and 8 armed attacks targeting politicians and prosecutors. These attacks have cast a dark shadow over the nation’s political landscape and have left many Ecuadorians deeply concerned about the safety of their elected […]
Ecuador’s political landscape has been a tumultuous one, marked by a recent political assassination that sent shockwaves through the nation. Yet, amid this chaos, there’s another issue brewing that demands our attention—a call for the removal of Diana Atamaint, the head of the National Election Council (CNE). While the discontent over the electoral system’s flaws […]
In July 2022, the Reserve exceeded $9.0 billion, but the drop in the price of crude oil and other payments have been reducing it. The International Monetary Reserve has recently experienced a...
Update to: Sinking of a boat in Galapagos leaves at least four dead Published: Volume 6, Issue 51 On Monday, September 11, 2023, a boat carrying passengers on the Santa Cruz – San Cristóbal route sank just two miles off the coast of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in the Galapagos. It’s worth noting that a year […]
Regardless of Lasso’s position, Government can’t refuse to comply with results of Yasuní popular consultation
On the evening of September 6, 2023, a video began circulating on social media platforms, featuring President Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador expressing his government’s stance on not ending production in ITT block 43. President Lasso has once again changed his position on the results of the Yasuní popular consultation. “We do not want production to […]
Presidential candidate Luisa González made a striking claim during a recent radio interview, asserting that Venezuelan citizens in Ecuador are so dismayed by their experiences that they are returning to Venezuela. According to González, this phenomenon is driven by the perception that living conditions in Venezuela are superior to those in Ecuador. Luisa González, the […]
In the northwest of Guayaquil, a once tumultuous neighborhood, Socio Vivienda, has experienced a curious transformation. What was once a hotbed of nighttime shootings and menacing confrontations...
Update to: If you’re renting your place out thru Airbnb, SRI is coming for you Published: Volume 7, Issue 27 After four years of extensive deliberations, the Regulation for Tourist Accommodation in Residential Properties has reached its final stages of preparation. This regulatory framework is poised to facilitate the legalization of short-term property rentals and […]
Doubts, Accusations, and Questions Surround the Investigation into the Murder of Fernando Villavicencio
The investigation into the murder of Fernando Villavicencio, the presidential candidate of the Construye-Gente Buena alliance, has entered its first 30 days with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over it. As the public demands the identification of the intellectual culprits behind the assassination of Fernando Villavicencio, questions arise about the failures in presidential security, and […]
A month prior to the impending drought set to diminish the nation's electricity supply, the state-owned entity, Corporación Eléctrica de Ecuador (Celec), urged Petroecuador to hasten the importation...
Canoa, a coastal town in Ecuador, has become the epicenter of a disturbing international network of child pornography, casting a dark shadow over the community and exposing the negligence of the state. Predatory foreign individuals targeted low-income families with children aged 8 to 12 years old, exploiting their vulnerabilities. In 2021, Canoa witnessed the emergence […]
Volume 7, Issue 47
From the week of August 27, 2023
The plans of Ecuador’s presidential candidates include advocating for electoral reforms and enhancing efficiency and equity in the judicial and police systems.
Ecuador recently made public its intention to secure emergency energy contracts as a preemptive measure against potential electricity rationing.
Sometimes, we become so engrossed in the big issues that it takes minor issues to jolt us back to reality and make us think about the things that truly matter to us. Codie and I have been deeply immersed in the entire election process here in Ecuador for the past few weeks, starting even before […]
The Panama Canal, a marvel of modern engineering that has facilitated global trade for over a century, is currently grappling with an unprecedented maritime logjam.
Cristian Zamora, the newly appointed mayor of Cuenca, has hit the ground running during his first 100 days in office. His primary focus has been on fulfilling the commitments he made during his campaign, and his endeavors are already yielding tangible results.
The recent development concerning Claro’s contract extension signals a positive stride as the government greenlights the continuation of concession payments.
One expert claims that González’s plan to take money out of the international reserve comes from “ignorance and demagogy.”
The future of mining concessions in Chocó Andino: Navigating the aftermath of the popular consultation
‘Quito Sin Minería’ are set to petition the Constitutional Court for a clarification concerning the ongoing operations of small-scale mining within the area.
Update to: Constitutional Court rejects decree laws on educational loans and company restructuring Published: volume 7, Issue 43 The Constitutional Court has given its approval to emergency decrees enacted by the government in response to a surge of violent incidents. The court has called on the Executive branch to adopt a multi-faceted approach in addressing […]
Update to: Glas aims to overturn conviction in Ecuador following Brazilian court ruling Published: volume 7, Issue 45 Judge Jhon Rodríguez Mindiola, serving in the Multi-Competent Unit of Yaguachi (Guayas), has been relieved of his duties by the Electoral Contentious Tribunal. On August 24, 2023, Judge Rodríguez Mindiola’s position was terminated due to his decision […]
Volume 7, Issue 46
From the week of August 20, 2023
Ecuadorian citizens have cast their votes in favor of stop extraction of crude oil reserves in the ITT block within Yasuní National Park and putting an end to new mining activities in the Chocó...
Based on information provided by the National Police, the initial six months of 2023 saw homicides in 138 out of the 221 towns in the country.
Dare I use that word? Last week, I laid out my concerns about the pressing issues gripping this nation, coupled with the unsettling prospect of a Correismo resurgence. The triumph of González seemed inevitable, especially in the wake of Fernando Villavicencio’s tragic assassination. Yet, as if from the shadows, Daniel Noboa emerged, carving a path […]
Across a span of five days, a disconcerting sequence of events unfolded in Cuenca, marked by the tragic loss of three citizens from knife-related violence.
The migration of young people in Ecuador could lead to a future where the agricultural sector faces a significant shortage of labor resources.
The Ecuadorian government’s response to a complaint surrounding the murder of Fernando Villavicencio, a prominent presidential candidate for the Construye movement, has garnered considerable attention.
In a momentous turn of events, Ecuadorians have spoken, setting the stage for a historic run-off in their presidential election. On Sunday, August 20, over 13.4 million citizens exercised their...
The high rates of violence and insecurity in Ecuador have caused a boom in the security industry, which offers bulletproof clothing and armoring for vehicles.
In the middle of June 2023, InSight Crime, a platform specializing in investigating organized crime and public safety issues in Latin America, pinpointed the focal points of lethal incidents across the region.
Volume 7, Issue 45
From the week of August 13, 2023
Christian Zurita: the “outraged journalist and enemy of tyrants” will take Fernando Villavicencio’s place in Construye’s presidential candidacy
“Fernando Villavicencio's project is intact, and he had to fight for it. Fernando is my friend. We were working together for 15 years, and we have known each other for 25.″ In a surprising turn of...
Gaps in Democracy Code Prevent Zurita from Participating in Presidential Debate and Could Hinder His Presidential Eligibility
Following the tragic assassination of Fernando Villavicencio, the designated candidate of Alianza Construye, Christian Zurita, encountered a series of legal and procedural obstacles that hindered his involvement in the crucial “mandatory” Presidential Debate, raising concerns about his eligibility for the presidency. In the aftermath of Fernando Villavicencio’s untimely demise on August 9th, uncertainties and gaps […]
Colombian media claim that Ecuador politicians spoke to Villavicencio’s assassins, but Ecuador refuses to confirm the report. The cell phones of the individuals responsible for the murder of Fernando Villavicencio are believed to have contained records of calls made to Ecuadorian politicians, establishing potential connections between the accused assassins and political figures. This revelation, confirmed […]
FBI arrives in country to investigate the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio
President Guillermo Lasso announced on August 10, 2023, that he had sought assistance from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate the murder of Fernando...
The recent presidential debate held on Sunday, August 13, 2023, lasting just under three hours, offered a glimpse into Ecuador’s political landscape. Seven candidates took the stage at Ecuador TV facilities: Jan Topic, Bolívar Armijos, Luisa González, Otto Sonnenholzner, Yaku Pérez, Xavier Hervas, and Daniel Noboa. The event, organized by the National Electoral Council (CNE) […]
In the past 45 years, seven presidential candidates in Latin America have fallen victim to assassination
Two instances occurred in Ecuador: Abdón Calderón Muñoz in July 1978 in Guayaquil, and Fernando Villavicencio on August 9, 2023, in Quito. Fernando Villavicencio, the latest victim, was a candidate...
Former Vice President Jorge Glas has unveiled plans to initiate a legal process aimed at overturning his conviction in the bribery case. On August 12th, Jorge Glas, who served as Vice President under former President Rafael Correa (2007-2017), announced his intention to chart a legal “road map” to reverse his conviction for illicit association linked […]
Joint military and Police operation recovers large weapons cache from illegal miners in Azuay province
The action comes after the assassination prominent mining businessman Ángel Gaona Castillo. A significant cache of ammunition and explosives was successfully seized during a joint operation conducted by the Armed Forces in collaboration with the National Police, aimed at curbing illegal mining activities in the Cerro Negro region of the Pucará canton, located within the […]
In my usual style, I often infuse sarcasm into my columns, but the present circumstances are far too grave for such tonal liberties. The recent assassination of Presidential Candidate Fernando Villavicencio has cast a long shadow over Ecuador, and its implications demand serious attention. This incident highlights a disheartening reality: corruption has deeply permeated the […]
Volume 7, Issue 44
From the week of August 06, 2023
The grand vision and ambitious plans that President Guillermo Lasso had encountered two formidable obstacles in Ecuador’s political landscape: the National Assembly and the Constitutional Court. Throughout his tenure, the Executive’s management faced a series of setbacks, raising doubts about the government’s ability to implement its agenda effectively.
Debt responsibilities must be considered when assuming assets under Ecuadorian inheritance laws, or when declaring marriage in the country.
Wow, the Constitutional Court has done it again – shutting down President Lasso’s decree to change the environmental consultations requirement for oil drilling. That’s three out of four rejections they’ve handed him, all while claiming, “No way Bill, this has nothing to do with economic urgency.” Really? Are they missing the obvious here? Let’s face […]
Former Vice President Jorge Glas, who is currently on provisional release, has taken a bold step to seek a further reduction in his sentences for corruption charges. The appeal was officially filed on July 5, 2023, where Glas invoked Article 230 of the Organic Code of the Judiciary (COFJ) to request a sentence reduction. Article […]
Update to: Cuenca Tram Faces Financial Strain in 2023, Seeks Additional Funding to Cover Expenses Published: Volume 7, Issue 26 Last Wednesday, August 2nd, President Guillermo Lasso visited Cuenca and made a significant promise to the citizens. He pledged to allocate $2.6 million to settle a portion of the tramway debt. During his meeting with […]
By Antonio José Paz Cardona on August 3, 2023 A new investigation, which compiles data provided by citizen science and the results of scientific studies, reveals that birds (1,428 cases), reptiles (1,356), mammals (1,326) and amphibians (895) were the most affected by road kills on Ecuadorian roads. Scientists say more attention needs to be paid […]
US Embassy in Ecuador Reiterates the Border Is Not Open, Warns of Deportation and Sanctions for Illegal Crossing
Update to: Ecuadorians can apply for four kinds of legal migration to the US Published: Volume 7, Issue 39 The United States embassy in Ecuador recently delivered a message on behalf of the Biden administration, reminding migrants about the consequences of attempting to cross the border illegally. “The US border is not open. Don’t risk […]
Among investors, the idea that Ecuador is ungovernable is gaining strength as the country’s risk perception continues to grow due to increasing political uncertainty and recent defeats suffered by President Guillermo Lasso in the Constitutional Court.
With young laborers flocking to the cities or the US, elderly are left to farm and carry the debts.
Update to: In two months, 10 Ecuadorians went missing trying to illegally cross into the United States Published: Volume 5, Issue 34 The pursuit of a better life in the United States has taken a devastating toll on Ecuadorian migrants, as two young men from Gualaquiza lost their lives in their attempt to make the […]
The Ecuadorian government is grappling with mounting financial challenges as it closes July 2023 with a staggering $1.5 billion in arrears, a burden that the incoming administration will have to face.
Thousands of Ecuadorians, among migrants from other countries, continue to embark on a perilous journey through Honduras in an attempt to reach the United States. International organizations have raised concerns over the “multiple risks” these migrants face, often falling victim to human traffickers known as “coyotes.”
Volume 7, Issue 43
From the week of July 30, 2023
As I sit here in Yunguilla, flipping through this week’s stories in The Cuenca Dispatch, I can’t help but feel a sense of concern. Crime, drug-gang wars, prison riots, and Ecuadorians fleeing their own country have become recurring headlines. The once quaint little nation I first visited in 2006, and later moved to in 2014, […]
In the heart of Azuay province, the notorious Turi prison has once again become a hotbed of tension and instability, leaving its staff and inmates grappling with constant threats and violence....
An increasing number of Ecuadorians are choosing the Bahamas route in a desperate bid to reach the United States. However, for 15 young Ecuadorians, this journey turned into a nightmarish ordeal as they now face drug charges in the Bahamas. During mid-June 2023, 15 young people departed from various cantons in Azuay, Cañar, and Morona […]
While both nations are committed to working together to stop crime on their borders, Ecuador’s military may have overstepped its bounds in recent anti-drug operation. In an effort to enhance cooperation and combat transnational crime along their shared border, Colombia and Ecuador signed an ‘Operational Security Plan.’ The comprehensive agreement aims to tackle drug trafficking, […]
Update to: The fate of the radar contract in Cuenca hinges on several reports Published: volume 7, Issue 35 The Municipality of Cuenca is taking decisive steps to find a resolution to the contentious radar contract with Movil Technology, which has been a subject of intense public debate and legal scrutiny. As efforts to amicably […]
Over the years, a series of events and decisions taken by successive governments in Ecuador, coupled with changes in the international landscape, have paved the way for the growth of organized crime...
Update to: Record Number of Migrants Expected to Cross Darién Jungle Published: Volume 7, Issue 42 The Darién jungle, located between Colombia and Panama, has witnessed a significant surge in...
The Constitutional Court (CC) has once again turned down the legal proposals put forth by President Guillermo Lasso following the dissolution of the National Assembly. On Friday, July 28th, the Constitutional Court issued unfavorable opinions concerning two draft decree-laws claiming economic urgency. One of these proposals aimed to provide support for educational loans currently undergoing […]
Drug gangs in Esmeraldas flaunted their ability to take control of the city, while authorities remained in the dark about what was happening. For four hours, the city of Esmeraldas, capital of the province of the same name, descended into chaos and terror on Tuesday, July 25, 2023, as a joint task force, responsible for […]
After five attempts to take seize control of the country’s prison from drug gangs, the Lasso government continues to make little headway in restoring order. Since taking office on May 24, 2021, President Guillermo Lasso has faced a daunting challenge in dealing with the escalating crisis in the country’s prisons. With rampant violence and numerous […]
Volume 7, Issue 42
From the week of July 23, 2023
Daylight attack leaves Manta mayor Agustín Intriago and local athlete Ariana Chancay Morales dead. Police have apprehended one suspect and are investigating crime-scene leads and prior threats made on Mayor’s life. A shocking incident unfolded in the 15 de Septiembre neighborhood of Manta on Sunday, July 23, 2023, as the mayor of the city, Agustín […]
These stunning lagoons are the ideal place for a quick getaway into nature. Ecuador’s Azuay province boasts enchanting destinations with magical lagoons that beckon both locals and visitors seeking...
Seeking a better life in the United States, migrants end up losing their properties and decimating their communities. In the region of Tungurahua, an alarming trend has emerged where traffickers and usurers prey on vulnerable migrants who seek a better life in the United States. These unscrupulous individuals take advantage of their clients’ desperate situations, […]
The interest of Hong Kong buyers led to a surge in the export of black clams, surpassing the export of crab. While the United States remained the top buyer of Ecuadorian crab, accounting for more than 97% of its exports, Hong Kong emerged as a significant market for the country’s emblematic black clam. In 2022, […]
As I sit by the pool sweltering in the heat today in Yunguilla, I think back to a column I wrote about five years ago on climate change that stirred up a maelstrom of both positive and negative reactions (“Is it hot in here or is it just me?” Vol.2, Issue 46, June 10, 2018). […]
Citizens of Ecuador and Bolivia remain the only South Americans obliged to apply for a Schengen visa, and unfortunately, this situation is unlikely to change anytime soon. Hopes of Ecuadorians to...
Update to: Cuenca Tram Faces Financial Strain in 2023, Seeks Additional Funding to Cover Expenses Published: Volume 7, Issue 26 So said Mayor Cristian Zamora of Cuenca this week, regarding President Guillermo Lasso’s failure to fulfill the promise of assuming the liabilities of the Cuenca tramway. Lasso made this commitment during electoral campaign and reiterated […]
Agreement reached with the US offers information sharing and training, but no funding. After an extensive year of negotiations, Ecuador and the United States finally signed a security agreement aimed at combatting drug trafficking in Ecuador. The agreement, known as the Comprehensive Strategy for Security and Peace, was proposed by the government of Guillermo Lasso […]
Update to: Tourism slowly comes back to Ecuador’s Galapagos islands Published: Volume 5, Issue 47 The San Cristóbal airport, located in the Galapagos, is facing a closure period of up to three months as the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) plans to conduct maintenance work on the entire runway. The airport’s 1,840-meter runway has […]
Panamanian authorities have revealed that the number of migrants passing through the Darién jungle is on track to break last year’s record. In 2022, a historic figure of 248,000 irregular migrants made the dangerous crossing thru the Darién jungle, but this year the numbers are already approaching 230,000 by July. The Security Minister of Panama, […]
Ecuador discussed how it cut adoption time from 5 years to 9 months. Delegates from nine countries gathered in Ecuador on July 20th and 21st for a significant bilateral seminar, engaging in...
Update to: Norwegian ship joins supply system to transport products to Galapagos Published: Volume 7, Issue 39 At the end of July, the ships Cygnus and Fusion 2 will depart for the Galapagos, carrying essential supplies as part of the emergency response for the islands. The combined capacity of these ships is 5,200 tons. The […]
Update to: Reforms and investment are the economic priorities for Ecuador in 2022 Published: Volume 6, Issue 13 In an interview with Bloomberg media, President Guillermo Lasso revealed plans to introduce six new decree laws before his departure from office in August. During a recent interview with Bloomberg media in New York, President Lasso announced […]
Volume 7, Issue 41
From the week of July 16, 2023
A lack of income has resulted in a slowdown of important works in recent years, prompting the company to seek $20 million for intervention in a water treatment plant.
After discussions between the Cuenca Airport Corporation and local tourism organizations and airlines, the new runway is expected to be installed over a 90-day period in late 2024.
I’m very tired today. Because for the last three nights, there has been a cricket in our house who has decided that chirping (or in fact rubbing his wings together to make a sound like a chirp) is best done between the hours of midnight and 6 AM. And because we have cathedral ceilings, that […]
In 2022, Ecuador faced a troubling reality with 53,847 cases of pregnancy among girls and adolescents. Among these pregnancies, 3,386 occurred in girls aged 10 to 14, while the remaining 50,461 were identified in adolescents aged 15 to 19.
The Manta-Colisa Highway, despite remaining undamaged during the devastating 2016 earthquake, was approved for construction using emergency funds by the Reconstruction Committee, chaired by then Vice President Jorge Glas.
Cuencanos have long been complaining about the exorbitant prices of flights to Quito, with fares reaching up to $1,000 during special events. The Airport Corporation is hopeful that a new airline will enter the market this year to introduce competition and subsequently lower prices.
The Judiciary published the biannual report on femicides and other violent deaths of women. Between January and June 2023 there were 263 cases.
Update to: Funding, bureaucracy and mismanagement blamed for deteriorated roads in Azuay region Published: Volume 7, Issue 37 After seven months, Kilometer 49 of the Cuenca-Molleturo Road has finally reopened. The slope at this location has undergone significant improvements, including the construction of terraces, a concrete wall, and a high resistance mesh to prevent rock […]
In Ecuador, the number of violent deaths has surged by 74% during the first half of 2023, but only one-fifth of victims had criminal records.
As the country leaves pandemic and supply-chain issues behind, Chinese car companies are losing market share to locally assembled vehicles.
Volume 7, Issue 40
From the week of July 09, 2023
“Yes” vote on Yasuní popular consultation would lead to cuts in social programs and an increase in VAT
The potential cessation of crude oil production in Yasuní-ITT has raised concerns about the impact on government income and the measures that would be needed to offset the loss. Currently, the oil...
Ten years after the creation of the collective, Ecuadorians will vote whether to leave the oil underground in Block 43. The decade-long activism of Yasunidos, a collective advocating for a popular consultation, has reached its culmination. On August 20, 2023, Ecuadorians will have the opportunity to determine the fate of the oil reserves located in […]
If you read all of this week’s articles like I did, you’ll probably see the connections between almost all of them (with the exception of the Hidden Gems). There are two stories on the Yasuní popular consultation, one that explains how long it took to get to it and the other how bad it will […]
Update to: SRI gets overseas banking information on 70,000 Ecuadorians held accounts Published: Volume 7, Issue 8 Last Tuesday, the Minister of Finance, Pablo Arosemena, announced that the Executive is currently developing a new economic emergency law decree aimed at implementing tax changes. Arosemena clarified that the decree does not involve tax hikes but rather […]
The fiscal situation of the State has deteriorated because of increased spending and a drop in income, primarily due to lower oil production and the reduction of the Foreign Currency Outflow Tax...
Exploring the hidden gems of the Austro region in Ecuador can be a rewarding experience for travelers seeking unique and off-the-beaten-path destinations. With a variety of options in Azuay, Cañar,...
An increase in detentions, expulsions and deportations is expected this year. Even though the existing routes present more risks, travelers dare to face them in search of reaching the United States. The increase in irregular migration poses significant risks for those attempting to reach the United States. Despite the dangers associated with existing routes, many travelers […]
Claiming no candidate brought forth solutions to the country’s problems, Conaie tells their members to make their own choice. The expanded council of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) has made a significant announcement regarding its stance on the upcoming presidential elections. In a session held on July 3, 2023, representatives from Ecuarunari, […]
Oil palm and balsa crops trigger deforestation in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon by Ana Cristina Alvarado on July 5, 2023 Highways for the oil industry have facilitated logging for decades. Recent deforestation alerts show that this problem is still in force. In Vía Auca, one of the most deforested areas in the country, peasants are turning to planting […]
Update to: Huascachaca wind project will be ready in the first quarter of 2023 Published: Volume 7, Issue 7 The project will be managed by the Spanish consortium Cobra Zero-E Villonaco, which will invest $181 million. The signing took place on July 6, 2023. The Villonaco III wind project, located in Loja, will be constructed […]
Volume 7, Issue 39
From the week of July 02, 2023
All but one Presidential candidate have scheduled interviews with SRI next week for tax ‘discrepancies’
Seven out of the eight presidential candidates vying for the upcoming elections in the Republic are set to face scrutiny over their tax payments. The Internal Revenue Service (SRI) has scheduled appointments with these candidates as part of their tax payment control process. Francisco Briones, the director of the SRI, revealed that seven candidates have […]
The renegotiation of contracts between Claro and Movistar, two major mobile telephony operators in Ecuador, is currently at a standstill as their 15-year concessions are about to expire. The...
Strong investments promote the construction of residential projects in Cuenca, but the sector is concerned that demand will not grow at the same rate. The construction sector in Cuenca is experiencing a boost in residential projects, driven by strong investments. However, there are concerns that demand may not keep up with the rapid growth. After […]
Update to: Air passenger traffic grows in Quito after the pandemic Published: Volume 7, Issue 16 Latam Airlines has increased its flight frequencies between Quito and Cuenca, further enhancing the air connection between the two cities. Starting from Monday, July 3, 2023, there will be a total of 28 weekly flights on this route, with […]
The state holding company is considering partnering with mining companies to develop new electricity generation projects. Corporación Eléctrica de Ecuador (Celac), the state holding company in...
Update to: Crisis in Galapagos: Food Prices Soar and Corruption Takes Hold Published: Volume 7, Issue 38 The Norwegian vessel ‘Cygnus’ has joined the cargo transportation system to supply products to the Galapagos Islands. It is expected to set sail in mid-July with 116 containers containing various basic necessities. This move aims to address the […]
Ecuadorians who aspire to migrate to the United States have four main legal pathways available to them. Many don’t need to risk their lives in dangerous desert crossings with ‘coyotes.” According to a recent survey conducted by the Interdisciplinary Development Consulting (CID Gallup), 47% of Ecuadorians expressed their desire to migrate to the United States […]
Update to: Starting in June Avianca will have direct flights between Quito and Cancun, Mexico Published: Volume 7, Issue 34 Avianca has announced the indefinite suspension of its flights from Cartagena and Medellín to Guayaquil, which were launched in March 2023. The decision to discontinue these routes is part of Avianca’s efforts to optimize its […]
Three Zone 8 cities account for over 1,200 murders in first three months of 2023. During the first quarter of 2023, the cities of Guayaquil, Durán, and Samborondón in Zone 8 of Ecuador experienced a disturbing surge in violent deaths, with a staggering total of 1,255 murders. This marked an alarming increase of nearly 100% […]
In case you haven’t figured it out, when I write about something that is going to be in the current issue of The Cuenca Dispatch, it’s because I get an advanced copy each week so that I can see if anything in it raises the hackles on my neck. And so…let’s talk crime. Wow, how […]
Authorities have implemented a comprehensive plan to ‘save’ the Chola Cuencana area in the Azuayan capital. The ‘Chole Cuencana’ sector—extending out from the traffic roundabout at Avenues España,...
Update to: Growth of Ecuadorian economy expected to be minimal in 2023 Published: Volume 7, Issue 14 The unremarkable growth in first quarter GDP (0.7%) marked the lowest increase in the past eight quarters, as stated by the Central Bank. This information was published in the Quarterly National Accounts on June 30, 2023. The primary […]
Volume 7, Issue 38
From the week of June 25, 2023
The following travel advisory was published by the U.S. Department of State on June 22, 2023. We are reprinting it in its entirety without editorial comment. Ecuador - Level 2: Exercise Increased...
The Galapagos Islands are facing a severe crisis that has led to skyrocketing food prices and a surge in corruption. The breakdown of one of the two supply ships that cater to the archipelago has caused the prices of eggs, rice, potatoes, onions, and certain fruits to climb sharply. The Isla de la Plata supply […]
Three-month search across 24 hectares and 3 million cubic meters of dirt yielded remains of 65 victims. Cost to prevent future slides likely to exceed $18 million. The Municipality of Alausí in Ecuador is faced with the daunting task of stabilizing a hill that caused a tragic event resulting in the burial of numerous families […]
Recent survey of businesses suggests that crime is increasing in Cuenca and forcing businesses to take matters into their own hands. The commercial areas of Cuenca are facing a growing problem of crime, according to a survey conducted by the Cuenca Chamber of Commerce. The survey reveals that 26% of commercial establishments have fallen victim […]
A little more than half of the way to Cuenca from our home in the Yunguilla valley, there is a place I drive by that makes vinyl windows, gutters and assorted plastic materials like sewer pipes etc. It must use some kind of epoxy mixture in its processes, because when the factory is working—it doesn’t […]
Exciting news has surfaced for individuals with disabilities who have longed to explore the awe-inspiring Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Leslie Urteaga, the Minister of Culture in Peru, made a...
This week’s “historic” meeting on defense lead to a memorandum of understanding between Ecuador and the United States. Representatives of Ecuador and the United States met recently to address defense and security issues and to establish a roadmap for cooperation between the two countries. The meeting took place on June 22nd at the Carondelet Palace […]
Update to: Ecuadorians among top three nationalities crossing the perilous Darién jungle Published: Volume 7, Issue 28 A growing number of Ecuadorians are facing deportation from the United States. A total of 25,769 Ecuadorians have been detained this year under Title 8, which permits their removal from the country and imposes a ban on re-entry […]
The plight of hundreds of Ecuadorian fishermen imprisoned abroad has brought forth a troubling narrative. Nearly 300 fishermen from the Jaramijó canton of Manabí are detained for their involvement in drug trafficking activities, incarcerated in prisons across Central and North America. Not shockingly, these fishermen are enticed by drug-criminal organizations offering thousands of dollars for […]
Update to: Adequate Employment rises by 2%, but number of informal workers grows by 2.4% Published: Volume 7, Issue 30 The underemployment rate in May decreased from 22.1% to 18.9%, while full...
Update to: Quito Metro ceases operations after nine days of problems Published: volume 7, Issue 32 The manager of the Quito Metro, Víctor Hugo Villacrés, has requested control tests and audits on the contracts signed by the municipal company. In a letter sent to the Comptroller’s Office on June 6, 2023, Villacrés asked for the […]
Volume 7, Issue 37
From the week of June 18, 2023
Ecuador increases size of police force with new graduates but lacks space, guns, pistols and helmets for them.
Newly graduated police officers in Ecuador are facing a significant challenge as they enter the force without essential equipment. Despite the recent graduation of 8,500 agents, the National Police...
The Minister of Transportation, César Rohón, acknowledged that there is limited execution of road work in the area but claims that the problems stem from both a lack of resources and zonal mismanagement. The Ministry of Transport and Public Works claims it intends to prioritize maintenance on the most deteriorated roads in Azuay to prevent […]
Girón beckons adventurous travelers with its natural wonders and enticing attractions. This canton boasts crystal clear lagoons, majestic mountains, and an expansive valley, offering a diverse range of experiences for those eager to explore its bountiful offerings. Whether embarking on a bus or driving in a private vehicle, the journey to Girón is a scenic […]
Crime has taken a sadistic turn in Ecuador, where kidnappers now regularly amputate the fingers of their victims and send images of their maiming to pressure relatives to pay higher ransoms. For decades, Ecuador was a refuge of peace wedged in a dangerous region. But these days, it increasingly resembles nearby Peru and Colombia, two […]
Guillermo Lasso, the current president of Ecuador, has stated that he will not bid farewell to politics once his term ends in the coming months. Instead, he plans to continue his involvement in politics by becoming a “serious opposition” figure. During an interview with the NTN24 network, President Lasso denied allegations of corruption involving his […]
With approximately 20,000 inhabitants residing in high-risk areas, most of them in the outskirts of the city, there is a constant fear that the upcoming rains accompanying the El Niño phenomenon...
The Municipality of Cuenca has initiated a process of terminating contracts and dismissing casual workers who were recently hired, as well as those providing services under invoice, some of whom charge fees of up to $3,000 per month. Under the direction of new Cuenca Mayor Cristian Zamora, personnel contracts are being meticulously examined, resulting in […]
Roads, roads, roads. Promises, promises, promises. That’s the never-ending tune we hear here in Azuay. We’re constantly bombarded with assurances that the roads will finally receive the attention they deserve. But alas, it’s been six long years of disappointment, and the journey from Guayaquil, Quito, or Machala to Cuenca remains an exercise in pure frustration. […]
The Government of Guillermo Lasso has been steadily reducing the Tax on the Exit of Foreign Currency since 2022, with the ultimate goal of eliminating the tax entirely by 2025. Starting from July 1,...
Volume 7, Issue 36
From the week of June 11, 2023
The August 2023 elections would have at least one ballot with seven presidential binomials. The announcement of the correista formula is still awaited. As of Sunday, June 11, 2023, despite announcements that were later declined, there are at eight presidential candidates for the early elections of 2023. A process that occurs after President Guillermo Lasso decreed the death cross, last 17 May […]
Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has called for the establishment of both a BRICs and a South American currency—to counter the dominance of the US dollar. Lula made this plea for a new South American currency during an April speech at the New Development Bank in Shanghai, where he questioned why countries have […]
The protest is being led by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) and the Anti-Mining Front, against the government of Guillermo Lasso regarding Executive Decree 754....
Drug micro-trafficking becomes a pressing issue in Cuenca, with various distribution methods and trafficking networks
Authorities in Azuay consistently discover narcotic substances during security operations. Recently, the delivery of small drug doses by delivery men has become increasingly common, with social media platforms are also being exploited for drug transactions. The drugs most prevalent in Cuenca are marijuana, cocaine base paste, cocaine hydrochloride, heroin, and synthetic drugs, with synthetic drugs […]
Government insists that Ecuador stills owns the Galapagos after debt swap, refuting uninformed social media posts
The Government of Ecuador has categorically denied ceding sovereignty over the Galapagos Islands amidst criticism and speculation surrounding a recent debt swap. In a statement issued on June 10, 2023, President Guillermo Lasso’s administration clarified that the country recent conservation debt swap does not, under any circumstances, result in a loss of sovereignty over the […]
So, let me get this straight, the Correístas REALLY nominated Jorge Glas as their presidential candidate? Really? Okay, yes, he refused the nomination, basically saying, “Hey, let’s be serious, I’m under so many investigations I’m making Trump look honest.” Nonetheless, do the Correístas really have that little respect for the people of Ecuador? Look, just […]
Update to: Closure of roads increases production costs for Azuay industries Published: Volume 7, Issue 35 The World Bank has approved a $150 million loan for Ecuador to address the recovery of road...
Update to: Three newly elected figures dominate the political scene in Azuay Published: Volume 7, Issue 33 On Thursday, June 8, 2023, Paúl Carrasco was unexpectedly removed from his position as Governor of Azuay, though the exact reasons behind this decision remain unknown. Despite not being affiliated with the pro-government political movement, Carrasco had previously […]
Ecuador has been facing a legal crisis due to numerous controversial rulings in constitutional actions that have targeted judges and the judicial system. The cases related to habeas corpus, precautionary measures, and protection actions in Ecuador have increased by 211% between 2018 and 2020, according to the Council of the Judiciary. These constitutional actions serve […]
S&P Global Ratings says Ecuador will have to raise taxes if drilling in the ITT is stopped, Yasunidos disagrees
S&P Global Ratings, the renowned risk rating agency, has issued a warning that if oil production is reduced, it would have to be compensated with an increase in taxes. According to S&P,...
Volume 7, Issue 35
From the week of June 04, 2023
Two new criminal investigations against former Vice President Jorge Glas could reverse his provisional freedom and pre-release. On May 30th, a Pichincha Criminal Guarantees judge confirmed to Glas that he had two years, eleven months and fifteen days left to complete his single sentence of eight years in prison, which was defined last January. The […]
The company announced an investment of more than $140 million for the construction of a new plant in Brazil, with construction set to begin in one month. Electrolux, a leading household appliance manufacturer, is set to enhance its presence in the Ecuadorian market by doubling its imports of appliances from Brazil. This expansion comes as […]
CORRECTION NOTICE: Malacatos home invasion leaves Colorado mother dead, two of three suspects arrested and charged
CORRECTION NOTICE On June 5, 2023, The Cuenca Dispatch published the story “Malacatos home invasion leaves Colorado mother dead, two of three suspects arrested and charged.” The story incorrectly...
Update to: Ecuadorians among top three nationalities crossing the perilous Darién jungle Published: volume 7, Issue 28 In recent weeks, Panamanian authorities have discovered 10 bodies of irregular migrants who tragically drowned in the swollen rivers of the Darién jungle, located on the southern border with Colombia. Despite the perilous conditions, migrants persist in attempting […]
Cuenca authorities are currently investigating organizations involved in the business of offering quick loans, but detecting these criminal structures proves to be a challenging task. The trend of...
Azuayan industry relies on three transportation routes to facilitate the movement of raw materials and products, yet only one route has remained operational this year. Road closures have...
Update to: Radar consortium plans to fight Cuenca’s new mayor on contract termination Published: volume 7, Issue 29 The new manager and members of the Board of Directors of the Mobility, Transit, and Transport Company (EMOV EP) are awaiting several reports to determine the course of action regarding new radar placements in Cuenca. EMOV is […]
Time and hope is running out in the search for victims of the March 26th landslide that has claimed already 61 lives. The families of the 14 people still missing in the Alausí landslide are relying on the efforts of 90 firefighters and soldiers who continue to work diligently on the site, despite the approaching […]
Well, you’ve gone and done it now. President Guillermo Lasso has confirmed that he won’t run again in this special upcoming election. Can you say, “shot yourself in the foot?” I mean, let’s review what this guy pulled off in 2 years. He contained a pandemic that was ravaging this country by rapidly getting 90% […]
Guayas prosecutor involved in murder trial is assassinated in Durán, adding to a growing list of slain members of the judiciary. In a tragic series of events, Ecuador has witnessed the targeted killings of judges and prosecutors in 2022 and 2023. The latest victim was prosecutor Leonardo Palacios, who was assassinated on the night of […]
Volume 7, Issue 34
From the week of May 28, 2023
Ecuador stands to lose more than $16 billion in income over the next 20 years if the Yasunidos proposal to stop crude oil production in Yasuni National Park is approved. Petroecuador's disclosure of...
A crucial agreement reached among the political parties is their commitment to avoid impeding the process with legal disputes. The National Electoral Council (CNE) and 17 national-level political organizations reached a unanimous decision on Tuesday to revise the schedule for defining candidacies in the upcoming presidential and legislative elections. The adjustment aims to provide political […]
Some of the challenges faced by Digital Nomads in Ecuador include the country’s struggle with insecurity, limited English proficiency in banks and government offices, and excessive bureaucracy. A...
The pace of foreign tourist arrivals to Ecuador is slowing down due to insecurity and political instability, leading to cancellations of tourist packages for the remainder of the year. While the country’s receptive tourism (i.e., entry of foreign tourists) had been steadily recovering since 2022, recent challenges have hindered its growth. According to the Ministry […]
Favorita Corporation’s $30 Million investment brings first Megamaxi store and new shopping center to Cuenca
Update to: Construction of Megamaxi begins in Cuenca and will bring hundreds of new jobs Published: Volume 5, Issue 47 Expansive new mall with over 52,000 m² set to open by year's end. Favorita...
Update to: Judiciary dismisses the judge who ordered the release of Glas and Salcedo Published: Volume 7, Issue 12 The former jurist was famous for illegally ordering the release former Vice President Jorge Glas. The Court of the Provincial Court of Manabí has sentenced former judge Banny Molina to one year in prison due to […]
Update to: Avianca will begin offering New Quito-New York route in June 2023 Published: Volume 7, Issue 19 Starting June 15, 2023, Avianca, the Colombian airline, will introduce a new non-stop route between Quito and Cancun. The route will have three weekly flights, scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. According to a statement released by […]
The President presented his second report to the nation on May 24th at the Social Platform building, south of the capital. For the first time in Ecuador’s history, a President of the Republic did not present his annual state of the nation speech in front of the National Assembly. President Guillermo Lasso instead delivered his […]
I figured out what Lasso did wrong. He waited too long to tell everyone what he has done. He should have given a weekly radio address on the same frequency that Correa uses in exile. I just read the full text of his recent “State of the Nation” speech, and I must admit that even […]
New law could dramatically increase small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) exports to the United States. The Ecuadorian American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) is actively promoting a bill that seeks to designate Ecuador as a beneficiary of tariff preferences under the Law of Economic Recovery of the Caribbean Basin. Presented by US Senators Bob Menéndez (Democrat) […]
The city of Cuenca is facing an increasing sense of isolation as the threat of landslides looms, posing a risk of severing all access roads to and from the city. Landslides in Azuay have severely hindered traffic, causing significant disruptions and challenges for travelers in the province. The Molleturo-El Empalme road and the Girón-Pasaje road […]
Volume 7, Issue 33
From the week of May 21, 2023
Will a new administration pay its debts? That is the big question looming for investment bankers. Ecuador’s history of defaulting on its debt justifies their concern. Ecuador is entering a stage of...
The Charles Darwin Foundation’s Mangrove Finch project research team has announced that a total of 18 healthy and strong new fledglings hatched from 9 successful nests during the 2023 field season. Since the Mangrove Finch project recovery project commenced in 2007 under the leadership of the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) and in collaboration with the Galapagos National […]
In addition to a salary of $4,759, legislators had a team of up to four people, received additional payments for living in Quito, tickets and a cell phone plan. Total savings could amount to $30 million. The recent dissolution of the National Assembly, implemented through President Guillermo Lasso’s decree of Cross Death, has significant implications […]
The Government of the United States (USA) recently announced the initiation of migrant removal flights to various countries, including Ecuador.
Update to: Ecuadorians among top three nationalities crossing the perilous Darién jungle Published: Volume 7, Issue 28 According to the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE), multiple removal flights took place on May 18, 2023, involving thousands of migrants from Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. These migrants were either expelled, removed, or chose […]
With little respect for the entire political system, Ecuadorians are apathetic of Lasso’s call for Cross Death. Concerns over social unrest and protests against the Cross Death were merely speculative as citizens carried on with their daily routines, seemingly unconcerned with the dismissal of the Assembly and the potential abuse of presidential decrees by President […]
CNE says express election process will start on Wednesday, May 24th, with voters going to the polls on August 20th
The vice president of the CNE, Enrique Pita, announced the details of the electoral calenda, which by law must be condensed to 90 days. The National Electoral Council (CNE) is set to begin the election process on Wednesday, with voters going to the polls on August 20th, according to Vice President Enrique Pita. Pita provided […]
Update to: One month after macroslide buried a huge portion of Alausí, search for victims continues (Video included) Published: volume 7, Issue 30 Rescuers have discovered 56 bodies amidst the debris and earth following the devastating landslide in Alausí. The tragic incident, which occurred in Chimborazo, has claimed an increasing number of lives since the […]
Eighty-four Ecuadorian foster homes serving as sanctuaries for almost 2,200 neglected and abused children
A Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (Mies) report delves deep into the factors leading children to seek refuge in 84 foster homes across the nation, with an unveiling comprehensive analysis....
I thought the ‘big thing’ I would be droning on about this week would be the Presidential Decree for Cross Death that President Guillermo Lasso enacted this week. And I will get to it. But something else really struck me today and I can’t just ignore it. Yesterday, 6 people were killed, and 6 more […]
The new Prefect and Governor of Azuay join the new Mayor of Cuenca as the leading politicians in the province, all promising to bring strong leadership to the southern region of Ecuador. After the...
Volume 7, Issue 32
From the week of May 14, 2023
Guillermo Lasso’s future is in jeopardy following Virgilio Saquicela’s re-election as president of the Legislature with 96 votes. This outcome provides clues about what may happen in the impeachment trial against President Lasso starting on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. During the Sunday Plenary session, Virgilio Saquicela was re-elected to serve for two more years as […]
Update to: Ecuador added 24 new amphibian species in 2019 Published: Volume 4, Issue 23 The two new species of glass frogs were found at an altitude of 2,900 meters above sea level, in a small forest stream in La Enramada, in Azuay. Shortly after announcing the description of a lizard species, the National Institute […]
“We finally really did it…” “You maniacs!!!” “You blew it up!!” “Ahh, damn you!” “God damn you all to hell!” These words may sound familiar to you. They came to mind for me when I read that the National Assembly had re-elected Virgilio Saquicela as President of the body with 96 votes. What that meant […]
The government offers a “1,000-day bonus” program to help mother’s during pregnancy and for up to two years after the birth of their child, but making sure they register it is half the battle. The...
Update to: Country’s covid-19 cases and deaths at lowest points in three years Published: Volume 7, Issue 22 Since the pandemic was declared in March 2020, the disease has claimed the lives of...
Beijing is a major financial backer for Ecuador despite US efforts to counter its influence. Ecuador and China have signed a free trade agreement, deepening ties between the country and the world’s second-biggest economy and frustrating US opposition to Beijing’s growing influence in the region. The deal would boost Ecuador’s non-oil exports over the next […]
Debt-for-nature deal will save the country over $1.1 billion and supply funding for conservation efforts in the Galápagos. Ecuador announced a record-setting deal last Tuesday designed to reduce its debt burden and free up hundreds of millions of dollars to fund marine conservation around the Galápagos Islands, an archipelago of unique biodiversity that’s famous for […]
In his first press conference, Cuenca’s new mayor, Cristian Zamora, shared his plans regarding last minute hires by the previous administration, government funding for the tram and his signature...
Some 36 quarries, made of limestone and stony material, have been devouring the vegetation in the area surrounding the Cerro Blanco Forest for years. A hilly forest that is a bastion of exceptional flora and fauna next to Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, is now threatened by mining, urbanization and deforestation. Cerro Blanco— white hill in […]
Update to: Quito Metro’s Commercial Operations to Start in Q4 2023 Published: Volume 7, Issue 28 The Quito Metro announced the suspension of its services as of May 11, 2023. The decision was made by the Metro de Quito Company, citing technical issues in various systems and subsystems. The operator responsible for the metro is […]