The closure of the roads that connect Azuay with the rest of the country hits the productive sector of Cuenca. The Chamber of Industries estimates that in the first 11 days of the stoppage there are losses of $10.0 million.
The representatives of the productive chambers of Cuenca spoke out on Friday, June 24th, in the face of the shortage of products and the economic losses generated by the national strike.
“We demand a clear definition: either you are in favor of blocking roads and depriving citizens of the basics to live, or you are against this,” said Rodrigo Cordero, president of the Azuaya Chamber of Industries.
The businessmen ask the mayor Pedro Palacios, the prefect Cecilia Méndez and the governor Matías Abad, to negotiate with the Executive for the inclusion of Azuay and Cuenca in a state of emergency. In this way they ensure “that the Army and the National Police can intervene and prevent these very serious deprivations to the citizenry.”
Cordero also made a call to put down extreme attitudes, abandon radicalism and give way to dialogue.
“The losses are not only economic but also social because they slow down job creation, create insecurity, affect the payment of taxes, reactivation, the free right to mobility and access to health,” he added.
Since the afternoon of June 24th, the urban bus service has been paralyzed in the Azuaya capital, after demonstrators took over several buses in different sections of the city. The union asks for guarantees to return to work.
The tram is the only means of public transport that works normally. The buses and vans of the rural parishes partially work.
Although some flights have been suspended, the Airport Corporation announced that the Mariscal La Mar airport remains operational to meet the requirements of commercial and private airlines.
No food or fuel
The blockade of roads has also caused shortages of food products, Ecopaís gasoline, domestic gas, oxygen and other medical supplies. In supply centers and supermarkets, there is a shortage of potatoes, eggs, chicken, meat, and seafood.
Cristian Patiño, director of Mercados de Cuenca, explained that this week the shortages deepened and that products from other provinces may run out in the next five days.
The lack of products generates price speculation. In the markets, products such as potatoes have an increase of up to 100%. Also, some taxi drivers began to charge an additional value to the official rate, even though the increase is not authorized.
Although the demonstrators allow the passage of convoys with gas tanks from time to time, the quantity does not meet the demand. Marketers receive fewer cylinders than usual and can only sell one per family.
The lack of gasoline has been felt in the Austro since Tuesday, June 21st. The closure of the roads that connect with the Coast prevents tankers with ethanol from reaching the Petroecuador station.
In addition, there are complications in the health sector. The Red Cross of Azuay reports problems in dispatching the pints of blood to other cantons in the province. While the distributors of oxygen tanks hope that the product arrives in Cuenca before the reserves run out.
Medical supplies robbed
On Sunday afternoon, President Guillermo Lasso reacted to the assault on a military convoy, which was carrying food and medicine to Cuenca.
“You cannot play with the lives of Ecuadorians. The lack of oxygen for hospitals in Cuenca is critical,” Lasso said in his social media message, as he called for peace.
According to police, the convoy intended to pass through the Cuenca-Molleturo road, which has been closed on several occasions by protesters. The truck was traveling from Quito in the direction of Cuenca.