Juan Heredia realized he had a problem in 1998, when he was living in a suburban area 10 miles southwest of Cuenca’s historic district. “My business was in the historic district and since I worked as a tour guide, I was spending most of my time there anyway. Then, after work, I woul... [More]

By Bruce R. Magid In the Colombian city of Medellín, nestled in a valley in the Andes Mountains, one can see the remnants of a tragic past and, at the same time, glimpse a hopeful future taking hold across much of Latin America. Walking through Medellín in 1995, I... [More]

For Cuenca tour guide Carlos Lara, life offers no greater pleasure than watching the birds. “I love doing anything outdoors. For me, there is nothing better than escaping the artificial world, where we spend most of our lives, and going out to explore nature,” says Lara. “The ... [More]

Cuenca has joined Quito in outlawing drinking in public places. The city council agreed on Tuesday to fine those found guilty of drinking in public $170, or half of the minimum monthly wage of $340. Those found guilty of selling and distributing alcoholic beverages will pay $340. The majorit... [More]

As labor strikes in the fast-food industry have reignited the U.S. debate over raising minimum wages, another battle over wages has been raging south of the border. Over the past several weeks, Mexico has seen a rising wave of pressure to increase its minimum wage, which is one of the lowest i... [More]

Cuenca’s transportation office says that the city’s new tram system, Tranvía de los Cuatro Rios, will mean a reduction in the number of cars, trucks and buses on the historic district. The problem, says Gerard Fernandez, city transportation chief, is planning for the reduction. ... [More]

By Ana Belén Cordero   The package of constitutional amendments presented by Ecuador’s ruling PAIS Alliance party to the country’s Constitutional Court has sparked a wave of amicus curiae appeals. The Court has so far received 10 third-party appeals to the 17 proposed a... [More]

By Rob Cox Turn on state television here, and within an hour or so a public service message will appear extolling the “Ecuadorian miracle” of President Rafael Correa. The advertisements highlight big new infrastructure projects and endorsements by experts, even an American or two. ... [More]

Eat more cuy! That's the mantra of a new program promoted by Ecuador’s Ministry of Agriculture that, if it's successful, will mean that not only will Ecuadorians be eating more of the tasty, cuddly little critters, but so will the rest of world. A two-day symposium on inc... [More]

By Juan J. Palacios Considered for most of the twentieth century as the United States’ backyard, Latin America is today a place where other major powers seek to exercise a growing influence and find a steady supply of energy and natural resources as well as markets and investment outlets.... [More]

A year-and-a-half away from completing a light rail system, the largest public transportation project in Cuenca history, Mayor Marcelo Cabrera is pushing a new one that will be twice as expensive. On Thursday, Cabrera showed off the final design for a 50-kilometer freeway bypass of the city. Th... [More]

As work continues on what will be Cuenca's largest hotel, a Sheraton Hotel at Mall del Rio, other hotel owners complain that the market is saturated. Although Cuenca officials say the city is in dire need of more high-end hotel rooms, the local hotel association says that there are too ma... [More]

Ecuadorian minister of foreign affairs, Ricardo Patiño, announced Monday that Ecuador will work towards the creation of an Observatory of Transnational Companies. To be developed with other countries of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the proposal will be discussed in the Seco... [More]

By Susan Schenck The Cuenca Zoo may be one of Cuenca’s least advertised and most overlooked amusements. I lived here over four years before I discovered it. Any cab driver should know how to find the zoo, which is across from Hospital del Rio. But if you feel like taking a nice long wa... [More]

The government’s plan to wean consumers from subsidized LP gas appears to be faltering. When President Rafael Correa announced last year that gas subsidies would end, he said the government estimated that 3.5 million households would change to electric cooktops by ear... [More]

By Mark Blazis Having been a part of 40 expeditions into Amazonia and the Andes and a dozen more into the Galapagos Islands, I was recently invited to be the consulting biologist for a television documentary in Ecuador featuring CSI Miami’s Jorja Fox, Extreme Animal Rescue actor/produc... [More]

By By Kim Gamel The sea lion nursed her pup under a prickly pear cactus while an iguana clumsily marched away. A tiny penguin waddled on a rock while red and orange crabs clung to the craggy surface below. Welcome to the Galapagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago that inspired Charles Da... [More]

Five years after the government slapped heavy taxes and duties on imported liquor and imposed new rules on sales, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that per capita alcohol consumption in Ecuador has dropped by 23%. WHO says that drinking age Ecuadorians consumed an average of 9.4 liters ... [More]

By Suzanne McGee As more Americans move to destinations farther flung than Florida, they may find unexpected trouble in paradise. A few months ago, in the midst of a miserable, relentless east coast winter, my editor, at the end of her rope, gave in and bought a ticket to somewhere warm. A d... [More]

The Cuenca transportation office is speeding up construction work for the new light rail system, Tranvia de los Cuatro Rios, despite protests of its route through the historic district. In addition to Avs. España and Las Americas, the speed-up includes more work hours on Calles Gran Colombi... [More]

A new penal code that went into effect three weeks ago has stiffened penalties for crimes ranging from murder to “undocumented private enrichment” to graffiti. The code defines 730 crimes in all, including 77 that did not exist before. The National Assembly says the new system, called ... [More]

The head of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar's hitmen, a confessed murderer nicknamed "Popeye," was released from prison after helping prosecutors convict a former justice minister. John Jairo Velasquez Vasquez has confessed to killing 300 people and organizing the killings of... [More]

By David Wallis    Some call themselves “senior gypsies.” Others prefer “international nomad.” David Law, 74, a retired executive recruiter who has primarily slept in tents in several countries in the last two years, likes the ring of “American Bedouin.&r... [More]

After sending mixed signals on the issue, President Rafael Correa says the country is ready to grant full rights to same-sex couples. Beginning September 15, same-sex couples will receive the same benefits that their married heterosexual counterparts already enjoy. “If someone is still tu... [More]

By Bella English I’ve barely stepped off the plane when the stories about the Valle de la Longevidad — Valley of Longevity — start. My cabdriver asks what I’m doing in this small town in southern Ecuador, and I tell him I’m in search of the legendary old people o... [More]