Published On: Tue, Mar 5th, 2013

Ecuador: Seven Days Without Water, Loja’s Residents are Enraged

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By Gina Yauri · Translated by Jea from Global Voices

The province of Loja is currently under a state of emergency: for over a week, approximately 60 neighbourhoods have been without a supply of clean drinking water, due to problems with the main water pipeline. Residents of the province have been expressing their indignation over this and other problems in the area using the hashtags #Loxaindignada and #Lojaindignada [es, Loja outraged].

The water company, Agua Potable de Loja, obtains its water from various water sources in order to supply the area’s 180,000 inhabitants. Typically, the water is conducted via aqueducts to a processing plant; however, the entire process is currently paralysed as a result of damage [es] to the water system.

Various Twitter users attribute the loss of the water supply to poor administration on the part of the area’s mayor Jorge Bailón [es]. Singer-songwriter Pato Valarezo (@patovala) [es] writes:

JoseBolivarCalderon ‏ @jbcalderong “@ecuainm: #Loja: Más de 60 barrios no tienen agua potable, el problema lleva varios días sin solución.

More than 60 neighbourhoods are without a supply of potable water, a problem that has remained unresolved for several days. Image provided by José Bolìvar Carderón @jbcalderong

@patovala: #Lojaindignada #Loxaindignada no entiendo como loja aguanta por tanto tiempo una administración municipal nefasta. Abre los ojos y reclama

@patovala: #Lojaindignada #Loxaindignada I don’t understand how Loja has put up with such a terrible municipal administration for so long. Open up your eyes and protest

On the other hand, Maluli (malufertan) [es] posts:

@malufertan: como que si se solucionara inmediatamente los problemas de Loja con la salida del Alcalde!!

@malufertan: as if getting rid of the mayor would immediately solve Loja’s problems!!

To which Álvaro Castillo (@genesys33) [es] replies:

@genesys33: @malufertan no se solucionan, pero debes dejar precedente, q las autoridades q no trabajan por la ciudad se las puede mandar a la casa

@genesys33: @malufertan No it wouldn’t solve them, but you have to create a precedent so that officials who don’t work for the city can be removed

Leonardo Javico L. (@leonardojavi) [es], sports journalist, believes that the mayor is unconcerned by the state of the city:

@leonardojavi: @LoxaIndignada sin agua, calles en pésimo estado y un Alcalde q no hace nada, hasta cuando…!!!

@leonardojavi: @LoxaIndignada no water, streets in a pitiful state and a Mayor who does nothing whatsoever. For how long…!!!

Economist Giovanni Carrión (@GiovanniCarrion) [es] shows his irritation for the lack of governability which he believes the city has experienced over the eight years that the current administration has been in power.

@GiovanniCarrion: 8 años de una Alcaldía donde lo único que destaca es “la silla vacía”. Hasta cuando Padre Almeida!. #Loxaindignada

@GiovanniCarrion: 8 years with a Mayor’s Office in which the only thing that stands out is the “empty seat”. For how long, Padre Almeida!. #Loxaindignada

Jhuliana Moreno (@jhuly_ldu05) [es] is indignant at having to pay for a service which has been cut for several days:

@jhuly_ldu05: #LoxaIndignada somos un país con riqueza fluviales y aquí comprando agua? no pago por servicios?

@jhuly_ldu05: #LoxaIndignada we are a country rich in water resources and I’m here buying water? Don’t I pay bills to receive this service?

José Bolívar Castillo (@chatojobol) [es], former mayor of Loja, congratulates netizens on the #LojaIndignada hashtag and invites residents to make their complaints heard.

@chatojobol: Loja no soporta más una administración ineficiente y sin visión. Felicitaciones a la iniciativa #LojaIndignada. Todos debemos involucrarnos.

@chatojobol: Loja will no longer put up with this inefficient, visionless administration. Congratulations to the #LojaIndignada initiative. We should all get involved.

In the post “#Loxa indignados ? primero piensen estos tres puntos” [es] (“Loxa Outraged? First, consider these three points”), blogger Carlos Correa [es] reflects on the big impact which the  #Loxaindignada hashtag has had:

Las quejas y protestas sobre el apocalíptico estado de la ciudad otra vez llegan a Twitter. Anoche y esta mañana hubo intensas discusiones, algo que seguramente ningún medio 1.0 local recogerá porque para ellos –en general– lo que pasa en las redes sociales no es noticia, perdiendo una oportunidad única de empezar a conversar.

The complaints and protests on the apocalyptic state of the city have made their way onto Twitter again. Last night and this morning there were intense discussions, something which it is sure that none of the Web 1.0 local media will pick up, since to them – in general – what happens in the world of social media isn’t news, with the result that they miss out on a unique opportunity to get the conversation started.

In the first points of his analysis, Carlos focuses on the use of social networks:

1. Capacidad de convocatoria en Twitter. Si quieres tener verdadero impacto es obvio que los resultados serán ínfimos cuando trabajas prácticamente sólo, crear masa crítica no es fácil. pero cuando ya existe es absurdo despreciarla.

2. Salir de la burbuja 2.0. Como un imperativo, no necesita de demasiadas explicaciones, aunque puedo escribir párrafos citando las dificultades para hacerlo realidad.

1. Twitter’s capacity to bring people together. If you want to have a real impact, it is obvious that the results will be negligible when you’re working practically solo; creating critical mass is not easy. but once it’s in existence it would be absurd to disregard it.

2.Get out of the 2.0 bubble. As an imperative, there is no need for excessive explanation, although I could write paragraphs on the difficulties it will involve to make this a reality.

For his final point, Carlos emphasises that any removal from office or resignation on the part of the mayor himself will not help Loja to improve the current situation in the long term:

3. Plan de acción propositivo. Se habla de revocatoria, pedido de renuncia y hasta de expulsión al actual Alcalde. Faltando un año para que se vaya, ¿creen de verdad que eso va a traer una solución definitiva a largo plazo?. Yo no lo creo. Tenemos propuestas y planes de acción, por ejemplo lean estos, aquí lo que sobra es pereza (clicacktivismo) y alcanfor, y mientras no entendamos que eso es nuestro defecto dominante social estaremos viviendo el Mito de Sísifo una y otra vez.

3. Proactive plan of action. People are talking about expulsion, asking the current Mayor to resign, even removal from office. With only a year left of his administration, do they really believe that this is going to bring about a long term, definitive solution? I don’t believe so. We have proposals and plans of action, read these [es], for example, what we have no need for is laziness (clicacktivismo [es]) and mothballs, and as long as we fail to understand that this is our chief social defect, we will continue to relive The Myth of Sisyphus, over and over again.

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