Indigenous people in Ecuador decided to stay on the streets

Indigenous demonstrators, who have been on the streets for a fortnight in Ecuador to protest against the high cost of living, will continue the mobilization, judging insufficient the drop in fuel prices announced the day before by President Guillermo Lasso.

This decision is insufficientreacted on Monday the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie), spearhead of the demonstrations, after the announcement of the Head of State.

decision does not measure up to the situation of poverty faced by millions of familiesreacted Conaie in a press release signed by its leader, Leonidas Iza, adding that our struggle does not cease (…) and the protest continues.

Sunday evening, President Lasso announced on television to reduce the price of gasoline by 10 cents (of dollars) per gallon (3.78 liters) and the price of diesel also by 10 cents per gallon.

In less than a year, diesel has increased by 90% and gasoline by 46%.

Under pressure from protesters on one side, President Lasso, a former banker in power since May 2021, is also threatened with dismissal in Parliament.

Late Sunday evening, the parliamentarians again suspended, after seven hours of discussions by teleconference, their debate opened on Saturday on a possible dismissal.

Quito, where some 10,000 indigenous protesters are gathered, according to the police, out of some 14,000 estimated in the country, is at the heart of the movement which affects 19 of the 24 provinces of the country.

Five demonstrators died in violence with the police in the country, according to an NGO. More than 500 people, civilians or members of the security forces, were injured.

The crisis is hitting the country’s economy, already affected by the pandemic and closely dependent on oil revenues, the main export product.

Oil production is at a critical level and could cease within 48 hours if the situation persists, with vandalism, seizure of wells and road closureswarned the Ministry of Energy on Sunday.

Production, he said reduced to 50% of normal, was around 520,000 barrels a day before the protests.

The Minister of Production Julio José Prado assessed the economic losses at 500 million dollars in total.

An indigenous protester in the streets of Quito.

Photo: Getty Images / AFP / Rodrigo Buendia

In Parliament, at least twenty deputies have yet to speak in the debate on the impeachment of the president, opened at the request of deputies supporting the former socialist president Rafael Correa (2007-2017).

On Saturday, Mr. Lasso had ended the state of emergency declared a week earlier in 6 of the 24 provinces of the country most affected by the demonstrations, a condition of the demonstrators to start the dialogue.

A first attempt at discussion between leaders of the indigenous movement and several government ministers had been outlined in parallel under the auspices of the President of Parliament, Virgilio Saquicela.

In Parliament, the majority but divided opposition makes the president responsible for the serious political crisis which is shaking the country.

After the debates, the deputies will have 72 hours to vote. A majority of 92 votes out of 137 is required for the impeachment procedure to pass.

Sunday was calm, without procession in the streets of Quito, where the demonstrators remained to rest in particular in an indigenous cultural center and two universities which they occupy.

On Sunday evening, Mr. Lasso renewed the call for dialoguenoting however those who seek chaos, violence and terrorism (that they) will find the full force of law. On Friday, he accused the demonstrators of wanting carry out a coup.

Mobilizations of the indigenous movement caused the fall of three presidents between 1997 and 2005.

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