People’s protest in Ecuador compels Moreno government to drop IMF’s prescription of neo-liberal measure

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October 15, 2019

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By Countercurrents Collective

United Nations-backed dialogue between the right wing Lenin Moreno’s government and leaders of protesting people including indigenous people’s organizations reached a deal Sunday to revoke pro-International Monetary Fund (IMF) Decree 883, end strikes across the country, and to set up a commission that will write the new document, which will replace the decree issued earlier. Indigenous groups that led the protest rallies consented to stopping the people’s mobilization that was going for 11 days.

Arnaud Peral, the U.N. Representative in Ecuador, informed that the new decree would be drawn up by organizations of the Indigenous movement.

In a televised speech on October 3, Moreno announced executive order 883, which, it claimed, “liberates the price of diesel and extra gasoline.”

Moreno justified his decision by saying that the Ecuadorean state allocates more than US$1.3 billion a year in fuel subsidies.

The next day prices increased by 25 to 120 percent, as the gallon of gasoline went from US$1.85 to US$2.30, and of diesel, used by most freight transport, rose from US$1.03 to US$2.27. It was part of a measure in compliance with the IMF’s US$4.2 billion loan to the country.

An influx of protesters from all over the country came to Quito following the government announced sweeping austerity policies, a part of the IMF loan package. Most of all people were angry at the decree cancelling fuel subsidies that saw the prices skyrocket.

The protesters occupied the parliament building and other administrative buildings for a short period.

Massive protests by people, mainly led by the Indigenous sector, began, and it reached 12th day on Sunday. President Moreno even fled away the capital city. He moved the government to a city, which is a bastion of right wing forces.

The protests rocked the capital, set up barricades, burned tire. The capital city took the look of a war battered city. Police used tear gas, military equipment and even mounted officers pushed back the protesters. Curfew was imposed several times. But the people defied the curfews.

“We’ve got more than 2,000 injured, 1.000 prisoners, 10 killed, 100 missing. We have had human rights violations. We ask for the resignation of Minister Romo and Minister Jarrín, only then will we have peace and freedom,” said Jaime Vargas president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, CONAIE in short, (Ecuadorean Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities).

Jaime Vargas thanked all the people joining the protests or helping the protesters that came to Quito.

The negotiations brokered by UN started in Quito, the country’s capital.

The parties agreed to create a commission to develop a new decree repealing the one that caused the discontent.

Jaime Vargas, said that anti-government mobilizations would be lifted throughout the territory.

He criticized the police and the military for their actions against the demonstrators calling them “violation of human rights” and called for the removal of the Ministers of Interior and Defense.

Private secretary of Moreno defended the work of the law enforcers.

Fireworks went off in Quito and cars honked their horns in celebration after the UN negotiator Arnaud announced an agreement had been reached following three hours of televised negotiations.

14 October 2019

Source: countercurrents.org

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