For the first time since his inauguration, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso faced a national day of protest to which labor unions, teachers unions and indigenous movements joined. The common objective of the different sectors was to achieve the fuel price freeze, what in recent months they have had an increase of up to 18 percent thanks to a gang system approved by Lenín Moreno’s management and supported by Lasso. They also demanded a greater arrival of vaccines against the coronavirus, improvements in education and participation in the discussion about possible labor reforms.
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (trust) warned that “Lasso decided to transit, support and defend the policies” of his predecessor Lenín Moreno “under the supervision of the IMF. The Ecuadorian president replied that he would not give in to the “imposition” of certain social groups because “it would affect the poorest”. He also promised to be willing to dialogue, although at the moment there is no formal invitation to the sectors mobilized on Wednesday.
The epicenter of the march scheduled by the Workers Unitary Front (FUT) was Quito, with a walk that began at 16:00 local time, leaving Caja del Seguro to the Historic Center. The demonstrations were also replicated in the main cities of the country.
Angel Sanchez, president of the FUT, explained that they mobilized because the Lasso government did not respond to their request that apply the reforms to the Organic Law on Intercultural Education, which aims to guarantee access to education in a country of significant ethnic diversity. Therefore, a group of teachers from the National Union of Educators (UNE) chained themselves in front of the Constitutional Court in Quito, while 80 people have been on hunger strike since July 12th.
THE FUT, the largest union center in Ecuador, he also criticized the so-called “humanitarian law”, implemented during the coronavirus pandemic by the government of former president Lenín Moreno. The law favors agreements between workers and employers to modify the employment relationship, presumably seeking to preserve the sources of employment.
Although, different unions denounce hundreds of thousands of workers made redundant in times of pandemic. The list of demands includes an appeal to protest “against the privatization of strategic areas” and “the conditions agreed with the IMF”.
The heavy transport guild, represented by Alex Bustillos, announced in a statement that adhered to the “right of resistance” because they do not have the resources to operate their units “due to the increase in the price of diesel”. Consequently, as of 6:00 am on Wednesday, they decided to stop the trucks.
The Ecuadorian government claims to be in favor of opening channels of dialogue to deactivate the protests which has been going on for weeks with the rice farmers’ union and the productive sectors of the city of Huaquillas. For that call he referred Link on Tuesday during the ceremony commemorating the First Cry of Independence in Parcayacu, north of Quito.
“We will always promote dialogue with everyone, but it must be purposeful and never imposing.. We will never give in to threats, because that would destroy all the good work we are doing to give stability to Ecuador”, said the president, who assured that he is willing to receive the leaders of Conaie at the Carondelet Palace.
The president of Conaie, Leonidas Iza, expects to receive a written invitation to hold the meeting.. “Lasso decided to transit, support and defend Moreno’s policies”, under the conditions imposed by the IMF to grant credits to the country, the president of the largest indigenous federation in Ecuador said at a press conference.
In October 2019, Conaie led a large protest movement against Moreno which were deactivated when the then-president revoked a decree eliminating the fuel price subsidies that had been in place for decades. But amid the pandemic, the former Ecuadorian president established a floating system to set fuel prices, which had an impact on a permanent increase in the price of gasoline and several basic necessities.
Leônidas Iza recognizes that the Ecuadorian people “cannot stand a revolt”, but also does not want “the crisis to fall on the popular sectors”. The indigenous leader questioned Lasso for having warned that he will not allow any indigenous protests and recommended that “consult the statistics, but do not pursue the social sectors”, and that define whether you will “walk the path of Moreno or really listen to the Ecuadorian people”.