government and indigenous people find an agreement to get out of the crisis

The Ecuadorian government will withdraw the controversial decree to abolish subsidies on fuel, which provoked the anger of the natives.

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Indigenous leaders celebrate the announcement of an agreement with the government that cancels some austerity measures on October 13 in Quito. Fernando Vergara / AP

The Ecuadorian government and the indigenous movement on Sunday (October 13th) reached an agreement to get out of the unprecedented social crisis that paralyzed the country for 12 days, thanks to the withdrawal of the controversial decree suppressing fuel subsidies. The two sides agreed on the preparation of"A new decree that cancels decree 883" on gasoline, and "With this agreement the mobilization ends"said Arnaud Peral, representative in Ecuador of the UN, who facilitated with the Catholic Church the holding of a dialogue.

"The measures applied in all our territories are lifted"confirmed the president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), Jaime Vargas, face painted and head wearing a wreath of feathers. The Andean country has been shut down for nearly two weeks, between roadblocks, public transport almost non-existent and Amazonian oil wells at a standstill, forcing Ecuador to suspend distribution by nearly 70% of its production of crude.

It has also been shaken by a wave of demonstrations since October 3, seven dead, 1340 wounded and 1,152 arrests, according to the office of the Defender of the People, public rights organization. The indigenous community – a quarter of the population – was spearheading the protest against the economic reforms negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in exchange for a $ 4.2 billion loan, the measure of which was The most controversial was Decree 883, the effect of which was to double the prices at the pump.

Unpublished violence

"Native brothers, I have always treated you with respect and affection"As a sign of appeasement, President Lenin Moreno opened the dialogue meeting and broadcast it on television. "It has never been my intention to affect the poorest sectors (…), the poorest"insisted the head of state, a liberal elected in 2017 under the socialist label. For his part, Jaime Vargas lambasted "The improvisation of economic policy" the President, noting with regret that"We feel that the right and the IMF manage the country".

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Quito, the capital at 2,850 meters above sea level, was the scene of unprecedented violence and long clashes between protesters armed with stones, homemade rockets, and law enforcement firing tear gas and rubber bullets. . On Sunday, clashes continued on the outskirts of Parliament as the city was just recovering from Saturday's hectic day, with buildings burned down, such as the General Inspectorate of Finance or the Teleamazonas chain, stone barricades. , broken windows and burnt tires on the roadway.

Overwhelmed by this uncontrollable situation, President Moreno, who had already moved the government headquarters to Guayaquil (south), declared a curfew and placed the city under military control until further notice.

Strong mobilization capacity

"There has been a social convulsion and a disrespect for human rights, excessive violence against the people and state terrorism", denounced Jaime Vargas about the repression of the police. Therefore, "As a gesture of social peace for the country (…), we ask for the immediate departure (Des) two ministers " of the interior and the defense, to which President Moreno did not respond.

"We had never seen a level of brutal violence like in recent days"added Leonidas Iza, president of the indigenous and peasant movement of Cotopaxi. He contrasted the brutality of the police with the hard blow of the gas price jump: "If I have to refuel and the price goes up by 123%, it's violent. "

The indigenous community was suffering the full impact of the fuel decree: generally poor and working in agriculture, it sees its transport costs soar to sell its products. Powerful and organized, she had brought in recent days thousands of her members from the Andes and Amazon to camp in Quito. And in the past, she has already overthrown three presidents.


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