In Ecuador, "it's all the deal with the IMF" is disputed

Following the retreat in Quito, which reinstated fuel subsidies, the timetable for reforms with the institution should be renegotiated.

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Clashes between protesters and police in Quito, 9 October.
Clashes between protesters and police in Quito, 9 October. RODRIGO BUENDIA / AFP

Felt hat on the head and colorful scarf on the shoulders, Guadalupe Quishpe, 63, does not hide his satisfaction. "We gave a good lesson to the IMF," This Quechua peasant rejoices. Eleven days of an unprecedented mobilization of the indigenous peoples of Ecuador forced the president, Lenin Moreno, to abandon the idea of ​​increasing the price of fuels, hitherto subsidized by the state. The measure was decided as part of a comprehensive adjustment plan, tied with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in exchange for a check of $ 4.2 billion (3.8 billion euros). Fragilized politically, the government is negotiating a "new decree" with the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie). Without the IMF.

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The cost of this "victory" is high: eight dead, 1340 wounded, announced Monday, October 14, a public body, and economic losses estimated at least $ 1.5 billion by the Ecuadorian employers. On Tuesday at a news conference in Washington, IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath publicly praised the Ecuadorian government. "Take into account all interested parties". "We hope that the reforms in Ecuador will be successful and that they will be a success", she said.

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Remarks "Cynics" for Alberto Acosta, economist close to popular organizations. "The adjustment plan signed with the government of Lenin Moreno is the result of the blind obstinacy of technocrats who have not learned to read local realities," He says.

Ecuador, which extracts some 500,000 barrels of oil a day, exports 70% of its production and has subsidized domestic fuel consumption for more than 40 years. This policy, which represents a shortfall for the state of $ 1.4 billion a year, is obviously debated. To justify its decision to put an end to it, the government recalls that pump price subsidies are not socially just because they benefit, among others, the most privileged and smugglers. But the announced end of the diesel subsidy would have doubled the price at the pump. Ineligible for Indians who live in rural areas, use public transportation for travel and road transportation to sell their products.


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