Ecuador: Protests Happen Because Austerity Measures, and the Aftermath

by Abdul Hussain

Earlier in October 2019, Ecuador had to endure protests as a result of government proposals to scrap subsidies, which has led to not only a curfew being implemented during the protests and the government being temporarily evacuated, casualties, and injuries have ensued, with around 1200 people being detained due to the protests.

The origins of the Ecuadorian protests stem, as stated earlier in this article, from the government proposals to scrap subsidies in order to secure an International Monetary Fund loan that is worth $4.2bn in order to reportedly help save $1.3bn per annum for the intention of reducing the country’s deficits. However, the subsidy-scrapping measures has led to violent protests, which in turn led to injuries and deaths, and has led to the Ecuadorian civilians holding a nationwide strike, to the point whereby CONAIE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Spanish: Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador)), an Ecuadorian indigenous umbrella organization, has reportedly had involvement in the protests, and has called out Ecuadorian President, Lenin Moreno for “installing a regime of terror”, and called out the security forces for its “excessive violence” in handling the protests, and in addition to this, during the protests, CONAIE said that they would not engage in dialogue with Lenin Moreno until the IMF-requested agreements were dropped.

Eventually though, on the 13th October 2019, the Ecuadorian government and indigenous groups agreed to hold talks to end the Ecuadorian crisis, which ravaged the country during the first half of October 2019, which in turn has led to the revocation of austerity measures known as Decree 883, that involved rising fuel costs, though Lenin Moreno has been implementing the stereotypically neoliberal measures such as relaxed labour laws, reduced public spending and increased taxes to help secure the $4.2bn emergency financing payout, a deal which was agreed by Jaime Vargas, CONAIE’s main representative during the anti-austerity protests, and Lenin Moreno, with the meeting being mediated by the United Nations, and the Catholic Church.

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