Ecuador’s Government, Protestors Reach Agreement to Restore Peace

  • Following the meeting with the indigenous leaders, Moreno declared that Decree 883 would be repealed and replaced.
  • "Comrades, a deal is compromise on both sides," Moreno said.
  • The withdrawal of four-decade long fuel subsidies was part of a package of adjustments to meet targets set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The government of Ecuador and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) announced an agreement Sunday night that is likely to bring to an end a wave of 11 days of protests in the country and restore peace. President Lenin Moreno stepped back and agreed to the repeal of the decree removing fuel subsidies. Protesters celebrated the deal on the streets of the capital, Quito.

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) is Ecuador’s largest indigenous organization. CONAIE is most well known for its organization of popular uprisings (“levantamientos populares”) that often include blockading of commercial arteries and the takeover of government buildings.

Following the meeting with the indigenous leaders, Moreno declared that Decree 883 would be repealed and replaced by a new text to be drafted by a commission composed of organizations of the indigenous movement, with the mediation of the United Nations and the Episcopal Conference of Ecuador. The deal is expected to end the unrest across the country. “With this agreement, the mobilizations… across Ecuador are terminated and we commit ourselves to restoring peace in the country,” read a joint statement from both sides.

“Comrades, a deal is compromise on both sides,” Moreno said. “The indigenous mobilization will end and Decree 883 will be lifted.” Arnaud Peral, the United Nations’ resident coordinator in Ecuador, and one of the mediators of the nationally televised talks, added, “the moment of peace, of agreement, has come for Ecuador.” The talks began at about 6 PM. “This deal is an extraordinary step.”

End of Subsidies and Start of Protests

The withdrawal of four-decade long fuel subsidies was part of a package of adjustments to meet targets set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Ecuador borrowed $4.2 billion from the fund. The end of subsidies led to a rise of up to 123% in fuel prices and triggered a wave of protests in major Ecuadorian cities. In response to the protests, the government declared “a state of emergency” and subsequently transferred the country’s government from the nation’s capital city, Quito, to the coastal city of Guayaquil. The measures did not contain the protests, however.

Indigenous Leaders

Lenín Moreno is an Ecuadorian politician who is the current President of Ecuador, in office since May 2017. Moreno was Vice President from 2007 to 2013, serving under President Rafael Correa.

CONAIE President Jaime Vargas approved the deal but asked the government to respect the constitution. “Our territories are affected by the actions of transnational corporations. In this fighting process, we have more than 2,000 injured, 1,000 prisoners and 10 dead,” he said. “We want peace for our brothers and sisters in this country,” Vargas added. “We don’t want more repression.”

Vargas, however, still wants the immediate resignation of Interior Minister María Paula Romo, and Defense Minister Raul Oswaldo Jarrin Roman. The government has not yet responded to the indigenous leader’s request.

Leonidas Iza, president of the Cotopaxi Indigenous Movement, said violence will subside with the repeal of the decree.
After finalizing the deal, the secretary of the presidency, Juan Sebastián Roldán, said that those 11 days of protests that the country experienced were difficult for Ecuadorians.

“No one wants a prisoner, no one wants an injured person. No police, no army intends to assault anyone; but many military and police officers have done their duty on the streets and today they also celebrate the restored peace,” he said. He pointed out that Moreno’s attitude of openness to dialogue allowed Ecuadorians to overcome the crisis that the nation has experienced and restore peace and tranquility.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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