Protests Erupt After Ecuadorian President Enacts New Economic Policies


Protesting began in Ecuador after a fateful decision made by the Ecuadorian President, Lenin Moreno on October 1, 2019. Moreno had announced a series of economic measures that included the end of fuel subsidies, the removal of key tariffs, and cuts in benefits and wages for workers.

As diesel fuel prices doubled, transportation unions and businesses became very angry. Unions such as Frente Unitario de los Trabajadores, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, the Popular Front, and Federation of University Students of Ecuador also announced protests against the government.

Those active in the transportation business, such as taxi, bus, and truck drivers of every age spoke out against the actions of the government. Anger was prominent throughout the country as workers were now left unable to pay for fuel and necessities needed to work. Families were left to suffer as they no longer had enough money to take care of themselves or their children.

However, the loudest voice of the protest were from the indigenous, followed by the voice of young students fighting for a better future. When those voices were not heard by the government, what had previously been peaceful strikes turned violent. Demonstrators turned to petrol bombs and stones, beginning to flood the streets of large cities, and looting and destroying public buildings.

Because of the violent clashing between protesters and the police, the government became uneasy. However, it was not until October 8, when the government was relocated to the city Guayaquil after citizens had overrun the capital city, Quito.

Demonstrators began taking over oil rigs and indigenous protesters blocked the main roads of Ecuador.

It was the indigenous groups that brought instances of police brutality in response to protests to light by accusing the media of hiding it.

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador presented three demands from the government in order to find a point of compromise. Those demands including that the ministers of government and defense be dismissed, the repeal of the fuel subsidies decree, and the government take responsibility for any deaths that had taken place during the protests. On October 11, President Moreno agreed to partake in dialogue with the Confederation.

Although violent protests continued to take place and a national curfew was instilled, the Confederation and President Moreno continued to discuss negotiations. Two days later, a solution was found as both the Confederation and government agreed to collaborate to prevent overspending and debt. Thus ending austerity measures and in turn, the protesters agreed to end their demonstrations.

Despite negotiations, many are still unhappy with President Moreno’s reforms and have continued to protest despite the agreement. However, the protests are not as widespread as they previously had been and many citizens are accepting of the new conditions and agreements.

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