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(en) Ecuador: "Down with Lenin!" (ca, ) [machine translation]

Date Thu, 10 Oct 2019 10:38:42 +0300


In Ecuador, from October 3, protests against the neoliberal measures of President Lenin Moreno have not stopped. At the request of the IMF, the regime introduced a package of austerity measures. The population responded with mass demonstrations and blockades. The response of the authorities was the militarization of the country. ---- At the end of last week, it was reported that the president left Quito and moved to Guayaquil. Before that, he announced on October 3 that he would introduce a state of emergency for a period of 60 days in order to suppress the outbreak of protests. The reason was the measures that came into force on October 3, which the country calls the "package." According to this presidential decree, vacations for public sector employees and civil servants will be cut from 30 to 15 days, and the amount of payment for one day will be deducted from the monthly salary. Temporary workers face a 20% reduction in wages. But the greatest outrage was caused by the abolition of subsidies for gasoline and fuel, which would lead to an increase in transportation prices and a general increase in prices by 2 times.

Already on October 3, opposition organizations called for a nationwide strike, and trade unions convened their members to "information meetings." Hundreds of rallies, demonstrations, road blockades and other actions took place during the day. Transport workers stopped working, paralyzing traffic throughout the country (a couple of days later, however, they treacherously stopped the strike, seeking only an official increase in fares and transportation by transport - approx.). Quito Airport was closed. Stormy clashes erupted in Quito and other cities: the army and police attacked demonstrators. The Defender of the People (a typical human rights function in Latin America) Freddie Carrion Intriago condemned the violence of law enforcement and demanded to inform about the places where the detainees are kept.

Moreno was elected president in 2017 as a candidate from the left coalition, but since then, contrary to his own promises, has entered into an alliance with right-wing neoliberals (https://www.dw.com/de/hunderte-festnahmen-bei-streik-in-ecuador/a-50708192).

In Quito, Guayaquil and other cities, protesters erected barricades and set fire to tires.

In the following days, protests, clashes and repression continued. A lot of dead and wounded are reported. At least 360 people were arrested. In Quito, protesters set fire to police cars, bombed government buildings with incendiary bombs, and blocked streets. Moreno refuses to negotiate and restore subsidies. 24,000 troops were mobilized to patrol streets, roads and airports ( https://www.dw.com/de/hunderte-festnahmen-bei-streik-in-ecuador/a-50708192 ).

According to the KONAIE Association of Native American Associations, in the province of Imbabura, soldiers broke into houses and threatened residents. During clashes between residents and soldiers, 7 people were arrested. The pro-government newspaper "Telegrafo" tried on October 7 to give the impression of a normalization of the situation, saying that schools were working again. However, in the mountains, in the Sierra, they are still closed. The newspaper is also not reporting that the unions scheduled a general strike on October 10.

El Telegrafo reported that 29,000 soldiers are deployed at 40 different locations in the center of the country. The troops "guarantee the protection of fuel supplies in the areas of Coyoctoro, Canyar County, Loja Cuenca, Saraguro, Cayamba Quito and El Churcho in the province of Morona Santiago." About 50 thousand police officers guard enterprises and firms in order to prevent their defeat.

After two days of fierce clashes between the police and the armies, on the one hand, and mostly peaceful demonstrators, on the other, October 3 and 4, October 6 was quiet in Quito. Obviously, the repression had an effect and intimidated the population. In the capital alone, 150 people were arrested; they were beaten and harassed. Many of those arrested are not allowed to contact lawyers.

Now the Native American organizations united in KONAYE have come to the forefront of protests. CONAIA, for its part, has declared its own state of emergency in areas where Indians make up the majority of the population. Soldiers and policemen invading this territory are detained and transferred to Native American justice. In Alausi, the Oindians are holding 47 soldiers. In Ambato, they seized a radio station and turned off many radio and television transmitters. Across the country, Indians erect barricades on roads and highways.

The troops and the police do not hesitate to resort to repression. So, on October 4, soldiers shot and killed a young Indian in Kayamba; in Riobamba, a young man was shot dead, filming the protests on camera. Many similar serious incidents have been reported on social media, but the official media are silent.

"This is the largest and fastest popular mobilization in 35 years ...", a former Ecuadorian diplomat explained in an interview with amerika21, who refused to give his name out of fear of reprisals. "Shortly after his election in 2017, Moreno quickly shifted to neoliberal politics in the economy and in many in other areas. Left ministers were removed from the government and representatives of entrepreneurs were introduced. Decisions were made about cuts in the social system. Unemployment grew rapidly to the high levels of the 1990s. I believe that the current "mobilization of the population, especially Native American, may lead to the overthrow of the government or, at least, to the abolition of measures, which in itself will mean a weakening of the regime." He does not believe that Moreno will be able to sit in the presidential chair until 2021 (https://amerika21.de/2019/10/232334/ecuador-moreno-iwf-generalstreik-repress).

The leader of the kayambi Indians in northern Ecuador, Luis Iguamba, said pressure on the government will increase. "We are fighting for everyone," he said, and cannot allow the violation of the rights that we all have. "Therefore, everyone and everyone - be alert and continue the fight. Let's radicalize the strike!"

BBC America Editor C. Piett recalls that protests led by Indians over the past decades have led to the overthrow of 3 presidents of Ecuador (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-49955695)
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