Ecuador has stalled after two weeks of protests over the housing crisis Ecuador

Ecuador has come to a standstill after two weeks of violent protests over rising fuel and food prices as global inflation has fueled growing dissatisfaction with growing inequality in Latin America.

At least 5 people died as a result of the protesters’ routes, burning cars and throwing stones, and the police responded to tear gas in clashes. Ecuador’s health ministry says two people have died in delayed ambulances due to roadblocks. Twelve police officers were reported injured.

Ecuador’s powerful local federation, Conaie, began protests two weeks ago with 10 demands. These include a freeze on fuel prices, a moratorium on bank loans, subsidies for fertilizers and a ban on mining in local areas.

Conaie’s leader, Leonidas Iza, rejected the dialogue, citing previous failed attempts, after Ecuador’s conservative President Guillermo Lasso tried to put it on the negotiating table last week, according to a letter from the Guardian.

“We have told the president that we will not engage in another dialogue to ridicule and mistreat,” Iza said by telephone from Ecuador on Friday.

“[The government] He described the local movement as an internal enemy. ” “It simply came to our notice then [Lasso] meets the list of requirements explicitly. ”

Clashes erupted in Quito on Thursday night as the government handed over control of a cultural center called La Casa de la Cultura to local and peasant farmer protesters from the Andes and the Amazon. It is the audience where the movement is located October 2019 when nationwide protests over cuts in fuel subsidies irritate the country.

“Mr. Iza’s real intention is to overthrow the government,” Lasso said in a televised speech on Friday, adding that the local leader could no longer control the situation. The violence perpetrated by the intruders is out of control. ”

City residents and locals took to the streets to protest the government's austerity measures.
City residents and locals took to the streets to protest the government’s austerity measures. Photo: Martin Burnetti / AFP / Getty Images

Iza replied that Lasso was trying to turn the protests into a “political issue” because he could not solve the problems. A state of emergency remains in six provinces, including the capital, Quito.

Among the signs of growing violence, Erika Guevara Rosas, American director Amnesty InternationalInvestigations showed that the demonstrator’s death on Tuesday was “caused by the use of excessive force by security agents, most likely police officers.”

The government’s austerity measures, including tax increases and cuts in fuel subsidies as part of a $ 6.5 billion deal with the International Monetary Fund, have been exacerbated by the economic crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic and spiral costs of fuel, cooking oil, bread, and fertilizer driven by global inflation.

Sonia Quamangate, a local woman from Samanga in the volcanic Kotopaxi region, left her two children at home to join tens of thousands of protesters marching from the village to the capital.

“Prices have risen in the city, but the money we pay for our agricultural products remains the same,” he complained.

“Sometimes they pay up to $ 5 or $ 6,” he said sentner [100kg] potato. This is a one-year job for some of us, “he said.

“They call us ignorant Indians. We are not ignorant; we provide the city with food. ”

Residents of the city also took to the streets of Quito due to the high cost of living. Miguel Teran, a mechanical engineer who was unable to go to work due to strikes and roadblocks by bus and taxi drivers, also joined the marchers.

“There is a lot of noise, especially among the unemployed,” he said. During the pandemic, unemployment rose sharply and recovery slowed, with only 33.2% of Ecuadorians being officially employed and 22.1% being part-time unemployed. Ecuadorian Institute of Statistics.

“It’s very difficult to live when all the prices are so high,” he said. Fuel prices have risen, so all major products have risen, “Teran said, adding that people were outraged by the meager investment in health and education.

Estefany Gonzales, a Venezuelan nurse who works as a nurse in Quito, handed out red and white balloons with the word “wedge” or the word “peace” written on them during protests last week.

The 97-year-old migrant, who is struggling to reach his luggage due to confusion, said, “I took to the streets to give a little love.”

“We can’t go to work without transportation and we don’t eat without work,” he said. “Wages have not increased, but the food basket is twice as expensive.”

A year after taking office, Lasso, a right-wing, business-minded former banker, has faced a stagnant government agenda, economic stagnation and an unprecedented rise in violent crime. Twice as many murders in 2021 as in the previous year – and a number ruthless prison massacres.

“This is a very weak government that makes very serious mistakes,” he said. He does not have the support of the people, “said Maria-Paz Jervis, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law at Quito SEK International University. has shrunk. “

Iza said that despite the business elite receiving help from the government after the pandemic, “there is absolutely nothing for the poorest.”

“The crisis must affect not only the poor, but all Ecuadorians,” he said.

Additional report by Quitoda Carla Valdiviezo

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