Conaie says government not negotiating in good faith, says agreements already being violated

Sep 14, 2022 | 70 comments

Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities President Leonidas Iza claimed Tuesday that the government is not following through with agreements reached last week. “Yes, there have been agreements but they are not being followed,” he said in a press conference with National Confederation of Peasant, Indigenous and Black Organizations President Gary Espinosa.

Indigenous leaders Leonidas Iza and Gary Espinosa at Tuesday’s press conference in Quito.

Iza also called President Guillermo Lasso’s proposed referendum “a waste of time,” suggesting it would end up being a referendum on his presidency. “His eight questions are empty and don’t solve anything,” Iza said. “If he isn’t able to solve the issues he is negotiating with the indigenous people, how can he solve anything else? Obviously, we do not support the consultation.”

Iza said that agreements reached last week on debt moratorium and forgiveness are not being fulfilled. “We were told these would go into effect immediately and they have not.”

According to Espinosa, debt forgiveness of up to $3,000 for the poor population is not being honored. “The decree the government issued is hollow. There are also questions of private banks adhering to the agreement.”

BanEcuador disputed Iza’s and Espinosa’s claim late Tuesday, insisting it has notified almost 26,000 debt holders that loans of $3,000 and less have been forgiven. “We continue to notify affected clients with information about the program and we are busy answering client questions.”

Iza also claimed the government is not providing “critical details” on the application of targeted fuel subsidies. “The wealthy must be excluded from receiving subsidies as well as those who own expensive cars and motorcycles,” he said. “How will this be accomplished? Where is the information about subsidies for the productive and transport sectors and family businesses? We are waiting for the plan.”

According to Iza, families that earn more than $43,630 a year and vehicles appraised at $40,000 or more must not receive subsidies.

In separate comments, Iza and Espinosa said a return to a national strike remains a strong possibility. “We are tired of the government’s games and delays,” Espinosa said. “If we do not see good faith and progress soon, we will have no choice but to return to the streets.”


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The Cuenca Dispatch

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