In first day of talks, government and Conaie agree to develop separate fuel subsidy plans
In the first day of negotiations between the government and indigenous groups, both sides agreed to develop their own plans for how fuel subsidies should be targeted. “With the approach, we will consider fully developed proposals that can be modified and adjustment to meet the interests of both sides,” said Darío Herrera, Deputy Minister of Transport and Public Works.
According to Eustoquio Tuala, president of the Council of Evangelical Indigenous Peoples, it could require three days for Conaie to develop its plan. “We like this concept since it will save time in the negotiations,” said. “If we try to work out a plan jointly, we will get bogged down in small details and waste time.”
According to both Herrera and Tuala, there is agreement that across-the-board subsidies are inefficient. “As it is now, many of the people who take advantage of subsidized prices for fuel can afford to pay full price,” Herrera said. “We need to make sure the subsidies apply to those who need them.”
Conaie President Leonidas Iza and Herrera said the first day of talks were productive and cordial, although Iza began the morning session with an attack on President Guillermo Lasso’s claim that drug money funded the indigenous strike. “His intention is to discredit the interests of the indigenous movement with outrageous claims and we will not stand for it,” he said.
In a request accepted by government negotiators, Iza asked that the United Nations Rapporteur on Indigenous Issues be invited to attend future sessions.