Cuenca High Life logo

Ecuador News

Indigenous strike ends after Moreno agrees to reinstate the fuel subsidies

The leaders of Ecuador’s indigenous community announced Sunday night that they are ending the 12-day strike that has paralyzed the country with protests and roadblocks. The decision came after President Lenín Moreno said he was withdrawing his plan to eliminate gasoline and diesel fuel subsidies and that a commission, including indigenous members, would be formed to develop a new economic plan.

Conaie President Jaime Vargas talks to the press following Sunday’s agreement with the government.

The agreement came after three hours of televised negotiations between Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie) leadership and the government in which spokespersons for both sides aired their opinions.

“As a result of tonight’s dialogue, a new agreement has been reached that invalidates the government’s  Decree 883 [Moreno’s order to eliminate fuel subsidies] and establishes a commission to develop a new economic strategy for the country. The new strategy will be developed jointly by the government and the leadership of the indigenous movement to be moderated by the United Nations and the Episcopal Conference of the Catholic church,” said UN official Arnauld Peral. “Both sides commit themselves to restoring peace and normalcy in Ecuador as quickly as possible.”

Jaime Vargas, president of Conaie, agreed to suspend strike activities, including road blockages and protests, but cautioned that it could take several days before normal routines could be re-established. “We represent hundreds of small communities, each with its own interests and objectives, that we need to communicate with all of them,” he said.

Both Conaie and the government blame protest violence on Correista ‘terrorists.”

In his statement following the negotiations, Vargas thanked Moreno, the UN and Catholic church for organizing Sunday’s meeting. “I think this format was very valuable,” he said. “We have been asking for a long time to participate in the country’s decision-making processes and I can say from the heart, speaking for all indigenous people, that we have risen in defense of our rights and have finally been heard.”

Still to be resolved are Conaie’s demand that Interior Minister María Paula and Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrín resign from the government. “Our position on these two people does not change,” Vargas said. “We believe they are enemies of the indigenous people and that their repressive actions during the strike are indefensible.”

One issue that the government and Conaie agree on is that the supporters of former president Rafael Correa have no place in current and future negotiations. “The Correistas functioned as a terrorist group during the strike, inciting some in our communities to commit violent and criminal acts,” Vargas said. “They promoted open rebellion against the government for selfish reasons — their interest in returning to power — and we reject this absolutely. The Correistas are not friends of the indigenous people of Ecuador.”

One of the leaders of the Correistas, former National Assembly president Gabriela Rivadeneira, entered the Mexican embassy in Quito on Saturday seeking political asylum.

According to one political analyst, the issue of Correista influence in the indigenous community should not be ignored. “There is a very active minority of the indigenous movement that supports Correa and this could slow the reconciliation process,” Gustavo Calderon, a professor at the University of San Francisco said during a television panel discussion following Sunday’s agreement.

“They represent 10 to 15 percent of the indigenous communities in Ecuador and are still capable of causing disruption,” he added. “Their opinions must be heard and considered.”

84 thoughts on “Indigenous strike ends after Moreno agrees to reinstate the fuel subsidies

  1. I’m sure that if the long term plan includes subsidies, lack of economic competitiveness and continuing government deficits, they will also include increasing loans from the IMF, leading to increasing austerity and future enslavement of all peoples to the developed banking powers. The only other alternative would be to increase IVA and maybe increase taxes on food, maybe doubling same. This is a big win for the taxi’s who don’t want decreases in import prices and need continuing subsidies to enrich their profligate lifestyle at the expense of everyone else. Subsidies are not free, someone else pays for what they get for free and they may even be paying more in other ways.

    1. The IVA tax increase wouldn’t effect people as much as raising Gas and Diesel Prices. So I say raise the IVA we are still the cheapest IVA tax in South America.

        1. No it doesn’t. The poor spend a far greater percentage of their income on purchases. The rich, on the other hand, can send their surplus capital to offshore accounts in Panama like Moreno did.

          1. Doesn’t IVA just apply to purchases? Obviously the well-to-do make far more in-store purchases than the poor. I mean, do they charge IVA at Feria Libre?

            1. It’s not so simple. The IVA is essentially a flat tax, which is regressive by definition. IVA only applies to money spent. The rich are able to save/invest a far greater portion of their incomes than people who live month to month. Increasing the IVA would not only fall hardest on the poor, it would be devastating for the economy.

              1. But we are talking about IVA — not off-shore bank deposits.

                I still don’t get it. If the poor only shop at Feria Libre and there is no IVA at Feria Libre then how are they getting hit? On the hand, if the rich buy a lot more stuff, they pay more tax. So, in that sense, it is not a flat tax.

                In any case, who invented “sales tax”? Why should the government even steal a portion of the people’s productivity?

                1. I don’t know where you get this idea that the poor only shot at the feria libre. That simply isn’t true and regardless, IVA is included in taxable items there as well. It’s also charged at every step in the supply chain, from producer to distributor to retailer, so increasing the IVA doesn’t only affect the price at the moment of sale. It increases the price all along the supply chain.

                  As far as who invented it and why, you have to finance the operation of a country or else the people won’t have any opportunity to be productive. If you want a good example of a country where nobody pays taxes and the government doesn’t interfere in anything, check out Somalia.

                  1. And I am sure that Moreno is spending the IVA efficiently in order to “finance the operation of the country”.

                1. The earthquake devastated the economy (took 3 points off economic growth) but the 2% increase was a temporary measure. The permanent 3% increase being proposed wouldn’t have the same effect, especially in light of the fact that Moreno’s government isn’t reinvesting in the country and is even selling off revenue generating assets for a one-time payment.

    2. I appreciate your opionon. But if a plan to reduce government deficits does not occur, would the IMF continue the loans? Where, other then the IMF, can the government get more money? And does the government need a loan from anyone? I just see this as kicking the can down the road. And that kicking has a cost.

            1. I asked nicely to have him respond. As you bring it up again, not so nice. If I wanted stupid comments, I would have asked you.

      1. very simple , if the government stop steeling our money maybe we can use the profits to pay our deficit.
        maybe Correa can wire some money back

    3. Removing the IVA claw back from us gringos would help too. It is a program designed to help poor people and there is not one of us here that is poor if we came here legally with the minimum income required. Taking the IVA back is just a simple case of greed.

      1. It is only 92 dollars a month and I think you will agree that the people (that’s us) know how to spend money more efficiently than the government.

  2. Glad that they came to the table and negotiated. Nothing has been said yet about the rock thrower.

    As for “The Correistas functioned as a terrorist group during the strike, inciting some in our communities to commit violent and criminal acts,” many noticed that the violence was much more prominent this time around

    1. Weren’t you just saying three days ago that Moreno should crush the protestors with an iron fist? Now you’re “glad”?

      1. Now, both sides are saying, crush the correistas with an iron fist. Do you agree with that action?

        1. What is a Correista? Oh, were they the ones that caused all the damage? Are they the ones that Moreno said was to blame for everything? Maybe Correa was running the protests from his cell phone in Belgica.

      2. Jason you keep twisting my words. For the 3rd time.
        If the protestors were harming innocent people they should be removed and charged.

  3. So,
    After several people died,
    And Millions of dollars lost in revenue/damages,
    People are celebrating?

    Wow, selfishness and personal agenda seem to be the only thing that matters,
    -sad.
    So who is going to pay for the country’s debt?
    Who will pay for the development of the country?

    Who will pay for damages across the country in the past week or so?

    ……….Ignorance is bliss?

    1. “… selfishness and personal agenda seem to be the only thing that matters…”
      Well of course it’s the only thing that matters; it’s bottom line for everyone at all times. Even people who seem to be trying to help others are following their own “selfish” agenda; i.e. wanting to help others for whatever personal reason – to feel good, feel important, get praise, etc.
      The only question is how to best incentivize selfish personal agendas to automatically help everyone else, too.

    1. “Pranksters” sounds so, uh, “cute, cuddly and mischievous.”
      These “pranksters” would gladly kill to achieve their desires, if they could get away with it.

  4. How much money does Ecuador lose every year due to businesses illegally buying domestic LP gas in the white tanks? A billion?

  5. The left wins again, keep the ignorant uneducated masses in their ghettos, creating even more seperation between the haves and have nots. Raise the IVA so the indigenous (code for bums) can continue to get their free stuff, most of their income is under the table anyway so it will have little effect on their bottomline. Socialism at its finest.

    1. The people that don’t like my post are the same ones that like the American Indian to stay on the reservations addicted to drugs and alcohol recieving everything for free and never able to be a productive member of society, keeping the blacks in government housing, planned parenthood on every street corner, poorly educated and no incentive to keep the father at home. This is the left’s voter base and they don’t want to loose it no matter how destructive it may be to society as whole. Also you may notice I don’t hide behind a fake username like most of you.

      1. Another incredibly stupid strawman argument that requires no further comment other than to say it is an example of virtue signaling at its ugly worst.

      2. Yes, using a fake or real name on the comment section is so important in life. If you use a real name, you are allowed to be stupid. PS, you are also allowed that with a fake name

      3. If you’ve held a cedula for less than 5 years you can be expelled for meddling in Ecuador’s politics, Eric Ware. Have a nice day.

          1. No, meddling isn’t code for speaking the truth and as ridiculous as Extinction Rebellion’s post is, that doesn’t mean you have actually spoken (nor written) the truth.

            Write on, Eric, but don’t insult us by calling your nonsense “truth”.

            1. If it is a fact then you shouldn’t have any difficulty in providing me with a link to establish it as such and to provide me with a single example of anyone been deported because they interfered in Ecuador’s politics.

              You can measure my time as an expat and as a citizen of Ecuador in decades, not years, and I pride myself on keeping up with news. Never once have I even heard of a rumor of an expat being deported for other than having committed a crime in another country. I’m open to any information that you have to enlighten me.

              1. I read about it at one of the two local digital newspaper media outlets. The bottom line is if you’ve had a cedula for less than five years you aren’t welcome to participate in Ecuadors politics, either by voting or “other” means. That’s the law and I’m not interested in chasing down a link for you.

                1. How pathetic. Your “I saw it somewhere on the internet” just doesn’t cut it. Your bluff has been called.

                1. Did you think I wasn’t going to check the link you sent? You must have thought that because the article you allude to in no way supports your silly, unfounded notion.

                  First of all, Article 49 is on page 14, not page 13, but here is my translation of what Article 49 says (I’m bi-lingual so this should be pretty accurate)

                  Right to political participation. Foreign nationals residing in Ecuador
                  shall have the right to vote and to be elected to public office, provided that they have legally resided in the country for at least five years, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the law. Temporary visitors to Ecuador may not interfere in policy or internal matters of Ecuador.

                  You have jumped to the unfounded conclusion that those here with a cedula are “temporary visitors to Ecuador”. They are not, they are legal residents and if they haven’t yet held a cedula for 5 years, they don’t YET have the right to vote. It in no way says or infers that any cedula holder cannot opine on things political and there is absolutely NO statement of a penalty of being deported that you claimed in your original post for those that don’t conform with your mistaken interpretation of the law.

                  As I said in my original reply to you, I challenge you to show me a single case of anyone being deported for the reason you claim to be possible.

                  Please stop pulling a trump and doubling down on information you provide that has been shown to be untrue. BTW, I checked with two of my attorney friends (one of whose specialty is Constitutional law) and to paraphrase my mother, they said you are full of prunes.

                  1. I used to think these people were manipulated and brainwashed, even if they themselves were trying to manipulate and brainwash. Now, I understand they know their intentions, and what they want is discord. They don’t want to inform – they want to annoy. They don’t even want to be right – they just want to win. Now that I know this, I am truly astonished at how many of them there are. The next quest is to better understand the socio-political forces that grows so many of these beings.

      4. Wow. What supernatural insight you have. You somehow know who it is who doesn’t like your post, what they think about all kinds if complex social issues, and evidently you even know why. Yet, despite your dazzling brilliance, you’ve described “the left” completely inaccurately. If you weren’t so prescient, I’d say it looks like you get all your talking points from Fox and Breitbart, and that your goal in posting has nothing whatever to do with furthering the discussion and everything to do with pushing a political agenda.

        Lynne Ranney

        P.S. How do we know “Eric Ware” is a real name? My name isn’t and it looks as real as yours.

        1. I pray that the sardonic beauty of your post isn’t lost on the likes of Eric Ware. Yours is the most insightful and intelligently written post that I’ve read in a long time.

          1. Thank you!!!!! But I didn’t comment in an effort to reach Eric Ware or others who have already committed themselves to ignorance and bias. I commented for the benefit of anyone who is reading with an open mind, and to let people know they are not alone if they found Eric Ware’s post obnoxious.

            1. I embrace the underlying notion of what you have written. Most times, when I make an effort to correct erroneous information, I realize it will not sway the “true believer” that wrote the false info. Like you, I write in the hope that honest truth seekers will read and be enlightened.

              Seeing that I have found a kindred soul makes my day. Your effort is noble.

          1. If you want me to read something, provide a link. Also, you should say what the “it” is that you want me to look up.

  6. I am so happy this is over and that the indigenous people were at the table. Many, many prayers were answered. Maybe raising property taxes on all houses and property over a certain value and size should be considered. Those that can afford large homes and property should pay more than the poor people in small homes. (I include myself in this). In line with that, perhaps a voucher system for the poor to maintain subsidies could be a consideration while the rest of us pay realistic prices for fuel for our vehicles. The subsidies are costing the country too much but, realistically, consideration should be given to the poor. As to taxis and buses, a study to determine what the average income is for the owners might be considered to determine if subsidies for those businesses are necessary. If all concerned come to the table with genuine love of country and realistic financial goals and objectives, the answers can be found and agreed upon for the betterment of all Ecuadorians and expat residents of this beautiful country.

    1. “As to taxis and buses, a study to determine what the average income is for the owners might be considered to determine if subsidies for those businesses are necessary.”
      A free market automatically determines optimal prices vis-a-vis costs.
      “A study to determine…” is another way of saying Central Planning by committee; i.e. socialism/communuism. The historical track record for socialism/communism is pretty nasty.

      1. PG&E happens when you have a public investor owned monopoly providing your electricity. One of the best advertisements for socialism I’ve ever seen.

    2. I am not getting into what is fairer but the more complicated something is, the administration of it is more costly and it easier to cheat. Especially if those administering it do not directly or indirectly get the reward.

  7. With Conaie in his back pocket, Moreno appears to be going after the Correa people with a vengeance. I understand why Rivadeneira is asking for asylum.

    1. He’s been going after Correistas for the past two years. Many are now living in exile with Interpol refusing to honor Moreno’s Red Notice requests because the cases are clearly nothing more than a third-world politician using the legal system to lock up his ideological opponents.

  8. The protesters won! President Moreno was forced to back down. This is a great victory for Ecuador. The people rejected the agenda set by elites, the rich, and bankers. This is what real democracy in the streets looks like, and yes, people put their lives on the line and made great sacrifices to make this happen. There are at least seven dead, over a thousand wounded, and over a thousand arrested.

    1. Thanks. Please continue giving us updates on what is happening here in Ecuador from your cubicle in Oakland.

    2. 18 hours and the decree is still in effect. I don’t know if Moreno backed down or if he’s just buying time.

  9. In the long run, this is bad news for Ecuador…. from here on out, expect civil unrest whenever the next in a series of necessary bitter pills has to be administered.

Comments are closed.