Cuenca High Life logo

Ecuador News

Moreno declares state of emergency after talks fail to resolve transit strike

President Lenin Moreno declared a national state of emergency Thursday afternoon after talks with national taxi and bus unions failed to reach an agreement. The declaration allows army troops to reinforce police and clear the country’s roadways.

Off duty taxis line a street in Cuenca Thursday.

The president also announced that the country’s schools and universities would be closed Friday, extending Thursday’s closures. The Ministry of Education said it is impossible to resume classes due to the transportation strike.

“In order to safeguard citizen security and avoid chaos, I have established a national state of emergency,” Moreno said from the presidential palace in Quito. “We will insist that the rights of all people are respected and everyone be allowed to return to their normal routine in a safe and secure fashion. We will not tolerate illegal activity.”

Sponsored ad

The emergency declaration will remain in effect for 60 days, Moreno said.

Thursday’s protests followed Moreno’s Tuesday announcement that the subsidy for gasoline and diesel fuel will be eliminated, allowing prices to be set by international market rates. The new prices went into force Thursday.

The nation’s taxi and bus owners began a country-wide strike Thursday morning, blocking major highways and streets in larger towns and cities. There was virtually no taxi or bus service in the country where less than an third of families own a car, preventing hundreds of thousands of workers from reporting to work.

Following Thursday’s talks failure, strike leaders say the work stoppage would continue on Friday.

Political protests were most intense in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca Thursday, with some injuries reported of both protesters and police. Looting and property damage were reported in Guayaquil where 159 were arrested.

In addition to ground transportation disruptions, the strike and protests are affecting air travel in and out of Ecuador. Dozens of international flights to Quito were cancelled due to the transit strike and highway blockages between the airport and city.

During his Thursday comments, Moreno said his decision to eliminate fuel subsidies is irreversible. “It is the correct decision and it is non-negotiable,” he said.

91 thoughts on “Moreno declares state of emergency after talks fail to resolve transit strike

  1. The subsidized ride is over. It has been going on for too long and the government is taking steps to end some of the ongoing and increasing debts of the country. Prices will go up. Adjustments will be made. The residents must support their government, as there is no other way except massive loans putting every man, woman and child deeper in debt personally. Politics of the previous party have done excessive harm and current government has reacted and the people must support it.

    1. Why should the people support an economic plan that has failed in every country where it has been implemented?

            1. Ireland wasn’t a developing country. They got IMF bailout funds to bailout their banking system after they got upside down in the global financial crisis. It’s not analogous to what the IMF does in developing countries.

                1. I specifically said “an economic plan that has failed in every country where it has been implemented”, i.e., the one currently being imposed in Ecuador. The IMF bank bailout in Ireland, one of the most developed countries in the world, is not analogous to the sweeping economic changes they impose on developing countries. I realize you’re desperate for my attention, but if you’re going to insist on playing tedious word games, I’ll be compelled to block this new account just like all your previous accounts that everyone stopped reading.

      1. What economic plan are you reffering too. Reducing the debt? Reducing it by decreases expenditures? Not reducing it by not increasing taxes?

        1. The IMF’s economic plan has failed to reduce the debt or improve the economy in any country where it has been implemented. The result is always the same, massive increases in poverty, a gutting of the middle class, privatized public services and at the end of the day, massive debt. It’s nothing more than a way for international investors to get double-digit returns on their idle capital at the expense of countries who never voted for these policies in the first place (yes, they’re always imposed against the democratic will of the people).

          As it stands now, Moreno has already borrowed more from the IMF in 2 years than Correa borrowed during his entire 11 years in office and the mean interest rate is actually over a percent higher than all of Correa’s loans.

          So what economic plan am I referring too [sic.]? I’m referring to the one that is actually being implemented, not the fantasy straw man you tried to inject into this conversation.

            1. Please try pointing out anywhere I’m wrong with facts. Nobody is impressed by a newly-minted anonymous account trying to score points with pithy one liners.

              1. Don’t let a little fact like Moreno didn’t start by refusing to pay all previous national debt stand in the way of your version though!

    2. Kenyon, I was following your post admiringly under I got to your last sentence. The previous government did amazingly good things for the country. Roads, hospitals, schools, universities…an infrastructure it never had. Countries aren’t private citizens. No one is going to foreclose and take the highways back Beijing or Davos. Correa, with a fine economic training, knew that. The road to ultimate success is not a straight one.

      Time to ask yourself whether you or anyone else on this forum would be here without the Correa borrowing. I passed through Cuenca 30 years ago. You could wait at Park Calderon for a while until a car went by and there wasn’t a highway worthy of the name. I could go on…

      1. The amount of debt, in my mind, does not justify where Ecuador is today. The education efforts are fine, except the average college grad isn’t going into a college level job. Even if he/she does, it doesn’t pay enough to barely get by. The roads are great except when they fail due to poor quality construction or lack of effective maintenance. I travel the roads regularly. Almost no direction or road signs, except within the cities and they are still hard to find. Takes weeks or months to get a crew out to the major problem areas and weeks, at a minimum to fix. Two lane roads are closed for weeks or are impassable due to mud and rocks and deep ruts and being on the edge of a drop off. Traffic laws are not enforced, hit and runs are common, even with death resulting. Technology is here at full steam, but training and education on how to use it and make it work consistently is not. Bus drivers don’t obey the laws and ABUSE the paying passengers, particularly the seniors and women with small children, and cab drivers are mostly ignoring the laws. Motorcycles are a joke, obeying no laws all. Speeding, passing on right and left, running red lights and driving without registrations, to say the least. I think Ecuador is a beautiful country and it has some of the greatest people that I have ever met. But socialism has put this country so far into debt that the low paying jobs, government corruption and a debt of roughly $548,000.00 per person, including every man, women and child (not including interest on these loans) is an ugly way to get these so called benefits to the people. The country was trying too hard to become a 2nd world country. The PEOPLE deserve a better shot at living TODAY but cannot live today in a manner that works for 95% of the people.

        1. “and a debt of roughly $548,000.00 per person, including every man, women and child”

          Ecuador’s debt is not $8.7 trillion dollars. Per capita debt in Ecuador is roughly $3k. Your assertion is off by several orders of magnitude. Does that updated figure in any way change your opinion? How much, exactly, is too much debt?

          And for the record, Ecuador is a “middle income” country per the IMF, WB and UN. I don’t think you understand what “2nd world” means.

          1. Your numbers are much more believable and you didn’t insult. AWESOME. Do your insults mean you have no proof of something and just bark real loud?

  2. This should have happened in the Correa administration, years ago. Leaving it for years has only made it worse to confront now.

      1. He tried to end Ecuador’s dependence on imported cooking gas, gas that had to be subsidized to make it affordable to the average Ecuadorian, imports that made a lot of money for a small group of people in Guayas. The plan was to phase out gas stoves and replace them with induction stoves powered by the electricity being generated by the hydroelectric plants.

        Guillermo Lasso, Jaime Nebot, Salvador Quishpe and the entire corporate media repeatedly cited this as an example of the dictator telling us what we can cook with. The transition to induction stoves was one of the main grievances cited to justify the 2015 protests. Those same people have all gone on record in the past 24 hours stating they are against getting rid of the fuel subsidy.

        This is the level of discourse you get in a country where the whole of the national media is controlled by a few very rich people all using their outlet to advance their own agendas and that of their rich friends. The same individuals can spout the completely opposite arguments and the reporters won’t so much as ask them why they’ve changed their mind. There is no democracy without the media. It’s telling that when Correa was supposedly muzzling the press, they had nothing but criticism every single day. Since they’ve been “free and independent”, they couldn’t find a single thing to criticize or even question about Moreno’s policies. I wonder how long it will take for them to throw him under the bus once he has nothing left to offer them.

        So far today I’ve seen at least a dozen videos on Twitter of police attacking journalists with batons, teargas and fists, peaceful protestors sitting on the ground being run over by police on motorcycles and even police officers taking cameras away from journalists in failed attempts to hide evidence of their actions (apparently they forgot everyone has a camera in their pocket these days). Let’s see how much (if any) of all that footage makes it to TeleAmazonas or Ecuavisa tonight. Granted, it’s not as thrilling as the security camera footage of robberies in cyber cafes and on buses that they show all day every day, but any honest journalist would certainly admit that it’s more newsworthy.

      2. He tried to end Ecuador’s dependence on imported cooking gas, gas that had to be subsidized to make it affordable to the average Ecuadorian, imports that made a lot of money for a small group of people in Guayas. The plan was to phase out gas stoves and replace them with induction stoves powered by the electricity being generated by the hydroelectric plants.

        Guillermo Lasso, Jaime Nebot, Salvador Quishpe and the entire corporate media repeatedly cited this as an example of the dictator telling us what we can cook with. The transition to induction stoves was one of the main grievances cited to justify the 2015 protests. Those same people have all gone on record in the past 24 hours stating they are against getting rid of the fuel subsidy.

        This is the level of discourse you get in a country where the whole of the national media is controlled by a few very rich people all using their outlet to advance their own agendas and that of their rich friends. The same individuals can spout the completely opposite arguments and the reporters won’t so much as ask them why they’ve changed their mind. There is no democracy without the media. It’s telling that when Correa was supposedly muzzling the press, they had nothing but criticism every single day. Since they’ve been “free and independent”, they couldn’t find a single thing to criticize or even question about Moreno’s policies. I wonder how long it will take for them to throw him under the bus once he has nothing left to offer them.

        So far today I’ve seen at least a dozen videos on Twitter of police attacking journalists with batons, teargas and fists, peaceful protestors sitting on the ground being run over by police on motorcycles and even police officers taking cameras away from journalists in failed attempts to hide evidence of their actions (apparently they forgot everyone has a camera in their pocket these days). Let’s see how much (if any) of all that footage makes it to TeleAmazonas or Ecuavisa tonight. Granted, it’s not as thrilling as the security camera footage of robberies in cyber cafes and on buses that they show all day every day, but any honest journalist would certainly admit that it’s more newsworthy.

    1. Correa’s admires Maduro (4 digit inflation), Ortega (can’t drive through Masaya without getting shot), Fernandez (Bonds are worthless), Castro (no infra-structure) and Morales (One of the poorest SA country’s, jungles burning)…It’s no wonder Ecuador is going down especially when Correa over leveraged the country. It will take years to undo all the damage the leftist have done I’m afraid!

      1. In two years Moreno has already borrowed more than twice what Correa did in 10. How is that “undoing” being over leveraged?

    1. That’s how shock capitalism works. Create a crisis then when the public is desperate for a solution, use a compliant media to convince them that yours is the only solution. It’s been like this for half a century. There’s nothing new under the sun.

    2. That’s how shock capitalism works. Create a crisis then when the public is desperate for a solution, use a compliant media to convince them that yours is the only solution. It’s been like this for half a century. There’s nothing new under the sun.

        1. He is creating a narrative that denies clarity. Jason, try to reduce insulting others and try to explain your point. Right now all I hear is blah blah. Say it clearly, say it succinctly, and focus on one point at a time.

        2. I didn’t create the concept of shock capitalism. It’s been around for half a century. You should read a book sometime. Then you wouldn’t be so easily duped as they implement the same economic plan here as they did in Chile … in 1973.

          And for the record, I’m not your dear friend. Just another example of you desperately trying to sell a lie.

      1. Jason, no one has the right to block roads and prevent others from moving on. To suggest that it is acceptable for the public to be destructive when they are not happy is much like tolerating a child throwing a temper tantrum. Then blaming capitalism on it is even more ludicrous. You have been enjoying the benefits of capitalism for years but fail to admit its advantages

        1. Were you saying the same thing about the 2015 protests against Correa?

          I’m talking about shock capitalism, clearly a subject you’ve never heard of. I’ve made many statements about the advantages of capitalism. The fact that you can’t remember only shows how you block out anything you don’t want to hear.

          1. Jason it is not necessary to be insulting. AS long as this site allows you to be nasty your ignorant behaviour is obviously not going to be corrected

            1. You do block out anything you don’t want to hear. If you find that insulting, maybe you should stop doing it.

              BTW, I don’t think “ignorant” means what you think it means. It means “uninformed”, something you’re clearly ignorant of …

              But way to change the subject to your “hurt feelings” again when you couldn’t honestly answer a direct question. I’ve got to hand it to you, your willingness to keep using the same tactic over even after it has made your opinions the laughing stock of the site is admirable. It must be what that last Roman soldier felt like as he continued to fight from the middle of Hannibal’s encirclement at Cannae.

      2. My dear friend Please google “Shock Capitalism” and you will see that NOTHING comes up!! You are a compulsive liar like the orangutan that is ruining the USof A. You can not make up your own facts I’m afraid! But nice try!

  3. Can anyone explain to me why this change in policy is being implemented so abruptly? I do understand it is one of the few belt-tightening options the president can implement without assembly approval, but why the steep costs were not phased in over a set schedule lasting months or even a year or so is puzzling, as this will affect not only large and small businesses, but every individual and family in Ecuador as well, and it affords no one the chance to budget or pre-plan. Can this really be a specific requirement of the IMF loan ? It seems to be done with little or no regard for the immediate and long-term consequences of such a sudden shock to the economy.

    1. I am guessing he, like all politicians, kicked the can down the road until someone said, no more road buddy. Same will happen with the US debt, it will keep growing until the lenders say, get out of here. And then things will go south quickly

      1. But… but…but…The orange menace told everyone that he would eliminate the budget deficit in the U.S. in his first term. Instead, he is presiding over a trillion dollar deficit in his third year. Fortunately, those poor people in the U.S. won’t have to endure him much longer.

        1. If the Democrats would get off their ass and actually work maybe we could lower the debt over here. BTW our economy is booming 3.75% unemployment,. The “orange menace” has been blocked at every turn and all the Democrats are offering is more and more spending for illegals, such as healthcare, housing, etc.

          1. Basically, Pamela, you have your alternative facts wrong and posting incorrect information just destroys your credibility. The latest unemployment rate was 3.5%, not 3.75% and even though I get your point, it just shows that you don’t deal in facts. What is pure distortion is your notion the orange menace has been blocked at every step and that is the democrats fault. What you mean to say is that there is great abhorrence to the orange menace’s policies and those have been resisted.

            Further, what you fail to acknowledge is that the House of Representatives has passed 100 bills that sit on Moscow Mitch McConnell’s desk, where he is even refusing to let the full senate vote on them. What do you say about that?

            https://www.alternet.org/2019/05/mcconnell-sits-on-100-bills-as-the-gop-tries-to-blame-democrats-for-inaction-in-congress/

      2. US debt and instability is the most scary thing hanging over the world now. And with the free ride corps and the top 1% are getting, there is no end in sight on the debt front, either for governments or persons borrowing to hold onto a middle class lifestyle they can no longer afford. :(. Do you see any politician, from either party, even suggesting a higher (aka normal) level of taxes at this juncture? And they need to please the 1% to finance their campaigns.

        What saddens me there also saddens me here. People act as if governments have rationale choices other than taxation to inevitably pay for what they have been given. Moreno might not be my hero, but he didn’t wake one morning and say “HEY! let’s raise taxes and really p*ss off the taxi/bus drivers and get less votes.”

          1. Forgive me but son’t be silly. US voters vote as their oligarchs want them to vote. It is IMPOSSIBLE to even lightly examine that society and surmise otherwise.

                1. The possibility that they may be wrong——- a possibility that I grant————- most certainly doesn’t make them “not bothersome”. They can be both wrong and bothersome.

                  1. They don’t bother me, so I don’t find them bothersome at all. I enjoy seeing wrong posts, that is interesting.

                    1. Then perhaps you should have worded your post differently if you meant that to you they are not bothersome. To me they are both.

                    2. No, I think that as all posts here usually show ones personal opionon. Of course to you they are both but that is obvious and no need to say it twice. No if you said a widely accepted fact, like the world is round, one would know you and many others feel that way without pointing out many feel that way. But it is pretty obvious when a personal opinion is posted without flagging it as such. By the way, this is a personal opionon in case you can’t see that

      3. Ecuador’s debt was 29% of GDP when Moreno assumed office, one of the lowest in the western world. You might want to learn at least the basics of what’s going on here before offering so many “guesses”.

        1. That is funny not a guess but you are just wrong. The percent of GDP is a incorrect way of looking at debt. It is like saying both the line worker and the CEO of Ford should get the same loan as one should use the GDP of Ford. One needs to use disposable income to say how much you can borrow. As Ecuador is very poor, the maximum loan amount is a smaller percent of GDP than those with more disposable income. Do an r squared analysis of the correlation between the 2. Or just let others run things.

          1. 😀 You are right and wrong as you are using false parameters to make a your point. The USA has the most unequal income/wealth distribution among the developed world… putting its GINI between El Salvador and Madagascar, who no one points to as economically powerful. Income inequality hasn’t been as bad there since the 1800s sweat shop era. SO much of the US income is either not taxed or taxed a pittance. Their middle class is borrowing merely to keep up middle class spending they can’t affordm which is pushing them below the poverty line. The younger Americans are graduating with student loans that, at today’s wage levels for graduates, they will not be able to repay in their lifetime, and the life expectancy is dropping.

            Ecuador has a much more hopeful future. Better place to hang out. But if we are all honest with each other, I am preaching to the choir.

            1. We are talking the government loan amount and GDP and disposalable income. No where did I talk about income inequality as it has no bearing on a countries total disposable income

            2. In simplistic terms, the recent college graduate would have more disposable income in a tax payer of higher income was taxed the tuition amount thereby decreasing that person disposable income. So the gross DI remains the same if you are very bored, you can read a link about IMF policy on loaning. You may need to get a MBA to decifer it, a PhD to read between the lines and be a visiting scholar at Cambridge to put it all together. In summary, they say the member countries all have different issues that we feel are important (like social) but we try to keep out of that crap. https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/1998/12/james.htm. This may be easier for you to read but lacks detail, but it is good for the laypersonhttps://www.imf.org/en/About/Factsheets/IMF-Lending.

        2. The acute introduction of harsh economic measures is exactly what shock therapy is . While you used the incorrect word for the second term, you are learning young grasshopper. I will guide you

    2. It’s called the shock doctrine. This is how the IMF’s policies are always implemented. They create chaos, then come in and say they can fix it.

        1. Shock doctrine was the title of the book where it was introduced. You’ve heard of books, haven’t you?

          I’m curious, why are you so desperate for my attention? It’s clear you have nothing to contribute to this conversation, yet you reply to every one of my comments anyway. That’s very strange behavior from an adult.

          1. Now try to be nice. You stated earlier it has been around for 50 years and say the term was introduced in a book published in 2007. I think you should be using a Julian calendar

            1. Correction, it was made popular in the book. The concept has been around since the 1960s. You would know that if you ever read a book.

          2. It’s not just you, Jason, he has done the same with others, but it is clear that he is an attention seeker.

      1. You call an 800 square foot apartment a castle. It’s like you feel compelled to lie about absolutely everything.

      2. Osvaldo, I’m no Correa fan, but you just destroy your own credibility when you make stuff up just to score a point. Can you provide a link that proves either of the two allegations you have made?

          1. Who is the antecedent of “He” and can you present proof that this mystery person actually has the items you claim? If so, so what?

    3. The reduction, and eventual elimination of subsidies was a proviso of the IMF loan, as is the eventual increase of the IVA. As reluctant as officials might be to take these steps, the loan comes in installments, ergo: the government needs to take these steps (more to come), in order keep the spigot on.

    4. OK, I’ll try. The IMF made various things required before additional loans would be made. Ecuador needs the loans (or at least believes that they are a better alternative given possible choices). Viola, sudden increases.

      But, to your point, the sudden increase is horrible in its effects. Imagine the price of diesel more than doubling overnight. If you have a transport business that uses diesel, your expense have greatly increased. Can you raise rates? Maybe. But, maybe not. As I recall, the urban bus companies were trying to get a raise in fares for about 5 years before they got the raise. Ditto, but less burdensome for taxis.

      So no raises for the providers of transport, big problems for them economically. But, if they do get raises, the increased costs will greatly affect consumers of their services.

      Moreno’s government said that local governments will be responsible for possible rate increases. A majority of Cuenca’s “City Council” has said no increases for local buses or taxis. Politically, the raises would kill popular support for the politicians,

      The distortions that the subsidies caused were great.

      Examples, are some people (who could easily take public transport ) buying vehicles (more congestion and pollution). People buying vehicles that used a lot more fuel than would be used by an equally useful vehicle (small car vs. SUV). The smuggling at the borders with Peru and Colombia. And, the list goes on.

      I would have preferred a slow increase to market rate. It would have allowed people to plan and to adjust. It looks like this wasn’t going to be allowed by the IMF. Thus, a mess that affects virtually everyone.

      1. How often do elected officials plan ahead when bad things must be done? Your post is correct by the way.

  4. The Tranvia boondoggle, is and has been, hemoraging large sums of money for years. It will definitely need to be subsidized if it ever comes on line. How long before the IMF says “enough”?

  5. Corporate pressure and the Americans paid off Moreno. Time for him to go.
    Ecuadorians need the oil money more than the corporations.

Comments are closed.