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As political crisis deepens, Moreno relocates to Guayaquil and blames violence on Correa

President Lenin Moreno, backed by Ecuador’s military brass, during Monday night’s television address.

President Lenin Moreno flew to Guayaquil Monday afternoon, saying he needed to be closer to Ecuador’s military command to best manage the country’s political crisis.

Thousands of indigenous marchers are expected to arrive in Quito on Tuesday. (El Comercio)

In a television address, the president again offered to talk with protesters although he insisted again that he would not “take back” the economic reforms he announced a week ago. He added that protesters engaged in illegal activity will not be tolerated. “My primary objective is to protect the safety and integrity of citizens of Ecuador,” he said. “In the current dispute, violence and chaos will not win.”

Moreno delivered his comments flanked by Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner and Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrín with top military commanders standing behind him.

Moreno also attacked what he called “devious political intentions” to destabilize the government, blaming former president Rafael Correa and his supporters. “It is no coincidence that Correa, Virgilio Hernández, [Ricardo] Patiño and [Paola] Pabón traveled to Venezuela at the same time a few weeks ago,” he said. “This is Correa’s destabilization plan but it will not succeed.”

Moreno’s claim of a secret Venezuelan meeting was called “hysterical” by Patiño, foreign minister under Correa.

As of Monday night, most of the country’s major highways remain blocked by indigenous and peasant protesters. In several cities, including Cuenca, public transportation has been suspended.

Cuenca Mayor Pedro Palacio

In a Tuesday morning radio interview, Cuenca Mayor Pedro Palacios said that all major roads into and out of Cuenca are blocked. “We are in the same situation as almost all other cities in the country and this will cause delivery problems for basic goods, such as food and fuel. For critical items, such as medicine, they can be delivered by air but this is only a partial solution.”

In answer to a call-in question about security, Palacios said that he has no authority with the national police, which are under the direction of the Ministry of the Interior. “The city only has control of the Citizen Guard but, as you know, these officers are not armed.”

He added that the collection of garbage has been temporarily suspended.

Monday afternoon saw a new wave of protests in Cuenca’s historic district as taxi and bus owners and their supporters marched up Simon Bolivar and around the barricaded Parque Calderon. Like local transportation unions in other cities, Cuenca transit unions announced the suspension of bus and taxi service late in the morning, demanding that the federal government reverse the fuel price increases announced last week.

National police used armored vehicles to fire tear gas was fired in several locations in several locations, including at Padre Aguirre and Bolivar and Sucre and Borrero.

Nationwide, efforts to clear highways have made little progress, Defense Minister Jarrín admitted Monday afternoon. “We are making progress but new blockages are being erected as fast as we take others down,” he said.

The ministry said that 3,000 army troops have been deployed to Cuenca and Azogues, with 2,000 expected in Cuenca by late afternoon.

In Quito, President Lenin Moreno repeated his offer to engage in discussions with indigenous and peasant organizations but the offer has been repeatedly refused. The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie) says that 20,000 indigenous marchers will arrive in Quito on Tuesday morning to conduct peaceful protests.

How to keep up with events

Several talk radio stations in Cuenca are providing frequent reports on political protests, road closings and public announcement. The most comprehensive coverage is on La Voz del Tomebamba, 1070 AM and 102.1 FM. The station’s Facebook page offers frequent posts but the station warns that some of the information is incorrect. Posts are in Spanish but can be translated to English.

77 thoughts on “As political crisis deepens, Moreno relocates to Guayaquil and blames violence on Correa

  1. Things will not get any better until they get rid of the criminal corrupt government. Nothing but lying scumbags.

      1. That’s the case where they first accused Correa of receiving millions in bribes, only to later reduce the charge to getting a $6k loan that documentation showed was paid back in 12 monthly installments of $500. The hearing isn’t scheduled for tomorrow. This is only the pretrial hearing to determine whether or not they can even press charges. Given that the judge is Daniela Camacho, she’ll say yes despite the fact that there’s no evidence a crime even took place, let alone that Correa and Glas were involved.

        But it won’t happen because Quito is completely shut down.

        1. a 6k no interest loan that was reimbursed. OFF WITH HIS HEAD.

          P.S. …er….How much did he make off his inauguration celebrations?

    1. Yeah, just like all those lying scumbag democrats trying desperately to get rid of TRUMP and his brave supporters. Sad, real sad! That is what you meant right?

    2. The corruption is from the bottom up! You can point fingers as much as you want. The government is broke and the people cheat on everything. Somebody has to pay the piper.

      1. 😉 Ah yes. Moreno should have rejected the IMF bailout and let the country go bankrupt early this year. That would have sent everyone of us here scrambling for exits. There are never perfect solutions these days. There are merely choices between bad and less bad. Moreno is no rocket scientist.

        As for corruption, South America has been corrupt from the bottom up since we European-derived types arrived as Saniards. It is may be officially criminal but it is part of the cultural heritage and that is more significant. Would it be more soothing if Ecuadorian corruption was legalized as American corruption is?

        1. Corruption, Acknowledgment is all I am pointed Towards. I don’t even want to think about America, that’s in my rearview mirror.

    3. I undersand now. My message is, stop marching to Quito and dig in the earth and grow hemp. It’s a strong protein to feed everyone, and had the ability to replace plastics. It can save Ecuador if we go to replace the oil and gas that is causing this unrest and wasting people’s time from productive work. Meanwhile the oil damages the earth when extracted, and gas obviously pollutes the atmosphere. Aren’t the governments elsewhere, like Brazil using substitutes for years for cars to run?

  2. The indigenous orgs and unions don’t have the power they once had, back when they were able to bring down the govts. of Bucaram, Borja, Mahuad, etc. They tried it against Correa and failed and they will fail against Lenin. The public will get tired of the shakedowns at the roadblocks and the thugs throwing rocks and looting stores. It may look bad now but it will be over in a week or two.

    1. I certainly hope youre right but moreno and co. need to manUP and stand against the imf dictates which are stupid at best, ridiculous self destruction at worst…..

      1. Why would they stand up against the IMF when they’re the ones who brought them in in the first place?

    2. I agree. I was out and amongst the protesters this afternoon. Earlier, it was the taxi drivers and the students and they were well behaved. But later, it was mostly the rock-throwing thugs. I say let the army deal with them. The movement has lost its mojo.

    3. They tried it against Correa and failed because while the leadership wanted to bring him down, Correa got 80% of the indigenous vote.

    4. Excuse me, but you are mistaken about “bringing down the government of Borja”. Rodrigo Borja was probably one of the last good presidents ( August 10, 1988 to August 10, 1992) of the past 30 years and the only government that was peaceful, Google him….you missed Gutierrez, Alarcon, and Rosalia Arteaga who was president for all of 3 days in February of 1997….

    5. Borja was an honest and dignified president…why do you include him with the likes of Bucaram???? Read up about him in Google: RODRIGO BORJA. He is one of few presidents in the last 30 years that had a stable presidency, but at the time, second terms were not allowed in the constitution.

  3. The IMF sold out govts of the world need to get gone! Here in EC the IMF puppets have destroyed any chance of foreign investments ! Thanks alot sell outs!

  4. demanding that the federal government reverse the fuel price increases announced last week.

    Just to clear things up, the fuel prices are lower because of the government subsidies, so they didn’t actually increase the price of gas. Where I live, in Canada, we actually pay more than what the gas is worth, due to heavy taxation.

    1. That’s right. I wonder how much the government could save if they ended the subsidy on LPG. That’s a big subsidy per bottle.

      1. Correa tried to do that by replacing kitchens with induction stoves powered by all that electricity from the hydroelectric plants. It was one of the main grievances cited in the 2015 protests, just another sign of the dictator telling us how we have to cook.

        1. Correa is not a player in the current dispute.I for one am willing to pay more for a tank of propane to subsidize the POOR, not the rich, Ecuatorianos .

            1. I read an article recently that suggested eliminating the LPG subsidy and giving a free bottle monthly to people making less than 125% of the minimum wage. I haven’t thought that through but it seems to be a seed to a good idea.

        2. Wasn’t this most likely due to the Chinese building the hydroelectric dams? The Chinese wanted a return on their investment. Ecuador sold one hydroelectric dam to the Chinese already.

          1. Ecuador didn’t sell any dam to China or anyone else. Not sure where you are getting this misinformation.

      2. That’s coming up in the not-too-distant future (reduction of subsidies on Propane Canisters)……. and many more “protest-able” issues as well, and the government will try to spin it so it is the IMF’s fault, which, most of the liberal expat lefties will gobble up with a spoon. Meanwhile, the “Golden Egg Laying Goose (tourism and expat relocation to Ecuador)” will gradually die off, kind of like a repeat of what we’ve seen before, across the globe.

        1. You are absolutely right. Dealing with the Lefties will never change: they only believe what they believe in and hear. Many of US do not have our spoons promised to socialism. My mother taught me this great Idea: believe NONE of what you hear and maybe 50% or what you see. Has worked well for me as it has allowed me to be able to THINK. Hatred of other rules society/democrats today. They don’t think, they just follow the non thinkers.

      3. I think it was Lucio Gutierrez who tried that, and he got booted out of the presidency for attempting to revoke the newly appointed Supreme Court of Justice….massive riots ensued, and he tried to flee on a helicopter, but it wouldn’t take off, then he sought asylum in the Brazilian Ambassador’s house, then tried to leave thru the airport and was stopped by protesters. He eventually was pardoned and ran for re-election, only to be beaten by none other than Rafael Correa. Ecuador certainly has a political history worthy of “soap operas’ best screenplay”…

    2. They don’t actually subsidize anything. The government pays PetroEcuador the difference between the domestic price and what they could have gotten for it on the international market, but since all of PetroEcuador’s profits go right back into the national treasury, it’s really nothing more than an accounting maneuver. The result of ending the subsidy will be that Ecuadorians consume less fuel which will then be sold on the international market, making money for those invested in its distribution. Of course the result domestically will be that everything costs more, consumer spending will seize up and the economy will grind to a halt, thereby making it impossible to maintain dollarization or pay back the IMF loans. Say goodbye to the dollar and hello to a new currency that they can devalue every other week.

      1. If this new currency comes into existence, and has no value other than using as toilet paper, I suggest we put your picture on this currency

        1. “His face on toilet paper” THAT WAS UGLY, even for an American.

          Not so simple.

          Do both of you imagine that Ecuador’s international lenders did NOT designate the currency of repayment as is customary in all such loans? (tsk!) Running to a new “constantly devalued” sucre means they will be constantly devaluing their own revenue, needed to pay off the loans therefore making the repayment of those loans even MORE difficult. So Ecuador would also have to renege on its international loans (again). Additionally, the currently circulating currency (USD) would be dumped on the open world market. And, at this juncture, the entire planet is nervous about the USD.

          On the other hand, the desperation move running to USD was always unfortunate, IMHO. One cannot consider a nation to be de facto sovereign without is own currency and control of monetary policy. Instead, Ecuador puts it fear behind a currency without responsible controls upon it. The US is flooding the world with dollars that are becoming ever less real in any sense.

          1. Ugly, i just want him on the currency and then you call him ugly. LOL. And any thinking person knows that governments use fiat currency to control things.

            1. Read the message disqus. I was responding to YOU. Mores the pity as your comments indicate you do not have a knowledge of monetary economics. Can you explain how Ecuador issues its own fiat currency at the moment…whether it has the face of anyone disagreeing with you or not?

              1. I know you did and you called him ugly. Are you one of them loser Brits that can’t even leave the EU or a citizen of the 51st state?

                1. ndG, You’re very new here. Are you this way with every new crowd you meet?

                  A cautionary piece of advice, be careful in Cuenca, or for that matter, everywhere in the world. I’d hate to see the reaction if you treat all new crowds you meet as you have acted here. Or are you only this way on forums?
                  No. I am not a citizen of the EU or any “51st state”. (I thought there were only 50). In any event, the only important citizenship characteristic here is whether 1. you’re American 2. you’re not. Let me guess……

                  1. He’s not new. His screen name is new. He had to create a new one because so many people blocked the last one and he’s desperate for human interaction.

      2. Thanks for your post. If it is possible, could you please point to the source confirming your explanation?

        1. No. If you want to understand how PetroEcuador and the nationalized oil system works, you’d have to read more than a webpage.

    3. A rational response at last! And why are so many expat s interfering in the government of the country in which they live? Most of us can afford a little.more to support the people and economy of this amazing country.

      1. Wonderful topic though, politiics. I just read an analysis on the differences between Canada and the USA. One of which was that Canadians LOVE talking politics, ours ,yours, anyone’s. In America, politics is far more taboo.

        Frankly, I cannot speak about Ecuadorians in this regard. I have had many discussions with them without anyone getting hysterical (as we often do here). But I also don’t see a Cannuck-type delight in it in the locals when it comes to politics. If you want to see incredible passion in political debate, drop in to any tabagie-bar in France. Take any stool at the bar. Prepare to shout.

      2. And the expats you are referring to can vote in Ecuador elections.

        The message to Ecuadorians should be: “Be afraid. Be very afraid!”

        1. No. I won’t say that. The flawed democracy ( that Ecuador is newish. They have 500 years of regimes where the most traditional democratic expression here is/was such protests. Not totally unhealthy. I am reminded of the (Boston Tea Party which was considerably more destructive. They are not about to change their heritage in a decade, even though they have a immense majority of the electorate,

          Culture/heritage, unless actively addressed for 40-60 years of re-education, always trumps reality and logic. In this case, the protests don’t make much sense as Ecuador is enough of a democracy that the majority demographic should be in control and yet the majority is the very people protesting!

          History shows that unless the majority FEEL they are in control (in a democracy) protests inevitably become revolutions. Perhaps they will figure that out before they start break their own windows or burning their own taxis.

        1. But Lucilla, Aren’t you a refugee? or are you a native Ecuadorian? Most of the expats here seem to be economic refugees…

      3. “Expats interfering in the government of the country in which they live?”

        I get so tired of that crap. As a CITIZEN of Ecuador and someone who expatted decades ago, I’m not interfering, I’m participating in the politics of MY country. This is no less true for the guy that recently got off the boat but has legal residence with a permanent residency and a cedula.

        Please take your misplaced virtue signaling elsewhere.

  5. “In Quito, President Lenin Moreno repeated his offer to engage in
    discussions with indigenous and peasant organizations but the offer has
    been repeatedly refused.”

    Why would they bother engaging in discussions when he just went on national tv and said his position is non-negotiable?

  6. Blaming the protests on Correa is laughable. The indigenous groups leading the protests, CONAIE and Pachakutik, are both anti-Correa. The leader of the national taxi union described himself as anti-Correa. He talked about forming a new left-wing party separate from the Correistas. This is a bottom up revolt against President Moreno’s policy shift. Conspiracy theories are garbage.

    1. Agreed. But blaming the present situation governmentally on Moreno is unfair as well. Real economic effects take years to manifest themselves and they play out. Moreno inherited the country Correa gave him…just like Trump inherited the economy Obama gave him. To condemn Moreno wholly is as ridiculous as crediting Trump with any beneficial effect he keeps stealing credit for. Takes a minimum of 2-3 years for policies to take effect.
      So the problem is NOT Moreno’s doing..though that says NOTHING about the way he is handling it. At his start, the original Correa did better with worse.

  7. President of Conaie, Jaime Vargas was on CNN en Español last night and said the protests had been infiltrated by correistas.

      1. I also see that Vargas added photos of Correa and others to that tweet in which he labels them “opportunists”.

  8. My Spanish teacher told me only 2 countries in SA subsidize gas; Venezuela and Ecuador. My husband worked in Venezuela many years ago when gas cost 8 cents a gallon, and when Chavez tried to increase the price the people were furious and rebelled.

  9. Pathetic. Moreno’s only defense is to blame Correa. Moreno bought this mess by signing on with IMF. As far as the protesters being Correistas, the indigenous gang marching to Quito is the same one that wanted to force Correa out in ’15. I’m not sure of their motives but it’s certainly to bring Correa back to power.

  10. What IDIOT raises Gasoline by 100%…what did they expect would happen. Ecuador is one of the most revolutionary countries in S.A. when it comes to getting rid of Presidents. Expats should know this. Moreno is an idiot, he knew what would happen.

    1. Diesel was raised 1.30 from what it was before, but Ecopais “only” went up 54 CENTS on the gallon…I filled my tank today. But I agree that the diesel price is too much right off the bat. Nonetheless, Ecuador has a history of rioting whenever they are pushed to any kind of economic change they think will affect their wallets. Just like anybody else, I suppose….

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