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Thousands join national strike in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca; Gov’t increases urban bus fare 10 cents to restart public transit

University of Cuenca students march across the Rio Tomebamba toward El Centro this morning. (El Tiempo)

Wednesday’s national strike has brought out the largest protest crowds yet in the week-long reaction to the government’s labor reforms. The strike coincides with the Guayaquil independence national holiday.

An estimated 40,000 marched in several locations in Quito, half of them part of a massive indigenous and peasant march that arrived in the city on Tuesday afternoon. Although the main march into the historic district was relatively peaceful, other protests around the city resulted in clashes with police and widespread vandalism.

Labor unions joined indigenous groups Wednesday in Quito protests. (El Comercio)

In Cuenca, four marches of labor groups and college students converged in the historic district at late morning. By noon, police responded to rock-throwing protesters with tear gas. By mid-afternoon, police forced protesters away from barricades on Sucre and Simon Bolivar on the east side of Parque Calderon. Some vandalism was reported.

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In both Quito and Cuenca, city buses and taxis remained idle. In Cuenca, the taxi union claimed it was too dangerous for drivers to work and members continue to insist that the government roll-back gasoline prices.

In an effort to get urban buses back on the streets, the federal government said bus companies and cooperatives could increase fares by as much as 10 cents. In making the announcement, the National Transit Agency (ANT) said it was pre-empting municipal authority to set higher fares due to the national emergency. The ANT said that bus companies could increase fares up to 40 cents.

By 4 p.m., there was no response to the offer from bus owners and it was unclear if the fare hike allowance would put buses back on city streets.

In other strike news, President Lenin Moreno returned to Quito from his temporary government headquarters in Guayaquil, saying the crisis in Quito demanded his attention.

Earlier, the government announced that the United Nations and Catholic church were hosting discussions with protesting unions and organizations in hopes of ending the conflict.

59 thoughts on “Thousands join national strike in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca; Gov’t increases urban bus fare 10 cents to restart public transit

        1. “Freedom under the rule of Law”. What a convenient contradiction. In Canada there are hate laws which pretty much outlaws freedom of speech and freedom of thought. You are not even allowed to say that there are only two genders. Hmmmm, I think there was more freedom when Ecuador was tied to Spain. So much for Independence.

          1. You are kidding right?

            Canada has laws against the promotion of ethnic, religious or racial hate either publicly and in schools to our children. We also still have civil libel/defamation laws creating actions against unfounded insult, lying and slander. We do not believe that free speech includes protection for “fake news”.

            America, de facto, allows and even celebrates such things. A glance at any US forum and many prominente is an lesson in eye-popping hate. Democracy cannot exist without an uninhibited exchange of ideas. THAT is what freedom of speech was meant to be. Without dialogue, it democracy runs afoul and dies. Merely use your eyes and ears. It the USA, the uglies grab the podium and those with better instincts retreat and hide. Even here.

            1. Rules for Radicals is the order of the day in any US fake discourse: disrupt and recharge anything you dont agree with. Saul Alinky’s book is HRC’s manual for destruction of the system of Govt, constitution, anything else they want to take down. O and the book was dedicated to Lucifer; many more of them than anyone will admit..

  1. Maybe, if Rafael Correa is re-elected, he will stop abortion once again. . . . A nation which murders its own children is not worthy of economic stability..

        1. Its not murder to them but a sacrifice to their idol: SELF. Completely impossible to argue with the opinion that worships SELF

  2. Transnational crime groups operating in Esmeraldas province have engaged in violent crime and killed local citizens in addition to carrying out bombings targeting Ecuadorian military and law enforcement .
    The U.S. government is limited in its ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the Colombian border area, as U.S. government personnel cannot travel to the provinces of Esmeraldas, Carchi, and Sucumbíos without permission from the Embassy’s security office. However, U.S. government personnel are permitted to travel to the northern bank of the Napo River in Sucumbíos, an area approximately four miles wide, and the portion of Esmeraldas province that is south of Esmeraldas city.

    1. Wait until things start collapsing… all the Expat U.S. haters (we all know who they are), will be demanding embassy assistance and priorities, based simply, on the fact that they are “U.S. citizens”..we’ve seen it time and time again around the world…why should Ecuador be any different?

      Somewhere along the line, the “revolutionaries” will convince the relatively uneducated “victims” that the U.S. and the IMF (also invalidly vilified), are the same.

      The experts out on this site, and there are several of them, will advise differently. They are whistling through the graveyard.

      1. Wow. Good comment. This also applies to a certain Canadian who I believe said he was out of the country right now..

        1. I think I know of the all-knowing globetrotting Canadian that you are making reference to….although I do not concern myself with his comings and goings.

  3. The country side is suffering greatly. There are many with no propane used for cooking, the ability to get medical treatment is impossible and some homes are getting low on food. Many of the locals catch a bus and work in Cuenca and the week of not being able to work is limiting their ability to pay their bills. Why is the government addressing this disaster?

    1. The countryside is NOT suffering greatly. We live in the countryside. Every family here has lots of chickens, most of them also cows, goats, pigs, guinea pigs, etc. They all grow their own vegetables. Although most major highways are blocked / barricaded here with dirt and rocks, we went to town with a motorcycle without any problem, the people who are attending the barricades helped us push the motorcycle through. They are all very nice. To get medical treatment is also not a problem, ambulances, firetrucks and even food delivery trucks are allowed to pass the barricades. Anybody can go to the little tiendas here to pick up propane tanks and they are good to cook with for about a couple of months. Besides, people in Ecuador know very well how to cook with sticks and wood. Under circumstances like these people in the countryside have it much better than people in the cities! I can tell, you know nothing about survival. Please DO NOT spread un-truth!

      1. Brenda has been taught from birth that ANY country that is not America is “suffering greatly”.

      2. Brenda and Okoska: ditto for me. I grow all of what you say above, and we’re all eating well out here. I may have gained 3 pounds in the last few days. Plus, our neighbors are helping each other. Please try not to make sweeping statements.
        Thank the Good Lord we have plentiful local food and water.

  4. So, what exactly does the U.N. and Catholic church bring to the table that brings a solution to the problem? Answer: Nada
    The fact that the government made the announcement about the U.N. and church intervention, leads me to believe that the government’s only solution is to shame the good people of Ecuador into submission.

    1. Yes, what a joke. Did the Church have a say when Moreno’s government recently introduced same-sex marriage and abortion? The United Nations might have a say but not the Catholic Church.

    2. If you take out a loan in the U.S. (and the rest of the world for that matter), if it’s for a car, and you don’t pay according to the terms of the loan, the car can be repossessed. Same thing on a home loan… first comes a lean, then an eviction. That’s what is going on here: Ecuador goes to the IMF with hat in hand, looking for a loan, and the IMF writes provisions into the loan in order to assure Ecuador’s ability to repay it. Then, in the face of having to comply with the provisions of the loan, (which Ecuador agreed to) and then there is a backlash from the voting citizenry, the government turns around and points the finger at the IMF, when it is actually Ecuador’s fiscal irresponsibility that started the whole process to begin with. Them’s the facts, and wishing upon wish, and wordsmithing aren’t going to change them. The U.S., Trump, the IMF, the World Bank, et. al…….. have nothing to do with the issue.

      The only thing that Ecuadorian people are victims of, is electing the wrong people to represent them.

        1. Unlikely…. I am familiar with the “Hit Man’s” story…. a very entertaining one that he cashed in on about 15 years ago.

      1. Toby, I don’t disagree with 90% of your reply. However, and even as a retired banker of 35 years, I don’t have a clue as to how your reply relates to my comment. But that’s ok.
        The 10% of your reply that I don’t “totally” agree with, is your part about “The only thing that Ecuadorian people are victims of, is electing the wrong people to represent them.” I agree that Ecuadorians are victims, but to say that is due to only one thing is too shallow. In my opinion, as with most impoverished nations, the people are victims of the lack of education. Poor people fall prey to the “hope and a prayer” presentations at every turn, and that is the extent of it.

        1. Good point…. a real leap in logic on my part. Somewhere, I should have thrown in the word “unwitting” when referring to the Ecuadorians that keep voting these people in….

          But, nonetheless, the Church and the UN are now going to hop in and “unwind” the unreasonable terms of the IMF loan? The end game is that the principal backers of the IMF (that would be you, me, and the rest of our fellow Americans), will get left holding the bag, while Christine Legarde takes private jets (paid for by us) all over the world, in order to attend elegant cocktail parties.

          1. Great take, Toby. Do you really think there will be an “unwind”? Obviously, that would confirm the incompetence of all parties to the original agreed upon terms. Pathetic!

            1. I can’t say because I don’t have any unique insight. I do think, however, if there is an unwind, in the long run, it would be an injustice to Ecuador in the Ecuadorian people.

              1. “The unwind” by Toby: What can I say, dude, you called it. And now how about going to Las Vegas with me, to once again, put your intuition to a more meaningful purpose? Lol. Great call, Toby.
                And for the record, how many of the “know it all” liberals on this site are recognizing you? Lol.

      2. Neoliberalism is not a self-evident law of nature, whereby any loan you secure with your little all can in fact justify taking away your little all, only provided it is in accordance with what you signed. That it is just to enforce such a contract is controversial and always has been. Ruled out in the Mosaic Law, isn’t it?

          1. The idea that people can always be held to whatever they sign, is controversial. As you know, people can sign under pressure. They can sign what is not fair. They can sign without understanding their options. They can sign in desperation. For these reasons, legal entities including among others Almighty God, have stated there are unenforceable contracts. Re Almighty God on this, see Deuteronomy 24:12 and similar citations, e.g., re the poor man and the cloak that keeps him warm, and sanctions on the man who views it as his own due to a pledge. Almighty God critiques that. Also see, the man who pledges his inheritance. Following objections by God, people attentive to His views were hesitant to enforce contracts that take from a man what he needs, until nineteenth century liberalism brought this back into fashion. Nineteenth century liberalism feels “obvious” to people brought up to believe in it. But it is not actually eternal wisdom. It is controversial and it always has been. Interestingly, see story re Daniel Webster advocating legally to get people’s signed-away souls back from the Devil. Such stories imo signify the doubts people had re the liberal view of contractual rights. Webster is a lawyer and accepts the rules, but by the end of the argument, the poor man has recovered what he signed away and the Devil who tried to enforce the contract for it has encountered negative consequences per his own rules. The story is a reflection on how to balance these issues, imo.

  5. The subsidies are the problem. People demand too much stuff for free or at subsidized costs which leads to low self esteem. these people believe that they are so incompetent they cannot make it on their own, and are thus entitled to the work of their slaves. Nothing comes for free, those subsidies are payed for by the remainder of the citizens. As the bus drivers, taxi drivers and students inherently are saying that we are entitled to your labor, i.e. you are our slaves. I do not aspire to be the slave of loathsome students, bus drivers or taxi drivers,, just because their lives are not economically viable, i.e. they cannot provide goods or services which society values. It;s time hey grow up and take responsibility for their own lives.

    1. The government doesn’t actually subsidize fuel cost. It simply pays PetroEcuador (owned by the Ecuadorian government) the difference between the domestic price and what they could have gotten for it on the international market, and because all of PetroEcuador’s profits go right back into the national treasury, it’s really nothing more than an accounting maneuver. (someone smart posted this somewhere else and I wholeheartedly agree with him)

      1. Uhhh…. If I charge less for a commodity, than I can get for it on the open market… and codify it, that would be a discount….in other words, a subsidy. You and “someone smart” are putting lipstick on the pig.

      1. anything Govt provided absolutely Free is bad. I have no problem with paying some amount for education in the U.S. If parents had a monetary interest perhaps discipline could be restored in schools.

        1. I agree with you and I was afraid to say it as universal education is a given in our world. But I don’t think it should be free, either.

        2. I do differentiate the two. Education does benefit society so I am ok with the state paying for a certain amount. Healthcare benefits society at times but often does not, it only benefits the individual. So the individual should pay.

          1. However, when education turns out to be Communist brainwashing as it is in Canada, who does it benefit?

            1. No matter if I agree with your brain washing comment or say that saying the pledge of allegiance is the brainwashing, both are a small part of what is taught. Schools spend much of the time on Reading writing and arithmetic, which benefits society.

    2. Isn’t that what socialism is all about?…a bunch of free stuff for everyone..but at what cost?

      While none of them will get elected (this go-round)….. we have 10 Democrat candidates in the US running for President, all promising the same kind of unworkable programs.

      1. Toby, once again you are living in a Cold War world of your own creation. ALL the countries with the highest standard of living are socialist and have programs that go FAR beyond anything any candidate in the USA has proposed. If all the programs offered and enacted, the USA will only be where we all were 50 years ago. It took that long for America to drop to the bottom of the developed world barrel (and it is still dropping further). Only a massive united effort can turn the country around. Your type on CuencaHighLife has shown me that is not possible. Even dialogue is impossible.

        I cannot express adequately how badly I feel about that.

        1. You are very funny. If dialogue is impossible, why did you respond barking dog? I responded to your post to help you. No need to thank me

        2. All the countries with the highest standard of living are dependent on the US military to protect them from a big bad world while they spend their own budgets on excellent social insurance. The US can’t take up that model.

  6. You know, I totally understand the down arrows to the abortion question. I was in a knitting group, once, and all the members (mostly senior ladies) were Marxist brain-washed and believed that murdering your own children was good. It made me think that all the Gringos in Cuenca were Marxists. Glad to see that there is one up-arrow.

    1. Yes but it seems to be a male who gave you that up arrow. When you think of it, that is VERY creepy.

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