Ecuador indigenous groups, workers keep pressure on Moreno

  • 22:24 05 October 2019

Ecuador indigenous groups, workers keep pressure on Moreno

Ecuadorean indigenous and union organizations kept protests going on Saturday and promised no let-up in their push to overturn austerity measures by President Lenin Moreno’s government that have convulsed the nation for three days, APA reports quoting Reuters.

Demonstrations had been turning violent and shaping into a major challenge for Moreno, who won election in 2017 and has set his oil-producing nation on a centrist track after years of socialist rule under predecessor Rafael Correa.

But he got a reprieve on Friday when transport unions called off their strike after paralyzing roads for two days in opposition to the end of fuel subsidies.

Indigenous groups, however, continued on Saturday to block some roads around the Andean nation of 17 million people.

“The indigenous movement is mobilizing indefinitely in the whole country,” Jaime Vargas, president of the CONAIE umbrella indigenous group, told Reuters.

“With or without jail, our resolve is firm.”

Moreno, 66, has declared a two-month state of emergency and authorities have arrested 379 people after protesters set up burning barricades and hurled stones at police on Thursday and Friday during Ecuador’s worst unrest for years.

Struggling with a large foreign debt and fiscal deficit, Moreno’s government recently reached a three-year, $4.2 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), contingent on belt-tightening economic reforms.

As well as ending fuel subsidies, the government is reducing the state workforce and planning some privatizations. Moreno says the fuel subsidies, in place for four decades, had distorted the economy and cost $60 billion.