Government Of Ecuador And Indigenous People Sign Agreement To End Protests

The Government of Ecuador and the indigenous movement signed an act this Thursday that put an end to the protests over the cost of living, which includes an agreement where the Executive partially accepts the demands that motivated a mobilization that lasted 18 days.

The agreement was achieved thanks to the mediation of the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference, which held talks with both parties until reaching various concessions by the Government, accepted by the indigenous movement to announce the end of the demonstrations.

The signing was in danger at times when part of the members of the indigenous movement disagreed with the points accepted by their leaders, which caused the act to be suspended for about an hour until there was finally consensus and the document was signed.

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The most controversial point among the indigenous people was the reduction of 15 cents on the dollar for subsidized fuels, since their original demand was 40 cents.

To this was added the government’s commitment to repeal a decree that promoted oil activity in the Amazon and to stop mining concessions in protected natural areas, intangible zones, water recharge areas and ancestral territories of indigenous peoples.

The Executive had also approved in previous days to forgive peasant families overdue debts of up to 3,000 dollars, reduce interest on current loans, subsidize up to 50% the cost of urea, increase from 50 to 55 dollars a bonus for families in vulnerability, double the budget for intercultural education and declare the health system an emergency.

The rest of the ten points of the list of demands of the indigenous movement will be dealt with in working groups, such as the forgiveness of debts of up to 10,000 dollars, the control of prices of basic necessities and the non-privatization of state companies.

In exchange for the cessation of the protests, the Government promised to repeal the new state of exception decreed on Wednesday in four provinces of the country where several episodes of violence and shortages of essential products such as fuel and medical oxygen were concentrated.

90-day term

The act was signed on behalf of the Executive by the Minister of Government, Francisco Jiménez, and on behalf of the indigenous movement by Leonidas Iza, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie).

It was also signed by the presidents of the National Confederation of Peasant, Indigenous and Black Organizations (Fenocin), Gary Espinoza, and the Council of Evangelical Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of Ecuador (Feine), Eustaquio Toala.

“We have made mistakes because many times our attitude is violent, but that does not mean that we will always have that attitude. (…) Both parties have made mistakes, but it is courageous to admit mistakes,” said Toala.

In turn, Iza admitted that the act does not include all the demands, but highlighted that it has “important achievements”, while asking that there be no criminalization in the Justice against the participants in the protests.

“Enough of continuing to stigmatize and ‘racialize’ the social fighters. Enough of calling us terrorists,” added Iza, who warned that they will call again for mobilizations if they do not see the agreement fulfilled in 90 days.

The protests began on Monday, June 13, and left a balance of 6 dead, including a soldier, and around 500 injured among protesters and agents.

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