Following weeks of protests over economic austerity measures, the Confederation of Indigenous Nations of Ecuador(CONAIE) last week reached an agreement with the government.
As part of the International Monetary Fund’s ongoing structural adjustment program, the government had removedsubsidies for cooking fuel and gasoline in December. Prices rose dramatically, with public transportation increasingby 75%. The IMF required the measures as a precondition for a $300 million loan to the poverty-stricken country.Already Ecuador has dollarized the economy, imposed wage restraints, and begun the privatization of social securityand the oil and electricity industries.
The Confederation of Indigenous Nations of Ecuador (CONAIE), joined by farmworkers and students, responded by takingto the streets in January.
Beginning with protest marches and road blockades all over the country, 10,000 indigenous people descended on thenation’s capital, Quito, and took over the Polytechnic University. Military troops and police cracked down. At leastfour indigenous people have been killed.
- Stephanie Weinberg, program associate at The Development Gap, and part of the International Secretariat ofthe Civil Society network in SAPRI, Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Initiative.
- Dr. Juan-Fernando Teran, economic consultant with SAPRIN, Structural Adjustment Participatory ReviewInitiative Network.