Developed under the mediation of the Catholic Church, this agreement provides for a total reduction of 15 cents (dollar) in the price of fuel, one of the main demands of the demonstrators, mainly peasants living in the Andean mountains and the Amazonian part of the country.
“We are going to continue the fight, but there, according to the act that we have signed, we are going to suspend the movement” of protest, declared, shortly before affixing his signature to the document, Leonidas Iza, the leader of the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie), spearhead organization of the demonstrations.
“We have achieved the supreme value to which we all aspire: peace in our country. The strike is over. We now begin together the task of transforming this peace into progress, well-being and opportunity for all”, commented on Twitter canning president Guillermo Lasso.
With a total reduction of 15 cents on fuels, the natives finally obtained an additional 5 cents on the 10 cents already granted by the government on Sunday. They demanded since the beginning of their “paro” (strike) a drop of 40 cents. Once the measure is in force, a gallon of diesel will cost 1.80 dollars, for 2.40 a gallon of gasoline.
The agreement provides for the establishment of a negotiation committee, the end of blockades and demonstrations in the country, and the lifting of the state of emergency in force in four provincial regions.
It also provides, respectively, for the repeal and revision of two decrees, the first on the extension of oil exploitation in the Amazon, the second on mining.
– “Strike over!” –
“Only the struggle allowed us to conquer rights! (…). We obtained measures to improve the economic situation, the health and the education of vulnerable families in the countryside and the cities (…).
The indigenous movement officially considers the first stage of
The signing of the document was greeted with cries of joy at the headquarters of the Episcopal Conference in Quito, where the two delegations met on Thursday morning, thanks to the good offices of the Catholic prelates.
After initial discussions on Monday, the executive suspended talks on Tuesday after an attack in the Amazon in which a soldier was killed. On Wednesday evening, he had finally announced his return the following day to the negotiating table, with the mediation of the Church.
Thursday, the government was represented in particular by the Minister of Government Affairs, Francisco Jimenez.
Opposite, three indigenous delegates were present, including the inevitable Leonidas Iza, red poncho and black felt hat on his long braid of straight hair.
Outside, thousands of indigenous people had gathered since the morning, after having once again marched through the center of Quito. After a brief moment of turmoil, the crowd made their way to the buildings serving as their headquarters.
– Fall in oil production –
A few brief concerts of horns were also heard in the city, where many residents, especially in the more affluent northern part, recently expressed their exasperation at the blockades and sometimes the violence of the protesters.
This violence left six dead (a soldier and five demonstrators) and more than 600 injured in eighteen days of mobilization in Quito, but also throughout the country.
Far from the cameras, the Amazon, with its many oil installations, was the other epicenter of the movement whose actions caused the production of black gold, the country’s main export product, to fall by almost half.
The dispute has thus weighed heavily on the country’s economy and on the inhabitants, with a rise in prices and the beginning of food and agricultural shortages.
Past mobilizations of the indigenous movement caused the fall of three presidents between 1997 and 2005. In October 2019, more than a week of protest left eleven dead and ended with an agreement signed with the then president.
President Lasso, elected in May 2021, escaped impeachment on Tuesday, after parliament rejected a motion introduced by the opposition party of former socialist president Rafael Correa (2007-2017).