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Ecuador: Government and indigenous people agree to end protests

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The government of Ecuador and the indigenous organizations reached an agreement to lift the protests that have been going on for 18 daysafter the government promised to repeal the state of emergency, lower the price of subsidized fuels by 15 cents and no longer grant mining concessions in natural reserves, intangible zones, water recharge areas and indigenous territories.

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The protests have left six dead, including a soldier, and some 500 injured among protesters and security forces.

The agreements reached were announced at a ceremony at the headquarters of the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference, which acted as a mediator between the two parties to resume a dialogue that had begun on Monday but that the Government broke off on Tuesday after the death of a soldier in a confrontation between demonstrators and security forces.

As of this commitment, 85-octane gasoline will cost US$2.40 per gallon (3.78 liters) and diesel US$1.75, despite the fact that the indigenous movement demanded that it be reduced to US$2.10 and US$ 1.50, respectively, prices similar to those of a year ago.

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The final agreement supposes an additional reduction of five cents of a dollar per gallon to the reduction of ten cents already announced by the Ecuadorian president, Guillermo Lasso, last Sunday night.

Before this commitment, the Government had already partially granted other demands of the indigenous movement, such as the repeal of Decree 95, which promoted oil activity in the Amazon.

Other commitments

It had also approved forgiving peasant families overdue debts of up to US$3,000, reducing interest on current loans, subsidizing the cost of urea by up to 50%, increasing a bond for vulnerable families from US$50 to US$55. , 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 US$10,000, the price control 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 emergency decreed on Wednesday in four provinces of the country where several episodes of violence and shortages of basic necessities such as fuel and medical oxygen were concentrated.

The Government Minister, Francisco Jiménez, who has been the interlocutor of the Lasso Administration before the conveners of the protests, participated in the signing of the minutes of this agreement.

On the other side was the main leader of the protests, Leonidas Iza, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), with whom Lasso had said on Tuesday that the Ecuadorian government would not dialogue again, considering him an “opportunist” who did not represented the interests of indigenous peoples.

Also present were 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.

Source: Gestion

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