Ecuador's Government Repeals New Austerity Measures Ending Nationwide Protests
On October 2, Ecuador's government announced new austerity measures, which sparked protests by indigenous groups across the country. The new measures were the result of an agreement between Ecuador's government and the International Monetary Fund, which recently loaned the country $4.1 billion to ease its crushing debt burden and ongoing budget crises. One condition of the loan required Ecuador to implement new austerity measures to reduce government spending. The new measures included the removal of fuel subsidies, which cost the government $1 billion annually.
On October 13, after a three hour meeting with indigenous leaders, the head of the United National in Ecuador announced that the government was repealing the existing austerity decree it had adopted and would form a commission to adopt new measures. The new commission is to be comprised of leaders from indigenous movement organizations and government agencies and will be moderated by the United Nations and the Ecuadorian Episcopalian Conference.
The nationwide protests included organized marches by indigenous groups (who make up the majority of Ecuador's population) from the highlands and the Amazon into Quito, blocking some roads into the city. Thousands of protesters clashed with policy and military personnel and there were reports of vandalism and looting and some government offices were damaged. In response, Ecudador's president declared a curfew in Quito and called upon the military to restore order.
With the announcement of the end of the previous set of austerity measures and the new commission to iron out a new budget-saving measures, it appears that the crisis passed and there should be no impact on visitors arriving in Ecuador anytime soon.
Feature image: Protesters marching during protests on 9 October ©Todos Noticias, Creative Commons