In Background, Ecuador, IMF, Indigenous communities, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America and the Caribbean

Indigenous leader Jaime Vargas rises his arms during a protest against IMF austerity measures in Quito, Ecuador Oct. 8, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Indigenous organizations are seeking to develop an economic model that will prevent the application of IMF policies against Ecuadoreans.

Published on TeleSUR, Oct 25, 2019
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The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) on Thursday convened to form a popular parliament so as to outline an economic model and present it to President Lenin Moreno.

“We invite Ecuadorean organizations to join the Peoples and Social Organizations’ Parliament to develop a new economic model able to prevent the endorsement of new [policy] packages against the people.”

Early October, the indigenous movement staged hard demonstrations against an executive decree that eliminated fuel subsidies.

Together with other labor, budget and tax reforms, such Presidential decision was part of the austerity policies which Moreno agreed to implement in order to get an International Monetary Fund (IMF) US$4.2 billion loan.

Although the decree was cancelled, the Ecuadorean government ‘s actions left eight people killed, 1,300 wounded and more than 1,000 detainees, according to the Ombudsman’s Office data.​​​​​​​

At the country’s capital, Quito, protests ended with a meeting between President Moreno and the Conaie leader Jaime Vargas. This encounter was part of a dialogue process urgently established under the auspices of the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference and the United Nations.

On Wednesday, however, Conaie revealed that talks had been suspended due to persecution undertaken by the Ecuadorean state against social leaders. Among them is precisely Vargas, who is subjected to a fiscal inquiry for alleged “rebellion.”​​​​​​​

His organization, which resolved to maintain contact only with the UN office, demanded that the Moreno administration assume its responsibility for the “excessive use of force” during the protests.

Conaie also announced international legal actions against the Ecuadorean State for the “systematic violation of human rights” and requested the departure of both Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo and Defense Minister Oswaldo Jarrin.

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