President of Ecuador blames meddling after austerity measures lead to major protests
Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Ecuador is witnessing major unrest after President Lenin Moreno announced the elimination of fuel subsidies and other measures. His anti-austerity measures are based on the IMF (International Monetary Fund) agreement which stipulates that public spending must be reigned in. Therefore, Moreno is seeking to abide by the demands of the IMF and ease Ecuador’s debt burden.
However, austerity measures have sparked political unrest, notably among the indigenous community that is up in arms about the ending of fuel subsidies. After all, these subsidies have provided people on the margins with a certain degree of security.
The Guardian reports, “Indigenous protesters have paralyzed roads around Ecuador and blocked a main highway into the capital in a fifth day of action against government austerity measures that have sparked the worst unrest in years, resulting in 477 arrests.”
Hence, with Moreno fearing more disruptions in Quito, he decided to move government business and operations to Guayaquil. Despite increasing protests and the threat of further political polarization, Moreno is adamant that fuel subsidies must end.
Moreno blames Rafael Correa (his predecessor) and President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela. Thus, Moreno claims that the “destabilization plan” is based on the intrigues of Correa and Maduro. In other words, anti-Moreno supporters are being incited to sow the seeds of mayhem.
Moreno says, “The lootings, vandalism and violence show there is an organized political motive here to destabilize the government, and break the constitutional order, break democratic order.”
The seriousness of the crisis is clearly visible with Moreno temporarily moving government operations. Equally, he announced a national-emergency for two-months based on the political unrest.
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