World"President Lasso has become an unmanageable issue and still...

“President Lasso has become an unmanageable issue and still does not give an answer”

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The protest called by the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) maintains pressure on the government of William Lasso. Despite the increase in violence and the blockade of some of the country’s main roads and the paralysis of large sectors of some cities, especially Quito, dialogue between the parties still seems very difficult to achieve.

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In 11 days of protests, three people died and almost a hundred were injured, according to human rights organizations. This Thursday the 23rd about 14,000 protesters continue to mobilize in different parts of the country. So far, attempts to resume dialogue have failed.

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Conaie demands that its list of ten demands be approved, including the reduction and/or freezing of fuel prices. In addition, he demands that Lasso lift the state of emergency in six provinces of the country and “demilitarize” a park in the capital where indigenous people traditionally congregate. On the other hand, Lasso, a banker who assumed power in May 2021, considers that the mobilizations seek to pressure him to remove him from power.

Indigenous people wave an Ecuadorian flag as they protest against the government around the House of Ecuadorian Culture in Quito. (Photo: AFP) (MARTIN BERNETTI/)

Trade spoke with Andrés Tapia, Conaie communication director, about the current state of the protests and the immediate plans of the indigenous movement in the midst of the tension.

How serious is the situation of the protests in Ecuador?

At this moment it really is an extremely tense situation, of constant confrontation, repression and inflexibility on the part of the President of the Republic, considering that there are already 10 days of mobilization and every day he adds more force, but that, however, he does not finds a way out in view of the fact that there is no favorable response from the president.

How do you rate the performance of the president so far? How are you handling discontent?

The situation is out of control for the president since the entire country is mobilized, the entire Pan-American highway in the central highlands to Quito is totally paralyzed, the Amazon region in its six provinces is totally paralyzed. Quito is now the scene of political dispute and being the country’s capital, it is a place where there are constant clashes and thousands of mobilized people in several central points of the city. The president has become an unmanageable issue and still does not give an answer.

What would have to happen for Conaie to decide to resume the dialogue?

What Conaie has proposed is that in the first place guarantees be provided, such as the demilitarization of the areas where the demonstration is, as well as the end of the intervention that was carried out at the House of Culture that has been taken over by the public force. We want you to step back from that. We also want the state of emergency decree that is in force in six provinces of the country to be repealed. We also seek that there really be an obvious sign of seeking a way out of Conaie’s proposals, for example, on the issue of subsidies, among others.

Protesters clash with the police around the House of Ecuadorian Culture in Quito, Ecuador, on June 22, 2022. (VERONICA LOMBEIDA / AFP).

Protesters clash with the police around the House of Ecuadorian Culture in Quito, Ecuador, on June 22, 2022. (VERONICA LOMBEIDA / AFP).

The Conaie raised 10 initial demands. Are they willing to compromise on some to find middle ground with the government?

All the demands have been discussed, but we demand at least 80% of the proposals given that there are substantive issues that, if not resolved, make it very difficult to sit down and talk. For example, on the issue of fuel prices, although there is a way that can be focused on them, it is necessary for the president to make these requests effective, not only by expressing a willingness to want to do so, but with documentation that confirms that this will be done. Otherwise, everything remains just as announcements or good intentions that, throughout this year and having already had two dialogue processes, really do not lead anywhere and is what generated this social outburst.

What is Conaie’s plan for the next few days?

For the moment, the indication is to continue with the mobilizations at the national level, to continue waiting for a response from the government, but to continue with the mobilizations in all the territories.

What do you think of those who affirm that behind the mobilizations there is a political background that what they would seek is to remove President Lasso from power?

On Wednesday the 22nd, the president of Conaie was very emphatic in affirming that Conaie came for the 10 points that it has raised and wants to return with the 10 points. There has been no talk of another situation that goes beyond that, logically what must be understood is that the effervescence in the streets that is already evident shows that there is discontent and disapproval of the president’s management. But the objectives of this mobilization for Conaie are very clear and revolve around the 10 points that have been raised.

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Source: Elcomercio

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