From the early hours of Monday, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) began a national strike against the government of Guillermo Lasso by blocking highways in provinces such as Pastaza, Napo, and Guayas.
CONAIE President Leonidas Iza said that the social mobilization, which will continue for an indefinite period of time, emerges as a result of the reluctance of the Lasso administration to continue the dialogue process, the last meeting of which took place on November 10, 2021.
Since then, Indigenous communities and farmers have been requested the reduction of fuel prices, the renegotiation of debts, the reduction of interest rates, fair prices for agricultural producers, job creation, and respect for labor rights.
In response to the pro-corporate policies applied by the Ecuadorian government, social movements are also protesting against the expansion of the territories assigned to the extraction of minerals, oil, and wood. These activities are generating severe social and environmental impacts, especially in fragile ecosystems such as those located in the Amazon and in the Andean highlights.
The tweet reads, "The Cuenca-Loja road, at the entrance to the Nabon canton, is blocked due to the national strike."
Besides rejecting the privatization of strategic sectors for the Ecuadorian State, CONAIE demands a larger budget for education, health, and security. This occurs amid a permanent increase in violence, contract killings, drug trafficking, kidnapping, and organized crime.
On October 3, 2019, CONAIE also led a national protest against the administration of Lenin Moreno (2017-2021) that paralyzed the country for 10 days. Convened in rejection of fuel prices, this national strike was harshly repressed by the Army and the Police, which caused the death of over a dozen people and some 1,500 wounded citizens.
The current protests are taking place in a political-institutional environment that is potentially very dangerous for the respect of human and civil rights. A few days ago, authorities approved a regulation that broadens the powers of the police and the army to use force.