“We have had to resort to resistance in view of the national government putting in place more and more policies of death, which don’t allow us to sustain our small economies,” Leonidas Iza, head of the CONAIE indigenous organization, told journalists.
The roads that connect Quito with both the north and south of the country were blocked in some areas with earth, tires and trees. Roads in other Andean areas were also blocked, the emergency service said, while, another indigenous organization, said some Amazonian roads were also barred.
“We will not allow the interruption of roads and highways, we will not allow the takeover of oil wells nor of public service,” Lasso said on social media late on Sunday, adding that the blockades would affect economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. “I am willing to change Ecuador, we can’t stop.”
Lasso in October froze prices for the most-used gasoline and for diesel at higher rates than had been in place before he took office, sparking protests that ended when the government opened talks with indigenous leaders and other organizations. The talks have continued since but indigenous leaders say the government is not listening to their concerns and therefore they have decided to restart demonstrations.
“Mr. President, respond to the people on the most urgent, necessary and painful issues,” Iza said as he stood with dozens of other indigenous people on a highway south of Quito, urging Lasso not to allow the International Monetary Fund to “impose” policy. The South American country has agreed to financing of $6.5 billion with the multilateral organization in a deal that finishes this year.