The Government of Ecuador and the indigenous movement finally sit down to talk. This Monday and after two weeks of strong protests, the first round of talks began, which lasted almost seven hours.
The meeting, which lasted for almost seven hours, took place in the Basilica of the National Vote, in Quito, and concluded with some new offers from the Government that did not satisfy the indigenous movement, so the meetings were called to continue on Tuesday. conversations.
The authorities noted that President Guillermo Lasso had previously declared a reduction in fuel prices, demonstrating his willingness to dialogue.
“We have not yet found a mechanism that allows us to increase the subsidy that has already been given of 10 cents on the dollar. Although we are still willing to listen to your proposals for a targeted subsidy,” said the Minister of Government, Francisco Jiménez, during the encounter
In turn, Leonidas Iza, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) and main promoter of the protests, agreed to form technical groups to address the different demands, except for two that he considered “non-negotiable”: the reduction and freezing of fuel prices and the moratorium on new mining concessions.
De-escalation of violence and new commitments
The government has only accepted for the moment not to give more oil and mining concessions in protected and intangible natural areas, but Iza demanded that this commitment be extended to water recharge zones and indigenous territories.
Likewise, the indigenous leader insisted on the rest of the points on his agenda, such as controlling the prices of basic necessities, ensuring a fair price for farmers for their products, not privatizing state companies and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples.
Additionally, the leaders also demanded that they not be criminalized for protests as some government authorities have anticipated due to several episodes of violence.
Meanwhile, in the streets, the atmosphere was calmer and more relaxed in Quito, where the city recovered a little normality after having been almost completely paralyzed last week, despite the fact that there are still roadblocks and that the indigenous people carried out a peaceful and uneventful march through the center of the capital.
According to the Minister of the Interior, Patricio Carillo, there is “a de-escalation of violence” at the national level and he gave as an example the roadblocks, which this Monday were 77 compared to 350 last week.