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Government agrees to resume dialogue with indigenous leaders

Government agrees to resume dialogue with indigenous leaders

The Ecuadorian government agreed on Wednesday to return to a dialogue with the indigenous people with the mediation of the Episcopal Conference, after 17 days of a national strike called by that sector that has blocked the main roads and has caused shortages of food, medicine, gas and gasoline. .

In a press conference, the Minister of Government, Francisco Jiménez, said that as a result of the efforts made “to restore tranquility to the Ecuadorian people”, it was decided to accept the mediation process.

He added that the Episcopal Conference will define the actors, the representatives and the issues in question so that “a definitive solution can be reached”, and reiterated the will to reach a solution to restore peace to the country.

Regarding President Guillermo Lasso’s refusal to interact again with the highest indigenous leader, Leonidas Iza, Jiménez said that by having accepted the mediation process, the government accepts “its methodology.”

“They are the ones who are going to designate the delegates on both sides. We don’t want to put any conditions on it,” he explained.

The rapprochements between the government and the indigenous people, who on Monday hinted at a close solution, were frozen after an attack by presumed indigenous people on a military caravan that left one dead and 12 soldiers wounded.

The national strike was called by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (CONAIE), the largest of its kind in Ecuador, demanding a reduction in the price of gasoline, a larger budget for health and education, and the setting of a cap at prices of agricultural products.

Also on Wednesday, Lasso decreed a state of emergency for 30 days in the Andean provinces of Azuay and Imbabura, and Sucumbíos and Orellana, in the Amazon. The government said that the objective is to restore public order, control violence, ensure the supply of medicines, oxygen for hospitals, fuel and food in those regions.

It also established as a security zone the area of ​​influence where the country’s oil wells, facilities and infrastructure are located, in the Amazon. Oil is the main export product of the country, to whose fiscal coffers it contributes about 30% of income.

The state of exception reduces a part of citizen rights, including those of mobilization and assembly, among others.

So far, the protests have left 228 police officers injured, 32 police officers kidnapped (who have already been released), 10 police units destroyed and 72 vehicles affected, Commander General Fausto Salinas told the press.

To pressure the government to give a response, the Indigenous and Peasant Movement of the Cotopaxi region announced that it is preparing a “massive and forceful mobilization towards the capital, on Thursday… with all the organizations, unions, carriers and workers.” .

Meanwhile, hundreds of indigenous people from the province of Imbabura are already blocking one of the main outlying avenues of the city.

For its part, the union that brings together the native populations of the Amazon indicated to its bases that “all measures are maintained in the six provinces of the Amazon region.”

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Written by Editor TLN

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