Guillermo Lasso avoids impeachment in Ecuador and suspends negotiations with indigenous people

Guillermo Lasso avoids impeachment in Ecuador and suspends negotiations with indigenous people

First modification:

Ecuador’s right-wing president, Guillermo Lasso, escaped removal from office by the opposition Congress on Tuesday when he called off negotiations with the top indigenous leader to end cost-of-living protests, which have lasted 16 days.

A motion to remove Guillermo Lasso from office, for constitutional reasons of “serious political crisis and internal commotion,” gathered 80 of the 92 necessary votes, according to the National Assembly. We defended democracy and now we must restore peace,” Lasso said after the vote.

Congress has been discussing since Saturday the request for removal raised by the opposition Union for Hope (Unes) party, the main party with 47 seats and related to former socialist president Rafael Correa (2007-2017).

“Despite the coup attempts, today the country’s institutions prevailed. It is clear who works for the political mafias. Meanwhile, we continue to work for Ecuador,” added the president, a 66-year-old former banker.

Suspended negotiations

In the morning, the president suspended the negotiations that the Executive started on Monday with the head of the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie), Leónidas Iza, which promotes the demonstrations for an indefinite period.

Lasso made the decision after a soldier died and 12 other soldiers were wounded in an attack by protesters against soldiers in the Amazon. In a speech, the head of state pointed out that Iza defends only “his political interests” and emphasized that “we are not going to negotiate with those who hold Ecuador hostage.”

Conaie in turn accused him of “authoritarianism, lack of will and incapacity” and said that he will have to answer for “the consequences of his warmongering policy.” The secretary of the OAS, Luis Almagro, stated on Twitter that the “protest must be peaceful and democratic (…) Violent destabilization of a democratic government is always reprehensible.”

A first face-to-face meeting between Conaie and a delegation from the Executive, headed by the Minister of Government, Francisco Jiménez, took place for more than six hours on Monday in an attempt to defuse the crisis. But the second day of talks collapsed on Tuesday when the official representation did not appear in response to the attack.

“You deserve more than an opportunist as a leader (…) It is a criminal act to play with the lives of innocents. The country has witnessed all the efforts we have made to establish a fruitful and sincere dialogue,” said Lasso, who He took power a year ago.

The head of Conaie acknowledged that the negotiation is at a “stalemate” but was open to continuing the dialogue. “Why go back if enough progress has already been made?” he expressed. He asked the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference to intercede in the crisis on behalf of Pope Francis, who on Sunday called for “dialogue” and “social peace.”

More violence in Quito

After the suspension of the negotiations in the Basilica of the National Vote in Quito, hundreds of indigenous people returned to the fray in Quito. In groups they mobilized through the streets and as they passed the shops closed. At night, demonstrators clashed with the public force in the north of the capital, setting fire to two police stations.

“The irrationality and lack of reasonableness in the protest is not understood. Ecuador needs Peace,” Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo said on Twitter. The high cost of living fueled by the increase in fuel prices pushed thousands of protesters out of their communities since June 13, most of them in Quito. They demand measures that cushion the economic blow to agricultural production.

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Written by Editor TLN

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