QUITO – Union leaders and indigenous people in Ecuador have urged for protests against the government to continue following economic measures taken in accordance with a loan agreed with the International Monetary Fund.
The president of the FUT labor federation, Mesias Tatamuez, called on international organizations and human rights defenders such as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the United Nations to see what is happening in the country.
“We’re demanding the rights to protest and the physical integrity of our leaders, nationalities and social sectors,” Tatamuez said.
At a press event Friday, where several social and union leaders were present, Tatamuez spoke against what he called a “neoliberal” project of the IMF and the capitalism it wanted to take root in the country.
He further urged workers of the countryside and the city, students, retired people and universities to call a national strike on Wednesday.
The union leader urged citizens to take to streets, roads and mountains because only in this way can the country, sovereignty and democracy be defended.
Nelson Erazo, head of the Popular Front, said the social struggle would continue despite the declaration of a state of emergency by the government.
He said that the government cannot “intimidate us with threats of imprisonment” and demanded a change to benefit the Ecuadorian people.
The head of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, Jaime Vargas, announced a nationwide mobilization in protest over the government’s decision and denounced detentions that have been carried out since Thursday.
“The 350 arrested are brothers and sisters who fight for freedom and collective rights and in rejection of economic measures that affect the Ecuadorian people,” he said.
In a press conference at a hotel in the north of the Ecuadorian capital, National Federation of Public Transport Cooperatives, Abel Gomez, spoke on behalf of the heavy transport sectors, bus and taxi sectors to say that after “analyzing the situation of the country,” they had decided to end their strike.
Gomez said they had conveyed their disagreement over cuts to the fuel subsidy, a measure that has been in place for the last 40 years.
Despite the suspension of the transport strike, unions as well as indigenous people are to continue protests that could gain momentum, the members of the group said.