A month after the protests that drove thousands of people to the streets of Ecuador, the population is more united and ready to rebuild the roads and buildings hit during the 11 days of demonstrations. This is the impression of the Brazilian David Melo, who is 28 years old and has been working in Quito for eight months as a missionary.
“I realize that after this standstill, the Ecuadorians are more united. What you see on the streets is the reconstruction effort. Where I live, in the historic center, part of the buildings were damaged and some squares and public roads were destroyed, but there is a large mobilization of people who want to volunteer to restore what was compromised, ”he says in an interview with R7.
Protests against Moreno Pack
Between October 2 and 13, marches and blockades – led by indigenous movements – took place in different cities of Ecuador against a controversial decree by President Lenin Moreno that would end fuel subsidies in the country.
In response to the popular uprising, the government even decreed a curfew and moved its headquarters from Quito to the city of Guayaquil. The People's Defense Office estimates that in conflict with police forces, 10 people were killed and hundreds injured.
“For 11 days, we couldn't get out on the street. I even work in a hostel and we were forced to close our doors because part of the Venezuelans we attended were receiving death threats, ”says the Brazilian.
In Melo's opinion, although a wave of violence was triggered by the protests, the population of the Ecuadorian capital generally supported the demonstrations.
“I witnessed the arrival of the indigenous people who came from their communities to Quito and noticed that the people of the city, even if they did not go out to protest, approved the movement.”
The acts ended only after President Lenin Moreno met with the indigenous leaders and decided on October 13 to overturn the decree that ended the fuel price subsidy. On the 14th, the protesters returned to the streets – but to celebrate the victory of the people.
“The deal was signed on a Sunday, and by Wednesday almost everything was normalized. What is most beautiful to me is that the Indians themselves, before returning to their communities, made a general clean-up at the points where there were clashes and where they were sheltered, ”adds David Melo.
The young Marco Dutra, who is from Brazil but studies journalism in Cotopaxi province, 89 km from the Ecuadorian capital, lived days similar to those of Melo.
“Most of the population is indigenous to Latacunga, where I live, and the first thing they did was block the road to Quito. No one could enter or leave the city, ”he explains.
The student points out that in Latacunga, some groups still took to the streets demanding that merchants close their establishments.
“Sometimes they were violent. It was possible to leave the house, but only on foot, to go to nearby small markets. But as the roads were closed, products started to run out, ”says Dutra.
Tranquility and expectation
Thirty days after the end of the acts, the young man says that the mood in the city is calm.
“There is a certain expectation, however, because the government has promised to announce measures regarding Ecuador's foreign debt and so far nothing has been seen. The population wants explanations, ”he adds.
After revoking the decree, President Moreno proposed a table of dialogue with representatives of indigenous peoples and other social sectors to evaluate targeting mechanisms for fuel subsidies.
Local media point out that indigenous people want to include other topics in the debate, such as a review of Ecuador's IMF (International Monetary Fund) agreement.
Last week, however, the country's new Armed Forces commander, Luis Lara, raised the tone: He said he would not allow the repetition of "riots" that affect Ecuadorian peace and security.
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