The Ecuadorean government announced, on Tuesday, the resignation of Ecuadorean Economy Minister Simon Cueva and three other members of President Guillermo Lasso’s government after protests over the cost of living in the country, which left six people dead.
Health bag owners, Ximena Garzón, Transportation and Public Works, Marcelo Cabrera, and Higher Education, Alejandro Ribadeneira, also resigned, without citing reasons.
The presidency said in a statement that Lasso “thanks the officials for their sincere and valuable services in the exercise of their duties.”
Organizations condemning human rights violations in Ecuador’s protests
A spokesman for the Economy Ministry said Cueva’s departure was due to a “decision of her own” taken “a few months ago”.
The government of Lasso, a right-wing ex-banker who took power 13 months ago, faced a wave of protests organized by the Union of Indigenous Nationalities (Kone), which took part in the uprisings that ousted three presidents between 1997 and 2005.
With the closure of federal roads and marches in many cities, including Quito, indigenous peoples have made a series of demands such as a 21% reduction in fuel prices.
The demonstrations, which left six dead and more than 600 injured, ended after the signing, last Thursday, of a “peace document” in which the executive authority pledged to reduce the prices of the most used fuel in the country by up to 8%. .
With the reduction, which took effect on Friday, a gallon of diesel rose from $1.90 to $1.75, and the price of gasoline rose from $2.55 to $2.40.
Amid an economic crisis caused by periods of low prices for oil – a major export product – and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Conservative government has agreed to further compensation for farmers and disadvantaged people that will cost it US$700 million annually.
Measures include increasing the reward for aid to the poor, subsidizing agricultural inputs, and canceling debts to public bodies by up to $3,000. The Executive also rescinded a decree to hand over new oil fields, which had been a request from Kony.
Among the commitments, the Lasso administration should also specify that more fuel subsidies be directed to the rural sector. Negotiations on this and other issues will begin next Thursday with the mediation of the Catholic Church, which also intervened to sign the agreement that stopped the violent protests.
The demonstrations, which lasted 18 days, caused losses of about one billion dollars, mostly in the oil sector, according to the central bank.
Ecuador’s production was 520,000 barrels per day on June 12, on the eve of the start of the protests, which paralyzed more than 1,000 wells in the Amazon region. During nearly three weeks of demonstrations, production has fallen by less than half.
State-owned Petroecuador reports that out of 1,000 wells, only 82 are still closed. Ecuador’s total production as of Sunday was 461,637 barrels, according to the Energy Ministry.
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