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Conaie and the government disagree on results of dialogue, Fenocin threatens another national strike

Published on September 05, 2022

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The tables are the product of the end of the June 2022 strike.

The tension between Conaie and the national government increased last Thursday on the 50th day of the talks that began at the end of the June 2022 national strike.

Only one agreement has been signed from the first of the dialogue tables. And on September 1, 2022, Leonidas Iza, President of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), questioned the effectiveness of the tables.

On August 31, 2022, at the evaluation meeting in which the authorities of the Government of Guillermo Lasso, the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference and the indigenous leadership participated, the president of the Conaie, Leonidas Iza, spoke of his “enormous concern.” According to Iza, no progress has been made in dealing with the other tables. On the fuel issue, he said, “they continue to drag their feet.”

Iza also argued that although there is a resolution to provide financial relief to Ecuadorians, “in practice nothing happens.” A day earlier, Leandro Ullón, leader of the National Federation of Peasant, Indigenous and Black Organizations (Fenocin), warned that new mobilizations could be carried out on the Coast if debts of up to $10,000 are not forgiven.

This organization has maintained its position of not yielding on the amount of the forgiveness. It demands that debts with private banks be included. La Fenocin has rejected the government’s offer to forgive debts of $3,000 in public banks.

Iza also demanded a price control. He said that the prices of premium products continue to rise. He insists that “there are no results on the table.” Several experts had anticipated that the rise in the prices of many products would not recede, except in the supermarket chains to which the poorest do not have access. For this reason, the experts concluded, the economic impact of the June 2022 strike would be felt by the poorest.

The President of Conaie also told the mediators that since the dialogue tables were installed, the organizations have assisted with what he called “will, criteria and proposals.” Despite them, said the Iza, “we feel that these tables will not work out.” In addition, Leonidas Iza said that “it is of great concern because we expected the possibility of resolving via dialogue and it is being taken as a process to dissuade the processes of struggle.”

Iza also said that the social organizations are willing to conclude the dialogue within 90 days and demanded that the government of Guillermo Lasso deliver, by September 9th, “in whatever conditions” the responses to the demands of the five tables:

  • Targeting of fuel subsidies,
  • Public and private banking,
  • Price control, Energy and natural resources and
  • Productive promotion.

The government’s response to Conaie’s questions

In response to Leonidas Iza’s statements, the Government Ministry published a statement on the progress of the dialogue table agreements.

It affirmed its political commitment to indigenous and social organizations. “The most visible sample is what was agreed at the public and private banking table in which a definitive agreement was sealed.” And he detailed the progress:

  • $77.4 million have been placed in savings and credit cooperatives through the National Public and Solidarity Finance Corporation, out of a total of $120 million that will be delivered until December 2022.
  • $94.7 million delivered in loans at 1% interest and a 30-year term through BanEcuador.
  • $8.8 million delivered for the forgiveness of 25,928 unrecoverable credits through BanEcuador.
  • Instrumentalization of a public policy so that the new entities of the financial system are able to restructure and finance the credit operations of the segments of microcredit, productive credit, SMEs and education, through the resolution issued by the Policy and Regulation Board Financial.

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