Ecuadorean President Guillermo Laso has announced that he will reduce fuel prices in the country. “I decided to reduce the price of gasoline by ten cents (to the dollar) per gallon (3.78 liters) and also to reduce the price of diesel by ten cents per gallon,” Lasso said in a speech to radio and television. With this, he hopes to end the weeks-long protests in the country. Demonstrators set up roadblocks in 19 of the oil-rich country’s 24 provinces. The government warned on Sunday that if the protests did not stop, oil production in the South American country threatened to stop within two days.
On Sunday, the Energy Department warned that oil production had already fallen by 50 percent from 520,000 barrels before the demonstrations began. If this situation continues, oil production will be suspended in less than 48 hours. Sabotage, occupation of oil fields and road closures prevent the transportation of equipment and diesel needed to continue production.”
Ecuador has large oil reserves, mainly in the Amazon provinces. Oil is the country’s main export product. Ecuador is struggling with high inflation, high unemployment and poverty that has risen sharply during the coronavirus pandemic. Since 2020, fuel prices have risen sharply. In the case of diesel, it has almost doubled.
Indigenous Ecuadoreans began the proceedings, but students, workers, and others also joined in time. The group grew to about 14,000 protesters. One of the demands of Kony, an influential coalition of indigenous groups that called for the protest, was that the government lower fuel prices. Whether the 10 per cent announced by Laso is sufficient for Kunai is questionable.
A human rights group also said five people were killed in clashes between protesters and police. Various sources talk about about 500 wounded civilians, as well as police officers and soldiers.
Ecuador’s parliament is now debating whether to initiate impeachment proceedings for the president. So far, the opposition has not been able to find sufficient support for this.
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