Ecuadorians launch national shutdown against oil price increases
Indigenous communities and other sectors set up barricades to block major roads in a number of provinces in Ecuador to protest the skyrocketing increase of petroleum products. Alongside this, they called for the immediate ouster of the country’s president Guillermo Lasso who was recently elected in May. The Ecuadorian Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (CONAIE) led the protests.
The “paro nacional,” or national shutdown was launched last October 26 by blocking the country’s key transit points,, including roads connecting to neighboring Colombia. Protests were also held in key cities.
The protesters demanded an immediate rollback in the prices of petroleum products to June 2020 levels. Since last year, prices have continuously increased in accordance with an order by then Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno.
Lasso agreed last week to freeze the monthly increases of fuel prices and fix the price of gasoline at $0.67 per liter (₱33.5 based on $1=₱50 exchange rate) and diesel at ₱25.00 per liter. Despite this, CONAIE refused to cancel the protests.
Ecuador has the third largest oil reserves in Latin America (after Venezuala and Brazil). Most of its oil resources are in the Amazon which forms part of the indigenous people’s ancestral lands. Oil production is controlled by PetroEcuador, a national company.