President cancels austerity package that sparked weeks of violent street demonstrations
Ecuadors president, Lenn Moreno, has struck a deal with indigenous leaders to cancel a disputed austerity package and end nearly two weeks of protests that have paralysed the economy and left seven dead.
Under the agreement, Moreno will withdraw the International Monetary Fund-backed package, known as Decree 883, that included a sharp rise in fuel costs. Indigenous leaders, in turn, will call on their followers to end protests and street blockades.
Comrades, this deal is a compromise on both sides, Moreno said. The indigenous mobilisation will end and Decree 883 will be lifted.
The two sides will work together to develop a package of measures to cut government spending, increase revenue and reduce Ecuadors unsustainable budget deficits and public debt.
In the park that was the centre of the protests, demonstrators armed with wooden sticks and improvised shields shouted: We did it!
Im so happy I dont know what to say. I dont have words, Im so emotional. At least God touched the presidents heart, said protester Rosa Matango. I am happy as a mother, happy for our future. We indigenous people fought and lost so many brothers, but well keep going forward.
Caravans of cars roamed the streets early on Monday honking in celebration, passengers shouting, banging pots and waving Ecuadorian flags.
The moment of peace, of agreement, has come for Ecuador, said Arnaud Peral, the United Nations resident coordinator in Ecuador and one of the mediators of the nationally televised talks. This deal is an extraordinary step.
Wearing the feathered headdress and face paint of the Achuar people of the Amazon rainforest, the president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nations, Jaime Vargas, thanked Moreno and demanded improved long-term conditions for indigenous Ecuadorians.
We want peace for our brothers and sisters in this country, Vargas said. We dont want more repression.