Saturday, January 28

President Lasso faces first national strike at his lowest moment of popularity

Correspondent in Quito



Al Government of President Guillermo Lasso All the evils have been added to it: in the National Assembly (Congress) it cannot process the laws it urgently requires to promote job creation and improve tax collection; Violence and deaths in the streets do not stop, despite a state of exception and, this Tuesday, indigenous and union movements lead the first national strike against the government, in response to the increase in fuel prices. that the Executive froze, last Friday, but after adjusting them upwards.

Freezing the price of fuel earned him criticism from the liberal sectors, who oppose the subsidies, because they will mean more tax; But doing so after raising the cost of gasoline and diesel sparked anger from the unions, who felt mocked. The social sectors want the price to return to what it was on June 12, that is, $ 1.50 a gallon of diesel and $ 2.10 for gasoline and, there, focus them. To date, the price is 1.90 dollars for diesel and 2.25 dollars a gallon for extra gasoline and eco-country. From the Administration of Lenín Moreno, in Ecuador ruled a system of bands to fix the price of fuel, tied to the international price of oil.

The national strike is fulfilled, this Tuesday, in the Coast, the Sierra and the Amazon; throughout its territory, as anticipated, the day before, Leonidas Iza, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), who has promoted the de facto measure, together with the Unitary Front of Workers (FUT) and the National Union of Educators (UNE), despite the fact that, weeks ago, they held meetings with the president, in the Carondelet palace , seat of government, in search of consensus, like the transport sector. The President of the Popular Front, Nelson Erazo, described the increase in fuel prices as a “stick”. President Lasso has said that he will not allow the closure of roads because it is prohibited by law, and that they will put order with the public force, to “protect free and honest citizens.” But in several roads and cities there had been blockades, in the first hours of the measure.

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The special forces and the national police have been deployed this Tuesday in the surroundings of the presidential palace in Quito with the motive of the strike called
The special forces and the national police have been deployed this Tuesday in the surroundings of the presidential palace in Quito with the motive of the strike called – AFP

Loses support

Only five months after coming to power, Guillermo Lasso is at a crossroads, having achieved a successful vaccination campaign, which placed Ecuador among the countries that have best managed inoculation. But since the prison massacre in which 119 inmates were killed, nothing seems to be going right for him. Added to this was the fact that his name appeared in the ‘Pandora Papers’, a matter for which he is iInvestigated by a Congressional Commission to which he has not attended, despite having declared that he will go when called, and also the State Attorney General’s Office opened a prior investigation, for alleged tax fraud. His image has deteriorated. Lasso has lost more than 20 points in a few weeks; today it barely exceeds 50% when it had exceeded 70%. In parallel, people have gone from looking to the future with optimism, to having doubts, if not fear, to what may come.

One of the most difficult moments and that, politically, seems to have been a turning point, was when he accused the former president Rafael Correa, fugitive from justice; ex-mayor Jaime Nebot, leader of the Social Christian Party and his ally during the campaign, and the president of Conaie, Leonidas Iza, for forming a “triumvirate of the conspiracy.” Observers say that Lasso “burned the ships” because he loses the votes he needs in the Assembly, where he no longer has the support of all center-left parliamentary sectors with whom he allied to put authorities in the Legislature; part of the Pachakutik bloc, the political arm of Conaie, is against him. Of course, not all sectors support today’s national strike. Richard Intriago, leader of the National Peasant Movement, distanced himself from the measure and seeks dialogue with the government; asked Leonidas Iza not to take advantage of the mobilizations.

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