By James Blears.
Indigenous leaders say they`ll have talks with Ecuador`s President Lenin Moreno but they won`t budge on their demands that his decision to remove fuel subsidies MUST be entirely abandoned. A 4.2 billion dollars loan from the IMF was agreed with the Government back in March. But fuel subsidies of 1.3 billion dollars annually had to be ended as part of the deal. Moreno now says : "Let`s talk about where the resources are allocated and who most in need receives them."
But he`s also imposed a nationwide curfew until 3pm today...or perhaps further notice. It entails a military clamp down and especially applies to sensitive areas including ports, airports, police and military bases, reservoirs as well as energy areas. Quito`s International Airport is at a standstill.
The National Assembly is holding a crisis meeting in the coastal City of Salinas tomorrow. Indigenous protests have brought down three Presidents in the last few years, and the severity of this situation is already close to comparable. Ordinary people are already struggling to pay 100 percent increases in fuel prices and won`t accept it.
The coming days will see, if the Govermental austerity measures are proving too harsh medicine, for the health of an already sickly economy.