Government comes to agreement with indigenous leaders in Ecuador
By James Blears
Secretary of Government in Ecuador Francisco Jiminez and Leonidas Iza, who leads the Confederation of Indigenous Nations, shook hands on an agreement mediated by Archbishop Luis Cabrera of Guayaquil, the head of the country’s Episcopal Conference, who tempered tense and sometimes terse as well as frank points of view.
The agreement ends eighteen days of unrest, which saw major demonstrations, spearheaded by indigenous groups, protesting dire poverty.
Gasoline and diesel prices will decrease by fifteen cents per gallon, instead of the ten cents worth, as initially proposed by the government. The agreement insists on the need to address improving health and education, and to limit oil exploration and expansion, while banning mining in protected areas, including national parks.
The Government now has ninety days to back up its commitments by keeping its promises.
Archbishop Cabrera, meanwhile, mildly but firmly cautioned that helping marginalized communities must be the priority. Half of the population of Ecuador is indigenous.
Acknowledging the wide variety of issues Jimenez said: “We have a nation with problems, divisions, and injustices.”
President Guillermo Lasso, for his part, said, “We’ve achieved the supreme value to which we all aspire: Peace.”