Ecuador

The protests in Ecuador, focused on Quito, began in the early part of October of 2019. They occurred prior to the unrest in Chile, Bolivia, and Colombia, and many see them as a harbinger of these protests in neighboring countries that would soon follow. The spark that ignited the conflagration in Ecuador was the decree by President Lenin Moreno of an end to fuel subsidies as part of major adjustments imposed so as to secure a credit line of more than 4 billion US dollars from the IMF to bail out Ecuador’s flailing economy.

 

The very next day, the protest began with the Frente Unitario de los Trabajadores (FUT), the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), the Popular Front and the student union Federation of University Students of Ecuador (FEUE), all announcing their opposition to the new measures - members were soon in the streets protesting in mass, lasting for several weeks, not only shutting down the country’s transport, but the government was even forced to relocate – at least temporarily - from Quito to Guayaquil.  50 members of the armed forces were even taken captive for a short time. After several weeks of chaos, the government ceded to most of the protestors’ demands and the country gradually began to return to normal.

It is most interesting to note that the protests of October, 2019, in Ecuador, which virtually closed much of the capital city Quito and even forced the government to relocate to Guayaquil at least temporarily – came one month after climate change protests broke out. Numerous Ecuadorans in several cities across the country, not just Quito, joined Greta Thunberg’s initiative called Friday for the Future, in September of 2019.