Last year, chaos broke out in several countries including Nicaragua, Brazil, Haiti, and France as citizens fed up with elite policies revolted against their establishments, though most of these revolts had very different outcomes.
Another Latin American country has burst into flames, and the driving factor was an attempt by the president to cut as subsidies, which is exactly what caused Haiti and Brazil to erupt into protest last year:
Ecuadoreans complain consumer prices have risen sharply as a knock-on effect of Moreno’s abolition of fuel subsidies, which has also triggered the nation’s worst unrest in more than a decade.
“Everyone’s raising prices with the excuse of the gasoline price rise,” disgruntled pensioner Camilo Salazar, 65, said at a food market in the coastal city of Guayaquil, where prices have risen by up to a third in just a few days.
After a two-day strike by transport unions, indigenous groups have taken the lead in demonstrations against Moreno’s economic measures. They barricaded roads in various places again on Sunday with burning tires, branches and rocks.
Some protesters threw stones at security forces, who responded with tear gas. The CONAIE umbrella indigenous group published a video showing spear-wielding inhabitants blocking a road and shouting “Down with the government!”
As well as ending fuel subsidies, the government is reducing the state work force and planning some privatizations. Moreno says the fuel subsidies, in place for four decades, had distorted the economy and cost $60 billion.
Unfortunately, in this case, the protesters are mostly the bad guys. Ecuador’s former president Correa, a socialist and admirer of Hugo Chavez, spent the country into a black hole, and Moreno has been left holding the bag trying to make painful economic reforms to rightsize the country’s finances.