Oct. 7 — Support for a call for a general strike in Ecuador has grown quickly in the past few days, bringing the country to the brink of a change in government.
The latest upsurge in mass struggle began after the unpopular President Lenín Moreno issued a decree on Oct. 1 ending subsidies for diesel and extra gasoline with ethanol, fuels used for nearly all vehicles. Moreno did this following the International Monetary Fund’s requirements for granting Ecuador a loan. Since Oct. 2, many thousands of citizens from all social sectors have gone out into the streets in numerous Ecuadorian cities and villages every day.
The massive mobilization taking place now far exceeds the two-day nationwide strike of truckers, bus and taxi drivers on Oct. 3-4. That strike by itself paralyzed the country in the transport unions’ unsuccessful attempt to save the more than four-decades-old subsidy.
The national government suspended school classes Oct. 3-4, which added weight to the protests. On Oct. 3, Moreno imposed a state of exception, which for the next 60 days nullified the freedoms of assembly and association (without mentioning the constitutional right of resistance). The state of exception also allowed Moreno to flee his presidential palace in Quito to the military base in Guayaquil.