Oct 8, 2019

Ecuador’s president flees the capital amid protests

Riot police confront demonstrators during clashes in Quito. Photo: Rafael Rodriguez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno on Monday said he temporarily moved government operations from the capital Quito to the port city of Guayaquil amid protests against his termination of a fuel subsidy, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Only 2 Ecuadorian presidents have completed a full 4-year term over the past 27 years, but no previous president in recent Ecuadorian history has moved the government to avoid unrest, per WSJ. Moreno called a state of emergency on Oct. 4.

Context: Moreno took office in 2017 pledging to maintain his leftist processor's social policies. However, last week he announced that his administration would end a 4-decade-old, $1.4 billion-a-year fuel subsidy which he said was holding down fuel prices and enabling smuggling and corruption.

  • His announcement triggered strikes by transport unions. Indigenous groups later joined in and have blocked roads and highways.
  • The government said on Monday that it was suspending production in 3 oil fields in the Amazon region after protesters seized the facilities. The seizures affected 12% of the country's oil production.
  • So far, at least 500 people have been arrested as the protest enters its 4th day.

What's next: Thousands have traveled to Quito for a large protest planned for Wednesday, according to the BBC.

Go deeper

Ecuador's gas price protests show why it's hard to phase out fuel subsidies

Protestors in Quito, Ecuador, on Oct. 8. Photo: Jonatan Rosas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The turmoil in Ecuador is a fresh example of why fossil fuel subsidies are so persistent worldwide: There's support for phasing them out in theory, but in practice it's a different story.

Driving the news: President Lenín Moreno this week said he has temporarily moved government operations from the capital city, Quito, to the port city of Guayaquil.

Go deeperArrowOct 9, 2019

Riots persist in Ecuador after president ends fuel subsidy

Riot police, protesters and smoke in Quito. Photo: Martin Bernetti/AFP via Getty

Violent protests continued in Ecuador today, 2 days after President Lenín Moreno fled the capital and moved government operations to a port city.

Driving the news: Moreno is standing by the policy that sparked the unrest — the termination of a popular, but costly fuel subsidy.

Go deeperArrowOct 11, 2019

Ecuador’s president agrees not to slash fuel subsidies amid deadly protests

Protestors in Quito on Oct. 7. Photo: Cristina Vega/AFP via Getty Images

Ecuador's President Lenín Moreno said on Sunday that his administration would agree not to terminate the country's fuel subsidies and sit for talks with indigenous groups, in an effort to end deadly protests that had roiled the country, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: Thousands of Ecuadorians, set off by Moreno's announcement that he would end a 4-decade-old, $1.4 billion-per-year fuel subsidy, have been protesting for almost 2 weeks, clashing with police, ransacking government buildings and looting businesses. Confrontations between demonstrators and state security forces have resulted in 7 deaths, 1,300 injured and 1,152 arrests.

Go deeper: Ecuador’s president flees the capital amid protests

Keep ReadingArrowOct 14, 2019