TENS OF THOUSANDS of Ecuadorians mounted a general strike from October 3-13 in the country’s capital, Quito, to manifest their opposition to the “Pacquetazo Package” a series of neoliberal reforms implemented by the regime of Pres. Lenin Moreno. This was implemented in exchange for a $4.2-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last February.
Among the conditions imposed by the loan agreement were significant cuts in social spending, massive retrenchments of government employees and the elimination of subsidies. These resulted in a drastic worsening of the economic and political crisis in the country.
Starkest among these reforms was the elimination of the $1.3-billion gasoline and diesel subsidy. This doubled the prices of the said products and resulted in a drastic increase in the prices of all basic goods. Additional taxes imposed by Moreno further burdened ordinary citizens.
To attract foreign investments, he cut corporate taxes and tariffs on agricultural and industrial products. Moreno also lowered the wages of workers and denied them their basic labor rights including the compensation of dismissed workers.
These reforms aim to crush the capacity of Ecuador to stand on its own two feet and bind it under the semicolonial dominion of US imperialism.
In conjunction with the general strike, Moreno suspended the right to organize, assemble and demonstrate for 60 days to suppress the struggle of the Ecuadorian people. He employed the military and police to violently disperse the protests. At least eight civilians were killed, 800 were arrested and thousands were wounded.
Due to the people’s strong resitance, Moreno was compelled to temporarily suspend the policies imposed by the IMF on October 14.