‘Lenin Moreno Hypocrite and traitor – the blood of the people is not negotiable,’ shouted over a hundred Ecuadorians and their supporters outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Friday night.
Young women dressed in traditional clothes of different regions of Ecuador marched to the embassy condemning the Moreno regime for the brutal state attack on indigenous peoples demonstrating against massive fuel and price increases.
One of the demonstrators Daniel Sanchez, told News Line: ‘Lenin Moreno’s police and military are attacking people protesting the petrol price increases.
‘He promised housing and benefits but after the IMF loan everything is being privatised, electricity, transport and telecoms.’
Sara Mondragon said: ‘I’m here to protest against the brutality of the police and military.
‘We are opposed to the IMF deal, we are here today because the IMF deal in 1999-2000 forced two million Ecuadorians to leave the country, we don’t want the same thing to happen again.
‘We want to end the deal, remove Moreno and have new elections.’
Another Ecuadorian, Diana Ochoa, explained: ‘In March the Ecuadorian government accepted an IMF loan which set conditions for repayment which included elimination of fuel subsidies, cuts to student scholarships, national and international, and that 80 per cent of oil profits would go straight to the IMF.
‘In April the government accepted that landing sites for military planes will be made available on the Galapagos Islands.
‘When the indigenous people came down from the mountains to join the protests against this the police used excessive force against them.’
Another protester, Julian Cuapatz, told News Line: ‘The Ecuadorian government will be out soon because the Ecuadorian people are warriors and have woken up.
‘The government wants to keep us poor like before but we want a new government.’
A number of students were on the protest – Rumi, came all the way from Manchester to take part. He said: ‘We want to show the Ecuadorian people that they are not alone.’
Liseth Lopez said: ‘We are showing our support to the indigenous community. Their freedom has been taken away – Radio and TV channels have been shut down, police are shooting innocent people.
‘They are defending a president who doesn’t want to resign.’
Colombian Alberto Zerda said: ‘I’m here to support the Ecuadorian people’s struggle to get rid of the tyrant, Lenin Moreno, the corrupt president who has wasted millions of dollars giving tax cuts to the rich and withdrew asylum to Julian Assange and handed him over to a British court.’
Calvin Benson from the Julian Assange Defence campaign said: ‘We’re here in solidarity with the Ecuadorian people who are standing up to President Moreno and his corruption. What the police are doing there is disgusting.
‘Moreno bowed down to the USA to secure the arrest and detention of Julian Assange.’
Another Assange campaigner, Martin Bray, said: ‘The IMF loan given to Ecuador bankrupted the state.
‘What Moreno did was shocking, he has handed Assange over to the Americans for a load of money.’
Mayra Crean from the Asemblea National Ciudadana told News Line: ‘The Moreno government is eliminating taxes for big businessmen and bankers that increased the fiscal deficit. They have let off 4,500 million dollars of taxes, fines and interest, elimination for 10 to 20 years of the income tax.
‘They have cut investment in social areas ($194 million of the health budget, $132 million of the human development bonus, $123 million of pre and postgraduate scholarships, $375 million of initial education, primary and secondary and $93 million from universities, $87 million for water and housing, the same goes for the budget of the police and military) and infrastructure construction ($841 million from the annual investment plan in works).
‘In addition to the dismissal of tens of thousands of public workers (there are about 120,000 public servants disconnected) and the salaries of state personnel with occasional service contracts have been reduced.
‘He has privatised the oil fields, hydroelectric plants, telecommunications, roads, airports and seaports and social security.
Crean continued: ‘He has introduced labour flexibility and attacked social organisations, with the fallacious argument of boosting economic activities through “new forms of hiring” that eliminate the rights of workers enshrined in the Constitution and international instruments, precarious working conditions, with the rotation of work, jobs and places of work, as well as seasonal contracts, which eliminate stability.
‘Commercial and financial liberalisation, allows the increase of imports and smuggling by taking away the market from domestic production and destroying companies and sources of work.
‘At the same time it allows the increase of the interest rates of the banks, the cost of their services, and even illegal debits of the savers.
‘The austerity measures imposed on Ecuadorian society by the IMF is having a significant impact among the poorest people.
Crean emphasised: ‘Hospitals without resources are preventing doctors from providing basic care to their patients, thus increasing people’s vulnerability.
‘Twelve thousand people have lost their jobs in the health sector. About 2,500 and 3,500 public servants have been dismissed. 500,000 people have fallen back below the poverty line.’