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Crisis in Ecuador: Why was the state of emergency declared?

Ecuador is going through a social crisis that has led to the arrest of more than 350 people protesting and it is now in state of emergency.

President of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno.

President of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno. / Photo: Presidency

LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez

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Leer en español: Crisis en Ecuador: ¿Por qué se declaró el estado de excepción?

After a decree that affects the price of gasoline entered into force, the streets of Ecuador became a scene of protest and this led to the president declaring a state of emergency

Initially, the news of a decree that began to prevail at dawn on October 3 did not please many sectors of the country. In this, gasoline subsidies would be reduced, increasing the cost to the population. Therefore, transporters were the first to call the country to a strike, which ended hours later in a National strike that has had protests, vandalism, clashes and much chaos in the streets.

According to RT, with the decision that has alarmed the country, “extra gas and ecopais went from 1.85 dollars to 2.39 per gallon; Meanwhile, diesel rose from $ 1.03 to 2.29 (123%)”. The measure has been called by detractors as a "paquetazo"(pack).

The measure, agreed by President Lenin Moreno, took place after the National strike went out of control, and decreed it with the intention of "establishing the entire National territory as a security zone," says the document. Prior to declaring the state of emergency, the Government had issued a statement requesting the protests to be peaceful and take place within the framework of the law. Seeing how the riots escalated, the presidency decided to issue the state of emergency.

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The state of exception can be ruled by the president in times of public calamity, natural disasters, internal commotion or other critical moments that may jeopardize the safety and life of citizens. Depending on each Constitution, this decree grants certain powers to act in times of crisis.

According to the newspaper Metro Ecuador, in the case of the Latin American country, the decree allows the following:

  1. Decree the anticipated collection of taxes

  2. Use public funds for other purposes, except those for health and education.

  3. Move the government headquarters to any place in the national territory.

  4. Provide prior censorship in the information of the social media with strict relation to the reasons for the state of emergency and the security of the State.

  5. Establish as a security zone all or part of the national territory.

  6. Arrange for the employment of the Armed Forces and the National Police and call the entire reserve or a part of it, as well as the personnel of other institutions.

  7. Arrange for the closure or authorization of ports, airports and border crossings.

  8. Arrange the necessary mobilization and requisitions, and decree the national demobilization, when normality is restored.

As part of the precautionary measures, President Moreno said he will work hand in hand with the Ministry of Defense to "guarantee the integrity and peaceful coexistence of Ecuadorians."

The national strike ended in clashes between police and protesters. As a result, there have been injured people, including journalists and cameramen who were covering the riots.

“I want to state that thanks to the intervention of the armed forces and the police, they have made common cause with this great purpose of the country to recover peace and calm. After the state of exception was declared, the action has been quite effective, ”said Lenín Moreno.

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During the strike, groups from different sectors of the country have tried to meet with the president to discuss various aspects. However, the government said it has exhausted dialogue resources with some sectors, including transporters.

For its part, the latter guild, who called the strike, have said they will not leave the strike until the decree on gasoline is remedied. Despite this threat, Moreno has been firm about the decision and reaffirmed that the decree will continue.

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