In early October, a wave of protests swept the streets of Ecuador against cuts in gasoline subsidies and, consequently, rising costs of living. This has become the country’s largest popular uprising in decades. Indigenous marches arrived in Quito, the capital, and occupied the Parliament building; thousands of protesters confronted President Lenín Moreno’s police forces, forcing the government to relocate its headquarters to try to escape the insurrection. Moreno is the successor to and former vice president of the leftist Rafael Correa, who rode to power on the momentum of the social movements of the 1990s and ruled the country from 2007 on, implementing the same neoliberal model for pacifying and co-opting social movements applied by other left governments in Latin America like the Workers Party (PT) in Brazil. The convergence of various rural, city, student, women, and indigenous groups has contributed to radicalizing a struggle that is now becoming a popular uprising.
On Monday morning, October 14, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador announced that the president had backed down and agreed to repeal the decree 883, the austerity bill (known as the paquetazo, package), and replace it with new agreements to be build with indigenous movements. But the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) announced that the struggle continues, demanding the departure of the Ministers of Defense and Interior, who were responsible for the violent repression of the protests.
We conducted this interview on October 10, directly with comrades on the barricades in the streets of Ecuador, in order to understand the background of the mobilization. An earlier version of this interview appeared in Portuguese via Facção Fictícia.