QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso should be less focused on following International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies if he is to fix the economic and social problems his people live each day, indigenous protest leader Leonidas Iza said on Friday.

CONAIE, Ecuador's largest indigenous organization, launched protests on Monday. Demonstrators blocked roads across the country in opposition to Lasso's social and economic policies, demanding gasoline price freezes, a halt to further mining and oil projects, and more time for small farmers to pay their bank loans.

CONAIE leader Iza told Reuters in an interview that indigenous protesters believed the script imposed by the IMF was too "rigorously" followed by the government and was worsening the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the country's poor.

Ecuador's

Ecuador should follow its own path, not IMF’s, says protest leader

QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso should be less focused on following International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies if he is to fix the economic and social problems his people live each day, indigenous protest leader Leonidas Iza said on Friday.

CONAIE, Ecuador’s largest indigenous organization, launched protests on Monday. Demonstrators blocked roads across the country in opposition to Lasso’s social and economic policies, demanding gasoline price freezes, a halt to further mining and oil projects, and more time for small farmers to pay their bank loans.

CONAIE leader Iza told Reuters in an interview that indigenous protesters believed the script imposed by the IMF was too “rigorously” followed by the government and was worsening the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s poor.

Ecuador’s presidency was not immediately available to comment.

Ecuador’s $6.5 billion deal with the IMF wraps up this year. The plan agreed with the multinational organization has included tax hikes, eliminating subsidies, and greater coverage of economic help for vulnerable sectors.

However, IMF policies to improve the country’s fiscal deficit, international reserves and risk do not live up to reality on the ground, Iza said.

“The government wants to govern by fixating on positive numbers,” he said.

Lasso has called for dialogue amid the unrest, while also threatening the use of force to tamp down the protests, which have led to shortages of some products.

Some sectors of society are feeling more benefit than others from Lasso’s policies, Iza said, adding that proposals made by indigenous communities would share the burden fairly.

“Nobody wants to ignore the crisis that the Ecuadorian state faces, but we must understand that the crisis affects everyone,” he said.

Protests will continue until Lasso responds to the indigenous requests, Iza said.

“It’s still in the president’s hands,” he said.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)



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