Ecuador, a time bomb with four fuses (Opinion)


Publisher’s note: Rodrigo Jordan has a degree in Social Communication since 2003 and a master’s degree in Communication Projects from the University of Navarra in Spain. He is a consultant in Strategic Dissemination and Crisis Management and CEO of Rojo.Com and Hypermedia, communication consulting agencies with operations in Latin America. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. You can find more opinion pieces at CNNe.com/opinion.

(CNN Spanish) — Precisely in these weeks, Ecuador has once again become the classic Latin American example of high social upheaval and political instability.

The country relived the script born in the 1990s: closed roads, food shortages, lack of fuel, deadly attacks by protesters on the military and police, state repression, deaths and thousands of rural protesters mobilized and entrenched in Quito, capital of the republic and seat of state.

All this, with the same enemies as always: the current government versus the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), which –every two years, on average– threatens to destabilize the acting president if he does not accede to their social demands. .

In the 2022 edition of this fight, and a few days ago, the country seemed to be heading in the direction of doing without another president: this time, the newly elected Guillermo Lasso, who has barely been in power for a year and a month.

This fact, for many, revived the nightmare of holding, as a nation, the record of having had 10 presidents in nine years, as happened between 1996 and 2005.

On June 28, after 16 days of indigenous uprising and a motion for dismissal from the National Assembly due to serious internal commotion, Lasso managed to stay in office, thanks to the fact that the political opposition failed to add the necessary votes to take the country to early elections.

The strike ended and now there are efforts at dialogue with the mediation of the Catholic Church.

Many analysts say that, although the president of the republic saved the post today, his mandate is very weak because he has a majority opposition Legislative Power and a negative management rating, on a national scale, of 71.18% and falling. And of course, he still has almost three years left in his constitutional term.

But beyond the analysis of the situation, what we must understand is why the current crisis was seen coming from the end of 2021 and why the Ecuador of this time is a bomb with four fuses.

o Wick 1: The existence of alarming rates of poverty and extreme poverty in the rural sector.

o Wick 2: The persistence of unsustainable rates of post-pandemic unemployment and informality.

o Wick 3: The record of high inflation rates, never seen before since 2015.

o Mecha 4: A very serious distrust of the citizens in the main democratic institutions.

At the beginning of 2022, the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC) revealed that in the rural sector, where the majority of indigenous communities live, poverty reached 42.4% and extreme poverty 20.3%. In other words, almost 63% of the 6.5 million people living in the countryside live on less than US$86 a month of income. (in the INEC document)

This without taking into account that 65% of indigenous children live in poverty.

On the other hand, the INEC has confirmed that, although unemployment has receded a little at the beginning of 2022, only 3 out of 10 people in the economically active population have a formal job; the rest live in informality.

Inflation is also heading to affect more and more the purchasing power of the population, given the unusual rates it has reached since 2015. In May 2022, according to the INEC, annual inflation reached 3.38%.

Finally, Ecuador is a country in which many citizens believe that the State is their worst enemy. Thus, only 2 out of 10 Ecuadorians trust the probity of their judges and the work of the National Assembly. Only 3 out of 10 citizens believe that the work of the State Attorney General’s Office, the Constitutional Court, the Judicial Council, the National Court of Justice and the National Electoral Council is acceptable. In the case of the Comptroller General of the State, only 2 out of 10 citizens trust its work. All this according to ClickReport studies.

With this X-ray, it is not so complex to predict an Ecuador of very high risk for 2022 and 2023, when families – more and more each day – will have to survive in a country that could be too suffocating, hostile and without opportunities. How long will those most affected endure?



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