Ecuador. The growing exchange rate crisis to which
Ecuador's currency sucre was exposed in 1999 (the dollar
quadrupled in value) led to a dramatic event in the first
days of the year. After succeeding in losing 20% of its
value in just one week, on January 9, President Jamil Mahuad
took the drastic step of completely replacing the national
currency with the US dollar as a means of payment.
COUNTRYAAH, the immediate consequence was that the capital Quito on
January 21 was taken in by thousands of Indians organized by
the chief opponent of the government's policy, the Indian
organization Conaie, and which occupied the palace of
Congress, demanded the resignation of the president and
established a "people's parliament". A triumvirate
consisting of Conai's leader, the commander-in-chief and the
chairman of the Supreme Court stood at the head of a
"national rescue government".
However, a constitutional compromise was soon reached by
taking over the presidential post by Vice President Gustavo
Noboa, who has also gone ahead with implementing the
currency reform. However, its main purpose, forcing
inflation from 60% to 10%, was not immediately achieved, but
instead led to a price increase of 50-300%, as trade sought
to set the value of the new fixed exchange rate against the
dollar (25,000 sucres) as a low price.
It also led to a reversal in public opinion - hitherto
fairly positive to the dollarization, since it only
formalized a situation that has long prevailed - but of a
temporary nature. For example, Conaie has failed to get a
great hearing for their calls for strikes and demonstrations
for the rest of the year.
Following Ecuador's tumultuous dollarization, discussions
on similar measures have gained momentum in several other
countries, including Argentina and El Salvador.
The state continued its practice of issuing fines to the
media for a variety of violations. In May 2015, a fine of US
$ 3,540 was issued to La Hora newspaper for failing
to cover a public event attended by the Mayor of Loja and
which the authorities believed was of public interest. The
daily refused to pay the fine. As in Brazil, the bourgeoisie
used its control over the media to undermine the president
and the incumbent government. In other words, there was a
conflict between the concern for freedom of the press and
the state's right to protect itself from undermining
Pope Frans visited Ecuador in July. A visit that drew
hundreds of thousands to his public worship services in
Quito and Guayaquil.
In April 2016, leaders of Ecuador's Indigenous Peoples
Organizations were given priority over the Inter-American
Human Rights Organization, criticizing the state's
restrictions on their right to organize.
That same month, the country was hit by an earthquake in
the northwest. The quake had a strength of 7.8 on the
Richter scale. At least 676 were killed and 16,600 injured.
It was the worst earthquake in the country since 1949.
Authorities estimated that the damage ran up to $ 3 billion.
In September, the authorities disbanded the teachers'
union (UNE), arguing that it had not registered its main
In December, the conflict between authorities and the
Shuar people peaked. This time it was about the Shuar
people's opposition to a mining project in Morona Santiago.
Following a series of violent clashes and harassment by the
authorities, the authorities declared a state of emergency
in the area and arrested the chairman of the
Inter-Provincial Association of Shuarcentre, Agustín