In Ecuador, scarcity is beginning to be felt

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Quito (AFP) – Rising prices, deficits, lonely markets: In Ecuador, 14 days after locals began protesting against the high cost of living, the consequences are beginning to be felt in the economy as well as in the daily lives of residents. .

Rotten pepper powder in the hands of Mariana Morales. A week later, the businessman is frustrated that he has not been able to open his stall at the popular Santa Clara market in northern Quito.

Where once fruits and vegetables used to overflow, the Santa Clara market is now nothing more than an empty tray and stall covered with tarpaulin.

400 km away, Guayaquil (southwest), the country’s second largest city and economic capital, the supply of Andean food like potatoes and maize is already low.

“The situation is difficult because there is no one to bring food from the highlands,” said Roza, an indigenous woman who has been selling vegetables at the port market for 15 years.

According to police, about 14,000 indigenous protesters have come together to protest against the expense of growing living and especially fuel prices.

If all eyes are on the capital, where their numbers are thought to be close to 10,000, with daily clashes with police for a week, numerous checkpoints and barricades block the country’s main roads, especially the navel cord of the Panamericans. .

Police in riot gear stormed a rally on June 25, 2022, in front of the National Assembly, removing hundreds of protesters by truck. Rodrigo Buendিয়াa AFP

– End of sale-

Since the start of this road blockade, Terminal de Transfrancias de Vivares (TTV), the only wholesale market in Guayaquil, has been out of stock.

Every day, this supply center typically receives about 3,000 truckloads of food from the Andean highlands, a reduction of about 70%.

In Quito, whose main entrances are occasionally blocked, authorities are trying to get trucks under the protection of the army and police. Seventeen soldiers were wounded in the attack on one of the convoys on Thursday.

Like the other five markets in the capital, Santa Clara Market, due to its proximity to one of the protest hotspots, had to be closed for four days and partially resumed its activities on Saturday.

(File photo) Inner view of the Inaquito market north of Quito, partially closed due to an indigenous protest movement against the high cost of living, June 23, 2022
(File photo) Inner view of the Inaquito market north of Quito, partially closed due to an indigenous protest movement against the high cost of living, June 23, 2022 Rodrigo Buendিয়াa AFP / Archives

“The pepper was brand new and now it’s lost,” Mrs. Morales is digging her fingers into her rotten vegetable. The 69-year-old woman did not go to the wholesale market to stockpile due to the price explosion. “A bag of carrots cost $ 25 which now costs $ 100,” the shopkeeper laughs.

Rising food prices are also affecting consumers, who find it difficult to carry products such as eggs, chicken and cooking gas.

Mrs Morales said it gave her a “bad conscience” to take dollars from customers for an onion stalk.

“Everything costs a lot more. Before, I used to sell a kilo of tomatoes for 0.50, now it costs me a dollar,” explains Silvana Quimi, a housewife in Guayaquil, where food prices have doubled in a month.

The situation is the same in the capital. A bunch of collars went from one dollar to two dollars. “However, we are in a country that produces bananas. Today they no longer come (to the city), and what is available takes an arm and a leg,” said Augustine Pazmino, a 56-year-old businessman.

A man dressed as the Joker, an American comic book character, demonstrates before the Ecuadorian National Assembly on June 25, 2022 in Quito.
A man dressed as the Joker, an American comic book character, demonstrates before the Ecuadorian National Assembly on June 25, 2022 in Quito. Rodrigo Buendিয়াa AFP

Conservative President Guillermo Lasso, “during the campaign, promised us heaven, but we live in hell”, he complained, regretting the rise in fuel prices like protesters: + 90% for diesel in a year, + 46% for petrol

The government estimates that it is losing 50 50 million a day because of the protests. He argues that the low fuel prices demanded by the natives will cost the state more than বিল 1 billion a year in subsidies.

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