The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, accepted the resignation of the ministers of Economy, Health and Transport. The resignations take place shortly after Lasso faced an indigenous and peasant mobilization against the government’s economic management, which lasted 18 days and ended with six people dead and more than 500 injured.
Lasso swore in the new holders of those portfolios on Tuesday. Pablo Arosemena, former governor of the province of Guayas, is the new Minister of Economy and Finance. Darío Herrera, real estate businessman, will go to Transportation. In Housing, the architect María Gabriela Aguilera, who held the position of deputy minister, will remain. Andrea Montalvo will be in charge of the Secretary of Higher Education. Lasso left pending the appointment of who will be in charge of the Ministry of Health, after the resignation yesterday of Ximena Garzón.
The appointment of Pablo Arosemena in Economy, a businessman from the area of commerce, can be read as a shift in economic policy. The Government could advance after his appointment with a tax reduction policy. “Commerce can’t stand more taxes,” said Arosemena in 2017.
The new Minister of Economy is part of the Fundación Ecuador Libre, the organization that Guillermo Lasso created to put together his government plan, according to the Ecuadorian media The universe. He is an economist, specialized in Administration, in September 2021 he became governor of Guayas, where he had to respond to the prison riots.
In his speech, Lasso said that the changes “have not been forced by particular situations or circumstances” but by “the orderly fulfillment of stages, which require different types of leadership.” The political crisis opened by the more than two weeks of national strike ended with the commitment to analyze in dialogue tables the ten demands proposed by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie).
The dialogue progresses
The Government of Ecuador and the indigenous movements will meet on Thursday in Quito to define the dialogue roadmap, after the agreement that put an end to the protests. This was confirmed on Tuesday by the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference in a statement. “We trust that this process of dialogue, discernment and decision-making will help us build together an Ecuador of brotherhood, justice, equity,” he says.
Conaie’s agreement with the government included a reduction in the price of subsidized gasoline and Lasso’s commitment to stop the expansion of oil and mining activities in indigenous territories, especially in the Amazon. The demands also denounced the deterioration in the health system and the lack of medicines and supplies in the State care units. During the protest, Lasso declared an emergency in the health sector.