Ecuador's government and the country's main Indigenous group have reached an agreement to end 18 days of often violent strikes that had virtually paralyzed the country and killed at least four people.
The deal, which includes a decrease in fuel price and other concessions, was signed by government minister Francisco Jimenez, Indigenous leader Leonidas Iza and the head of the Episcopal Conference, Monsignor Luis Cabrera, who acted as mediator.
The agreement on Thursday sets out that gasoline prices will decrease 15c to US$2.40 a gallon, and diesel prices will also decline the same amount, from $1.90 a gallon to $1.75.
The deal also limits the expansion of oil exploration areas and prohibits mining activity in protected areas, national parks, and water sources.
The government now has 90 days to deliver solutions to the demands of the Indigenous groups, the Guardian reports.
The 18-day strike has dramatically halted Ecuador's economy. We have reported how the road blockades meant a $2 million daily loss to the flower industry solely. An estimated 86% of the impact was concentrated on flowers, bananas, and broccoli. Floriculture is the most affected by the national strike with $34.7 million in losses, followed by bananas with $32 million, according to Fedexpor.
The oil industry got the toughest blow, with the state-run oil company reporting a loss of 1.99 mln bbl of oil output during the protest.
Even though some of the social issues have been temporarily settled for the next 90 days, the problem is not over, as political issues keep making daily life in Ecuador quite tough, New Bloom Solutions reports. "Farms will be off-cycle as plantings, spraying, and general crop maintenance has been underperformed at many farms because it was not safe for labor to come to work. We may see repercussions of this strike for many months to come."