Miriam Moreno and her two sons begin their work day every morning at 1 am local time. They bag potatoes and travel from from the Northern province of Imbabura to sell their products in the wholesale market of Ecuador’s capital, Quito.
However, a national strike, which was unsuccessfully called for by opposition groups last Wednesday, has sought to block highways and prevent the transport of goods and people. The action would undoubtedly have a negative impact on the lives of millions of Ecuadoreans like Moreno if it had been successful.
Ecuador’s traditional right-wing opposition groups, joined by some Indigenous sectors, have rallied against the administration of President Rafael Correa in recent weeks, demanding the government scrap two new tax laws that redistribute wealth and repeal water and land laws. The protests have often led to violent clashes with police.
For now though, Moreno says that she and her family are unaffected by the opposition’s tactics, and continue selling their goods wihout interruption.
“The strike has not affected us in anyway. We get there in the morning, and our products arrive on time, and with efficiency,” Moreno told telesur English. “It’s already 8 a.m. in the morning and we still have our goods,” she added while unpacking her produce.
Opposition Indigenous organizations and trade unionists, aligned with right-wing sectors, have led the recent demonstrations and maintain that the strike will continue.
Responding to government officials who have labeled the strike's efforts to disrupt national production a failure, the opposition has said that they will work to intensify actions and shut down factories.
“They have told us that this is not a strike, because we have not closed factories. So we are saying to them that we will continue preparing for this. That if you want this, we will continue preparing this strike,” said Mesias Tatmuez, president of the opposition-aligned, National United Collective of Workers, Indigenous and Social Organizations (Cedocut).
Meanwhile, other Indigenous organizations and trade unions from across the country have resoundly rejected the opposition's call for a continued strike.
Instead they opted to participate in the National Dialogue for Equality and Social Justice, a series of mediating dialogues held around the country and sponsored by the government. These groups have maintained the most effective and peaceful way to resolve differences is through dialogue.
“Today legislators and the national leadership of the United Workers Confederation (CUT) have called on the President of the Republic to ratify these agreements and the necessary procedures that follow,” said Richard Gomez of the CUT to the press,
“And if this means that laws are changed, that current laws are reformed, then that would imply another process which would mean reforming two articles with the active participation of our base,” he said, adding, “Today the United Front has said that the dialogue is useless, that it is bad to sit down with the national government to discuss issues, and that there is a lack of seriousness. We are showing them once again, that we are serious.”
While the strike is set to continue, with more protests expected tonight, members of the governing PAIS Alliance Party, social movements and citizens have committed themselves to holding a permanent vigil in front of the Carondelet Presidential Palace. They will be there, rejecting the recent bouts of violence in the protests, to show their support for the government.