Ecuador constantly faces a variety of problems, which is quite typical for a country in Latin America. This time, the most unique and urgent issues are the energy and social ones; these problems are not something new for Ecuador but are quite commonplace. In Ecuador, oil wells have recently stopped working. There have been these precedents before. The second problem is the Indian issue, which the government has not been able to solve for decades.
The main oil company of Ecuador, PetroOriental, said that the work of eight oil wells was suspended because of the seizure by a group of representatives of the Waorani people of the Yavepare community. The incident happened on June 14. Among the affected blocks are blocks 14 and 17, which are located in the province of Orellana. The seizure of the wells occurred against the backdrop of social events. The occupation of the wells occurred as part of social protests organized by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie). In addition, the protesters also took food and provisions, making these national minorities looters in the eyes of ordinary citizens. The technicians at the wells were unsure whether it would be safe to produce oil, and as a result, the wells and equipment were shut down.
The oil supplier claims that activities in this sector, despite military support, could not resume because the access roads were blocked by trenches and trees. It is quite difficult for the police to reach such a fortified place. According to preliminary estimates, the loss from the attack on the oil rigs is estimated at 1,400 barrels per day. If this is converted into dollars, the loss would be more than $1 million a day, a big loss for Ecuador.
On June 13, another oil company, Repsol Petrolia Ecuador, reported that there was a violent seizure of the pumping station of Unit 16 in the province of Orellana; local engineers also had to stop the pump because of tensions in the region. The Ecuadorian government commented on the matter, with the defense minister and the interior minister saying at a press conference that police would soon fix the malfunction. However, social unrest in the country still began in late May, when the president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities called a meeting to give the indigenous peoples back their right to own the country.
In a neighboring region of the country, Indians from Cotopaxi Province began arriving in the capital Quito on the southern roads of Pichincha Province as early as June 14. The same evening, demonstrators drove trucks along Maldonado and Lucia Alban avenues in the Guamani sector. In the Guajalo sector, in the south of Quito, the presence of demonstrators was also recorded. Even shopping malls began to evacuate visitors and close their doors in the face of these movements, and public transportation stopped working.
Social protests intensified a day later, after the leader of the Conaie movement, Leonidas Isa, was detained early in the morning in the province of Cotopaxi, which only made the protesters angrier. Police reported that he had been detained on charges of sedition, and he was known to be in custody at Latacunga Airport. This came after Indians attempted to enter the Cotopaxi prison, where Isa had been transferred earlier to free him.
The municipality of Quito reports that several roads and neighborhoods were blocked.
The Ecuadorian case is a closed chain of conflict or a conflict that reproduces itself: different social groups seek justice, which results in mass disturbances that are not without victims.
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