Ecuador (MNN) — As described here, Ecuador protests indicate yet another South American nation is starting to unravel. Ecuador’s president declared a state of emergency, then moved the capital last week from Quito to a coastal city amid escalating demonstrations.
Sixto Gamboa oversees Compassion International’s work in Ecuador. He says protests are affecting their programs nationwide. “Since we’re in different places in the country, we have to depend on regular transportation,” Gamboa says.
“During the whole week, [there] has been no transportation. So, no transportation [means] no way to take things into the community, or get things out of the community.”
Price spike triggers Ecuador protests
Union workers began protesting on October 3 after President Lenín Moreno removed fuel subsidies in exchange for help from the International Monetary Fund, the Associated Press reports.
According to DW, the decision increased fuel prices by 120%. Nearly one-quarter of Ecuador’s population exists on less than $5.50 USD each day, making a spike of this size difficult to manage. Most people simply want the government “to go back to where we were” before the October 3 decision, Gamboa says.
However, Moreno refuses to budge, which filled last week with tension.
On Tuesday, Moreno imposed a nightly curfew after protestors clashed with security forces inside a parliamentary building. The following day, thousands gathered in the streets of Quito for anti-government rallies. Some protestors kidnapped police officers but then released them the next morning. Hundreds of indigenous people from the Amazon reportedly joined demonstrations in Quito on Friday.
Gamboa prays for peace as a new week begins, and he remains optimistic. “Things may get better… we may be able to move and go with our personnel or the church team to the communities,” he says.
When protests interfere with public transportation, it does more than limit believers’ abilities to move from city to city. It means kids don’t get the benefits normally provided by Compassion’s programs.
“If they’re not able to come [to Compassion’s centers] they’re not getting all the support, and they’re not getting a meal,” Gamboa explains. “They’re not growing…during the week. So, there is a problem.”
Compassion partners with 280 churches throughout Ecuador to help nearly 100,000 kids escape poverty in Jesus’ name. Compassion helped Ruth become a successful young business owner; you can read her story here.
Now that you know, what will you do? Gamboa requests prayer for his nation.
“This is a time for the Church to wake up. This is a time for Christian leaders to raise their voice,” he says.
“This is a time for the Church in Ecuador to be what the Lord said to be: salt and light of the world.”
Praise God that protests have not turned deadly, and pray for a solution that brings peace to both sides. Pray Compassion and its church partners can restart their programs and begin functioning as normal.
Consider giving to Compassion’s Disaster Relief Fund. Whether inclement weather or mankind cause a crisis, Compassion provides physical and spiritual support to affected families. Learn more or donate online here.
Header image courtesy of Compassion International.