‘Gasolinazo': Ecuadorians march against President Daniel Noboa's raised gasoline prices

Posters with slogans against the Government of Daniel Noboa during the mobilization in Quito, Ecuador, on July 4, 2024 reading “Noboa is hunger” and “defending life is not terrorism.” To “defend life” means to safeguard safety amid ongoing insecurity in the country. On January 9, 2024, President Daniel Noboa declared by Decree No. 110 and 111 the “State of War” against terrorism. In addition, he declared 22 criminal groups as “terrorists,” being priority military targets. Noboa has called “terrorists” those who opposed his Popular Consultation initiative that sought law reforms for security, labor and international arbitration issues. He won only 9 of 11 questions on security issues. Photo by Gina Yauri, used with permission.

On Thursday, July 4, 2024, social organizations gathered in Quito to march against fuel price increases.

The demonstration was led by the National Union of Educators (UNE), the Workers Unitary Front (FUT), the Popular Front, the Federation of Students of Ecuador (FEUE), the Federation of Secondary Students of Ecuador (FESE), the National Union of Workers, Self-Employed Workers, the Unitary Commission of Neighborhoods of Ecuador, retirees, Peasant Social Security, doctors, oil industry workers, Women for Change, the Popular Committee November 15, the Regional Confederation of Free Workers (FERETRAL), and the Ecuadorian Confederation of Free Trade Union Organizations (Ceosl).

#Quito | Images of the march against the increase in gasoline prices.

Social organizations marched through the streets of the capital with chants, songs, posters and banners to shout the slogan “Unite yourselves people, unite to fight against this neoliberal government,” because of the application of the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund by the last three governments of Lenin Moreno, Guillermo Lasso, and Daniel Noboa. Current president Daniel Noboa has not dissociated himself from the neoliberal line and follows IMF policies: increasing taxes and reducing the state to the minimum.

On June 26, 2024, Noboa issued Executive Decree No. 308 establishing an increase in the price of octane gasoline. Thus, as of June 28, the new gasoline prices without state subsidy went into effect.

Gasoline went from USD 2.465 to USD 2.722 a gallon, which means an increase of USD 0.26 effective in the month of July. Afterwards, the government will standardize prices according to the international value of oil. In other words, the price of gasoline may increase up to 5 percent or decrease up to 10 percent per month.

In addition, on April 1, 2024, Noboa decreed an increase from 12 percent to 15 percent of the value-added tax (VAT) on a “temporary” basis. The justification for this increase, according to the decree, is “to confront the internal armed conflict” decreed last January 9, 2024.

Noboa defended his economic measure based on the Organic Law to Confront the Internal Armed Conflict, the Social and Economic Crisis, which authorizes the Executive to modify the VAT rate based on a favorable report from the Ministry of Economy and Finance. On March 12 of this year, this ministry issued a favorable resolution.

Demonstrators asked the government of Daniel Noboa to reverse the increase in fuel prices. The protest march reached the Plaza de Santo Domingo where they were met with a strong police guard. They were not allowed to continue to the Carondelet Palace.

However, the president was outside the country. He traveled to Peru for a presidential meeting.


At around 6:30 p.m., the Plaza de Santo Domingo was cleared of protesters after the National Police intervened to disperse the marchers.

Demonstrators’ reactions

For the collective Acción Antifacista, the economic measures affect everyone.  They say:

Así que en ese sentido, creemos que esta es una convocatoria amplia para todos los sectores y en todos los sentidos, a gente y a población que nos afecta desde distintas maneras todas las políticas que este gobierno, a continuidad de los dos gobiernos previos, ha tenido en tanto que priorizar el pago de la deuda externa antes que invertir en política pública y dedicarse a pensar mejor la inversión social.

So, in this sense, we believe that this is a broad call for all sectors and in all respects, for people and the population that are affected in different ways by all the policies that this government, in line with the two previous governments, has had in terms of prioritizing the payment of the foreign debt rather than investing in public policy and dedicating itself to better thinking about social investment.

For Andrés Quisphe, President of the National Union of Educators, the increase in gasoline prices increases the cost of living. He says:

Sube la gasolina, sube todo. El Banco Central ha señalado que al momento que se quitan los subsidios, más de 900 mil personas ingresarán a la pobreza. Como el presidente no va a los mercados, no sabe que ya subió la papa, el arroz y las carnes. Por lo cual, toda la cadena productiva se carece al momento en que suben los combustibles.

[If] gasoline goes up, everything goes up. The Central Bank has indicated that when the subsidies are removed, more than 900,000 people will fall into poverty. Since the president does not go to the market, he does not know that the prices of potatoes, rice and meat have already gone up. As a result, the entire production chain is affected when fuel prices go up.


On the other hand, the freight industry did not join the national mobilization called by the UNE and the FUT because they reached an agreement with the government. After conversations with Minister of Transportation and Public Works Roberto Luque, Minister of Government Micheli Sensi-Contugi, Director of the National Transit Agency (ANT) Alejandro Lascano, the carriers agreed to a permanent security council and the waiver of VAT on goods for the benefit of the transportation sector.

In addition, the powerful indigenous movement (CONAIE) did not join the mobilization. They will reach a decision with their grassroot members in an extended council in the coming days, as announced by their president Leonidas Iza.

In previous governments, the attempt to partially or totally eliminate fuel subsidies caused road closures and strong mobilizations in the country led by CONAIE. This had led Lenin Moreno (2017–2021) and Guillermo Lasso (2021–2023) to backtrack on their economic measures.

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