Airport Open as Strike Paralyzes Quito

Photo by Quito International Airport

A national strike has shut down traffic and businesses in Quito, Ecuador, although the airport remains open and flights are continuing. 

In a written statement officials at the Quito International Airport said that the facility has remained open during the previous days of the strike and there have been no flight cancellations or disruptions since Saturday, October 5, as a result of the protests. 

At the same time, officials said that passengers have been arriving at the airport up to 24 hours in advance of their flight because they feared the possibility of a new street closure rendering them unable to get to the airport. The airport’s operating authority has been serving snacks, as well as hot and cold beverages, to these passengers, in addition to offering sleeping bags to those spending the night in the terminal. 

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Reuters reports that the streets of Quito were empty and businesses closed Wednesday due to the strike, which has been taking place for a week since Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno cut fuel subsidies in order to secure a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Thus far authorities have arrested nearly 700 people over the dispute, and strike leaders have vowed to continue until the order ending the fuel subsidies is repealed. 

According to CNN, President Moreno relocated the government to the southern city of Guayaquil on Tuesday, after defense officials said that the military had to rescue more than 50 of its members being held hostage by the protestors. 

On Tuesday the U.S. Embassy issued a travel alert, warning U.S. citizens to reconsider travel within and between Ecuador’s cities and provinces, as well as to urge them to ensure that they have adequate supplies of food, water and fuel. Travelers are advised to register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive safety updates. 

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