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Conaie will join talks with the government on November 10th, but puts forth demands

Published on November 09, 2021

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The indigenous organization asks that the meeting be public.

“We ratify our political will for dialogue, as a mechanism for the demands of the social sectors to be heard,” said Leonidas Iza, leader of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie).

With that message, he announced that he will resume the dialogue with the government of President Guillermo Lasso this Wednesday, November 10th. However, the indigenous movement established a condition for sitting at the table: that the dialogue be open and public.

Representatives from Conaie, the Unitary Workers’ Front, the Popular Front, the Council of Evangelical Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of Ecuador, the National Confederation of Peasant, Indigenous and Black Organizations, and the Plurinational Parliament of Peoples will participate in the dialogue with the government.

The Extended Council of Conaie, which includes the representatives of the Confederation of Peoples of the Kichwa Nationality of Ecuador (Ecuarunari), the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Coast (Conaie), put forth various resolutions.

Among them are:

  • Conaie supports the protest actions on October 26th, 27th and 28th throughout the country.
  • Iza rejected what he called “the violence and repression exerted by the police and military force” against those whom, the organization maintained, “demonstrated, exercising the right to resist economic measures.”
  • Conaie also resolved to activate what it called a “Vigil for Dialogue” on November 10th, “through peaceful actions from the territories, we will ensure real and timely responses to our demands.”
  • Conaie “exhorted” the government to clarify the allegations against President Guillermo Lasso in the Pandora Papers case before the National Assembly. The indigenous movement says that the executive cannot continue to excuse itself in accusations of “triumvirates, destabilization and coups d’état every time it is motivated to tell the truth.”

In addition, Conaie ratified six demands that it presented last October 4th:

  • Review of the price of fuel and repeal of the decree that controls its price.
  • Moratorium, debt renegotiation and reduction of interest rates in the financial system.
  • Guarantee substantiation prices and public purchases of peasant products, with public policies agreed to with social sectors and the indigenous movement for the generation of decent employment and curb job insecurity.
  • Moratorium on the expansion of the extractive and oil frontier, auditing of the socio-environmental and ethnic impacts of the projects in execution, and the stoppage of open-pit mining projects and the execution of mega-mining projects.
  • Full guarantee of compliance and validity of collective rights, binding prior consultation, formalization and protection of territory and self-determination.

Lasso, questioned by comments on indigenous leaders

Despite the opening of the dialogue of the indigenous movement, there is tension between the government and Conaie. On November 4th, President Lasso said, in dialogue with the international media BBC Mundo, that he is not willing to meet with the president of Conaie, Leoindas Iza. “Mr. Iza is a coup plotter. And a democratic president cannot speak or negotiate with a coup plotter who emulates the Joker character from Batman,” he said. In addition, Lasso said that Iza “only promotes the destruction of everything that exists.”

Iza, who is known for leading the 2019 national strike that led to the repeal of the removal of fuel subsidies, urged indigenous grassroots to continue the protest. “We are calling for a demonstration, not a destabilization, ” Iza said days before the strike he called began.

Unlike the strike of 2 years ago, the mobilizations of October 26th and 28th were of a very moderate intensity. Even so, police attacks were reported against several protesters in different parts of the country. There were also several journalists who were injured. One died after falling out of a truck while covering a march. Several social organizations denounced arbitrary detentions, and at least five policemen were injured by violent protesters.

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