Minister of Social Welfare orders water and food suspension for the natives
Manuel Salgado Tamayo
Tonight I found out, with profound indignation, that the Minister of Social Welfare, lawyer Raúl Patiño, has tried to prevent the World-wide Food Program (office in Quito) of the UN, from giving 7,000 food rations for the indigenas families who are in the Salesiana University, arguing that "there does not exist in that place a humanitarian problem but a political attitude". To make matters worse, it was suggested to me that Minister Patiño would be at the front of a group of high civil employees of that same <portfolio> who would have ordered the suspension of the service of potable water and they would have infiltrated in the mentioned University to ensure that the government is kept informed of everything that happens inside.
Among the informants would be the doctor, Raul Trujillo, the architect, Luis Pacheco, among others.
Those of us that know the precarious situation, nutritional, sanitary and of health in which the thousands of natives, mainly young, old women struggle and, who, justly protest at the University, cannot remain quiet faced with this infamy and the least we ought to demand is the immediate dismissal of this civil employee.
Manuel Salgado Tamayo
THE APDH OF ECUADOR SHARES WITH YOU THIS DISQUIETING DENUNCIATION, DECLARES THAT BY OTHER SOURCES IT RECEIVED SIMILAR INFORMATION AND NOTICES THAT IT WILL PROMOTE A NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN OF PUBLIC REPUDIATION AGAINST THE TYPE OF ATTITUDE OF THE CIVIL EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT OF DR GUSTAVO NOBOA. IT WORRIES ABOUT HIS TOTAL LACK OF SCRUPLES: THE UNPUNISHED CASE OF ELECTRONIC INTELLIGENCE AND TELEPHONE ENQUIRY DENOUNCED AGAINST JUAN JOSE VIVAS, MEMBER OF THE INTIMATE CIRCLE OF THE PRESIDENT, WHO WAS QUALIFIED AS "THE CREOLE MONTESINOS" BY AN EX-LAWYER, DR OSVALDO HURTADO LARREA, THAT MUST MAKE US REMEMBER THE MAXIM OF BRECHT: "THE GREATEST CRIME OF A HUMAN BEING IS TO REMAIN NEUTRAL".
Government decrees emergency before protests
The government of President Gustavo Noboa last night put in effect a state of emergency throughout the country, through decree 1214, in order to face the rise of natives and farmers and announced a general work lock-out for the next Wednesday. Through this measure the regime declared as a security zone all the territory of the Republic, which authorizes the government to arrange the mobilization, the demobilization and the requisitions that are necessary.
The emergency was established in the terms anticipated in articles 54 and 55 of the National Security Law and the regulation of the public forces for "restoring the conditions that the citizenship requires for the normal development of its activities". The Presidency announced that while the emergency lasts the rights established in the numerals 12, 14 and 19 of the article 23 of the Constitution remain suspended, affecting the inviolability of the home, of the free transit of the people through the country and the freedom of free association. The execution of this decree entered into force from last night without detriment of its publication in the Official Registry. The ones in charge of implementing this decree are the ministers of Government, Police, and National Defense. With this declaration expressed by President Noboa, the police and the Armed Forces are empowered to inspect and register without authorization and to impede freedom of people and of association and of meeting.
Natives announced total uprising
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) announced yesterday that it will not continue the dialogue with the Government, because President Gustavo Noboa has refused to talk directly with the leaders of the protest. The President of Conaie, Antonio Vargas, observed that the "popular uprising" will become more radical until the Executive repeals the measures of December. "We have given a proposal to the Government, but he does not give indications that he wants to engage in a dialog. We have requested to engage in a dialog directly with the President of the Republic, that has diminished the proposal", added Vargas when emphasizing that "all the provinces are going rise up nationally, with more force".
Conaie, along with other union and popular fronts, demand the cancellation of the recent measures of adjustment in December by the Executive, that included the increase of the price of gasoline by 65 percent, doubling the value of gas cylinder for domestic use and the increase by 75 percent in the public transport fares. Vargas announced the rupture of the dialogue and the radicalization of the protests in a press conference at the Polytechnical University Salesiana, where 6,000 to 8,000 natives have congregated since the past weekend.
With Vargas' announcement thousands of farmers tried to march through the streets of the capital, in spite of the abundant tear gas launched by the police that have maintained a wall around the University.
"Everything happens in Ecuador is the exclusive responsibility of the national Government. We have made an effort to engage in a dialog, but we are not going to fail, we are not going to genuflect to dialogue," emphasized Vargas. The indigenous leader made a call to Ecuadorian society to add themselves to the demonstrations, whose consequences qualify as unpredictable. Vargas assured that, now, Noboa's Government "is falling by his own attitude" and reiterated that Conaie has been ready to engage in a dialog but that Noboa has not accepted that option.
Peguche continues on foot in work lockdown
Otavalo, the president of the water board of the community of Peguche, Marco Barahona, showed that his community is participating in the "foot paralyzations", inasmuch as the economic measures decreed by the National Government are directly affecting the inhabitants of the sector. It indicated that the population is coordinating actions with the rest of the communities to support the uprising in Pan-America, until achieving the objectives proposed by the indigenous organizations and social movements.
The leader signaled that the community is worried about the distorted information that some mass media have issued without concerning themselves with the truth; harming the image of Peguche; he added that this sector lives on the artisan work and the tourism which is truncated by the employment lock out, nevertheless, he clarified that they have not committed any acts of vandalism, have not dropped tires or thrown stones at cars. Barahona made it clear that they are not in agreement with the work lock-out that is taking place, but this is the only way that the National Government listens to requests of the indigenous movement. At the same time, he emphasized that the community through history has not belonged to any political party, class organization or some provincial federation, but they are present on the highway because they are part of the indigenous people and endorse the mandate of Conaie. Marco Barahona indicated that Peguche always has been valued for its cultural and social order and sport of Otavalo, achieving a great reputation on the international level for the cultural wealth that exists in the sector which is a source of pride for the province, he concluded.
Leaders of corci denounce the military armed attack on natives
Yesterday morning, military of the Yaguachi quarter, jointly with real police, attacked the natives and farmers who were found in the sector taking the highway. According to versions by the leaders of the Corporation of Indigenous Communities in the Ibarra district (Corci), some 50 uniformed men attacked the farmers violently, and without respect to the women and children who were in the sector, they shot their weapons, hurting in the face Rosa Cacuango. The leader, Oswaldo Matango, stated that the military and police sent tear gas bombs to disperse the people, but inexplicably shot without control and detained several militants, among them were: Rosa Cacuango, Laura Túquerez, Mesías Echau, presumed to be wounded, an individual whose name is not known and Manuel Guatemal, who, according to witnesses, were removed from his home and beaten savagely by the uniformed men.
Without explanation Guatemal noted that the leadership of Corci was engaging in a dialog with the governor in charge of Imbabura, Jose Moya, on alternatives to the social problem that is being experienced, but, coincidentally at the same time, the members of the Yaguachi quarter brutally attacked the bases that were in the sector of Punguaico. He affirmed that the organization decided to continue with the "paralyzation" of highways, for which reason near 300 people are posted in different sectors like in Esperanza, Rumipamba Bridge, among others. On the other hand, the governor in charge of Imbabura, Jose Moya, accepted that a confrontation occurred, but that more did not pass. While the head of the Yaguachi quarter, César Ortiz, showed that there were six prisoners, one of whom had a broken head.
In Cotacachi demonstrators take political headquarters
Members of the Unorcac and the Federation of Districts took the political headquarters in a peaceful way. Authorities retired without objections.
Several leaders and militants of the Union of Farmer Organizations of Cotacachi and the Federation of Urban Districts took yesterday morning the buildings of the political headquarters of the district. The district leader, Juan Velasco, declared that the seizure was done peacefully, by nearly 50 people, who were posted inside the railing of the Matriz church, the site where the governmental offices are located. He indicated that the Federation of Districts will support this and other measures until necessary as a way to pressure the Central Government to countermand the economic package.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Unorcac, Rolando Chancoso, indicated that this action came after being prepared some time ago, but that yesterday, at 10:00 AM the political chief, Fausto Romero, the municipal commissioner, Balto Cevallos, and the personal administrator, representatives of the Executive, abandoned the offices calmly and without discussion; although the national police were present, there were no confrontations, he said. He stated that there the cotacacheña community is well organized to endorse the mobilization, that it is no longer only the indigenous people, but all urban and rural sectors of the country.
Blanca Chancoso noted that the Pilchibuela- Atuntaqui and Imantag- Atuntaqui highways are completely blockaded, while a large number of militants is endorsing the paralyzation in the Pan-American highway, including the members of the association of municipal employees and the union of the local municipality. The leader stated that yesterday afternoon there was a general assembly in the central courtyard to coordinate future actions and clarified that the Federation of Districts is charged with asking for the collaboration of the citizens for the support of the demonstrators, before which the reaction has been totally positive and in solidarity, he concluded.
The leaders of the committee of the work lockout in Cotacachi, called the urban rural population of the district, to act jointly and organized in measuring the facts that has been carried out during the last two weeks. The president of the committee, Segundo Anrrango, stated that it is important to act in unity inasmuch as the increase [in price] of gas, gasoline and all necessary products, similarly affects all sectors, and the reason why the fight must carry on so that it benefits all, he said. He indicated that an urgent change in security between the natives and mestizos to obtain measures of pressure by the indigenous and social movements in the country, they have the force that is required, and to reach the National Government to pay attention to the demands as a whole for the good of the whole of the Ecuadorian community.
Segundo Anrrango rejected the sacking actions that took place yesterday in Cotacachi, on the part of a group of young indigenous people, inasmuch as this is incorrect and is outside the norms of the protest that is going ahead. Nevertheless, the leader asked for the cooperation of the population of owners of businesses, so that they take care of the public in hours indicated specifically for it, such as in the morning until the 10:00 AM, inasmuch as people exist who, although they are involved in the work lockdown activities, open the doors of their premises in hours that no longer are allowed, which generates the displeasure of those who are participating actively in the paralyzation, he emphasized. This is not a fight between Indians and mestizos, but it is an intercultural struggle of the Ecuadorian people against the economic measures adopted by the National Government of Gustavo Noboa, he concluded.
Through repression they make demands on the government before the UN
The indigenous deputies, Nina Pacari and Gilberto Talahua, jointly with Patricio Pazmiño Freire, of the Center of Economic and Social Rights (CDES), presented yesterday before a representative of the United Nations (UN), a denunciation against the Ecuadorian government for a violation of Human Rights.
The complaint was given to the resident representative of the UN for Ecuador, Asse Smedler, so that it can be sent to Mary Robinson, High Commissioner of the UN for Human Rights, and coordinator of the International Decade for Indigenous People. The denunciation is against president Gustavo Noboa and ministers of Government, Juan Manrique, and Defense, Hugo Unda, who are accused of acts and omissions that violate fundamental rights consecrated in the Constitution and several international treaties like the International Pact of Civil and Political Rights, the American Convention of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of Children, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and Agreement 169 of the International Organization of Work. The denunciation signaled that the violence and repression ordered by the government have injured several natives wounded by bullet, and, close to eight thousand natives surrounded by elements of the National Police and the Army, in the patios of the Polytechnical University Salesiana, between which there are women, children and old people, to whom it has not been permitted for them to receive humanitarian aid, consisting of medicines, clothes, foods and potable water. The denunciation was considered reasonable by the president of the National Commission of Human Rights and member of the Inter-American Commission of Human rights, Julio Prado Vallejo, who days back said "a fervent call to the Government to stop the repression that is indiscriminately carried out by the Police to prevent legitimate demonstrations by indigenous communities that protest the economic measures".
Commission of human rights denounces native repression
The Commission of Solidarity and Human Rights of Imbabura denounced the brutal repression loosed on the part of the military of the Group of Cavalry no. 36 Yaguachi against natives Manuel Guatemal, Laura Maria Túquerez, Jose Mesías Inchau, Luis Alberto Chuquín, Whashington Amaguaña and Rosa Cacuango of the communes of San Clemente, Naranjito, Pucahuaico and La Florida of the Ibarra canton. These people apparently were spectators when the military fired tear gas bombs at those who blocked the highway and to avoid the gas many of them ran and the military proceeded to enter their houses violently and to strike them without compassion. Inchau was removed from his house while he kneaded bread next to his children and was struck all over his body, such that he has a hematoma in his left eye and is injured in the back. The other prisoners were struck, insulted and threatened with guns in their faces and later taken for medical aid to disguise the blows but it was impossible. Two women were attacked by uniformed men without taking into account that are women.
Faced with this situation, the Corsi requested a writ of habeas corpus which was welcomed by the mayor, Mauricio Larrea, and when the Commander of Grupo Yaguachi did not presented the prisoners, the authority proceeded to order the immediate freedom of the prisoners. The Commander did not set them free which constitutes disrespect for the constitution. For that reason, the Commission of Solidarity and Human Rights of Imbabura asked yesterday of the Defender of the People for legal proceeding for this withdrawal of authority and according to the law to dismiss the civil employee who ordered the breaking into the housesof the comuneros, to mistreat the prisoners and failing to fulfill the release order. On the case, explanation was requested of the government of Imbabura where collaborators of the representative of the Executive did not know anything official about this issue. Really, there is no information on this situation.
Radiography of indigenous power in Ecuador
Ecuadorian natives, protagonists of a wave of protests that maintain the government presided over by Gustavo Noboa in check and that the 21st of January of last year was decisive in the insurrection that ended with the government of President Jamil Mahuad, belong to 28 people and nationalities.
The impelling engine of "Indian power" in Ecuador, has been the powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), founded in November 1986 and that little by little has cemented the displeasure of sectors, social groups and unions not pertaining to those communities.
CONAIE is integrated from three organizations: the Confederation of People of the Quichua Nationality of Ecuador (ECUARUNARI, in the mountains, founded in 1980), the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE, founded on 1973), and the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Ecuadorian Coast (COINCE). Although there are no exact numbers, it is estimated that CONAIE represents 3,360,000 natives, a far from negligible number if one considers that 40% of 12.5 million of Ecuadorians are indigenous: they are the shuar, achuar, cofán, siona, secoya, huaorani and záparos in the Amazon; the tsáchila, chachi, awá, eperá and huancavilcas on the coast, and the quichua people in the mountains and part of the Amazon.
Dedicated fundamentally to the crafts or to agriculture, the native have imposed as of 1990 uprising as "a form of struggle" that comprises of its thousands of year old culture. They say "rise up" to the decision to block with trees and gigantic stones the main highways. They have a special predilection for the Pan-American highway that unites Ecuador with Colombia (North) and Peru (South) and through which journey buses and trucks with export cargos.
The indigenous movement is structured by a Congress that meets every three years, a Council of nine members, and an Assembly that meets half yearly. The Council is presided over by Antonio Vargas, 41 years of age, who during the rebellion that culminated with the overthrow of Mahuad, integrated the Meeting of National Salvation and a Triumvirate that ended up yielding the power to President Gustavo Noboa on the 22nd of January of that same year.
In 1990 CONAIE headed the first uprising during which they demanded the conflict resolution of lands and the recognition of multi-nationality.
Two years later, a multitude marched that took 12 days in arriving at Quito - where the natives remained during 22 days resulted in the delivery of 2,000 hectares for the people of the Amazon.
In 1994, the natives also rose against the government of architect, Sixto Durán Ballén (1992-1996), with whom they negotiated reforms to the law of agrarian reform.
But its insertion in the political arena began to be developed in 1995 with the foundation of the movement of Plurinational Unity Pachakutik-New Country, that in the elections of May 1996 obtained a surprising political triumph by securing seven provincial deputies and one national.
In addition, in the Constituent Assembly that in 1997 reformed the Magna Carta, there were seven indigenous representatives. Its presence was determining so that in the Constitution it was recognized that Ecuador was "a multicultural and multiethnic" State.
The Magna Carta - that entered into use in August 1998- also included the three philosophical pillars of the native culture: "Ama quilla" (not to be idle), "Ama llulla" (not to lie) and "ama shua" (not to steal). In the municipal and regional elections of the 21st of May 2000, Pachakutik - that means "new dawn" in quichua - fortified its administrative power when they won 33 mayorships and, for the first time in history, five provincial prefectures. From the 33 mayorships, they obtained 27 on their own and six in alliances with the Democratic Left (Social-Democratic), the Socialist Party (left Marxist) and the Democratic Popular Movement (left Marxist).
The movement prefers to consider itself as the theoretical body of the social and economic force of the CONAIE, before its political arm.
For next March it was announced the fulfillment of new elections in CONAIE and Antonio Vargas, according to a spokesman of that organization, will run for re-election.
Diario El Hoy