Indigenous Movement Breaks with President Lucio Gutierrez

CONAIE

August 6 , 2003

In the face of the most recent declarations and actions of President Lucio Gutiérrez, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador, CONAIE) proclaims the following:

The government has betrayed the mandate given to it by the Ecuadorian people in the last elections. This mandate envisioned the defense of national sovereignty, of natural resources, the reactivation of the economy with an eye towards equity, and a commitment to peace. Instead, during these last six months, the government of Lucio Gutiérrez has maintained a position contrary to the national interest by signing a Letter of Intent with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in which he pledged:

- to privatize the petroleum sector, electricity, telecommunications, and natural resources like water;

- to liberalize labour markets through methods that destroy all the guarantees and rights won by the workers;

- to undertake fiscal reforms that would widen the taxpaying base to include the poorest of Ecuadorians and that would tax the remittances of emigrants (in a reform of the social security system that actually seeks to destroy it for the stated aim of paying down the external debt)

These measures are being imposed in an environment of social confrontation, in which the government has neglected any type of social or re-distributive policies, thereby forcing teachers, health workers and public sector employees to adopt forceful methods in order to defend their social benefits.

In the beginning, CONAIE had asked that the Pachakutik political movement attempt to steer the policies of Lucio Gutiérrez's government - from the spaces in government that were legitimately won by this movement - so that, in time, alternative politics/policies could prevail. In this way, Pachakutik displayed a profound involvement with and commitment to the country through the Ministries and public offices it managed, in addition to the honest and transparent handling of other responsibilities entrusted to the indigenous movement as a whole. Among the more important actors in this project was the Foreign Minister Nina Pacari, who managed to forward the image of a country that cherishes peace and respects the self-determination of peoples at an international level; and the Minister of Agriculture Luis Macas, who for his part, propounded on the necessity of a politics based on food security with dignity.

In spite of this, Lucio Gutiérrez's government has shifted its priorities and is now seeking to prop up its reign with the help of the [right-wing, conservative] Social Christian Party, the bankers, the oligarchies and the chambers of commerce in this country.

Faced with this situation, CONAIE:

- Demands that the Pachakutik movement immediately end its alliance with the Partido Sociedad Patriótica (Patriotic Society Party) and with President Lucio Gutiérrez.

- Asks all members of the Pachakutik Movement that are carrying out public functions within this alliance, to resign immediately.

- Calls upon all grassroots organizations belonging to the national indigenous movement to be on alert and remain mobilized.

- Rejects any type of responsibility that the government of Lucio Gutiérrez intends to displace onto the shoulders of the Ecuadorian indigenousmovement for the actions/failures of his government.

- Calls upon the Ecuadorian people to mobilize themselves and express their rejection of a regime that is increasingly characterized bycorruption and surrender.

CONAIE would like to state for the record that it will not back down in its struggle for a truly democratic, plurinational and intercultural state.

AMA SHUA, AMA KILLA, AMA LLULLA

Leonidas Iza, President CONAIE
Humberto Cholango, President ECUARUNARI,
José Quenamá President CONFENIAE

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