Ecuador

Ecuador’s social movements—particularly its indigenous movements—have developed a nuanced, strategic understanding of their relations with the state. Under the government of President Rafael Correa, they continue to challenge the resource-extraction economy, and face criminalization and marginalization from the government as a result.

“Never again without us”: Indigenous movements shape the country

“In June 1990, thousands of indigenous peoples took to the streets in Ecuador in protest of the government’s economic, social, and political policies. Having a historically marginalized group dramatically insert themselves into political debates stunned the white elite of this small South American country. This uprising, subsequently called the levantamiento indígena de Inti Raymi because it took place just before the traditional June solstice “Sun Festival” celebrations, became a defining moment in that country’s history. No longer could indigenous demands be ignored….
“[President Rafael] Correa’s ascendency came at the cost of social movements who felt that he had taken over their political issues and monopolized the spaces that they had previously enjoyed. In addition, indigenous communities repeatedly challenged Correa for his desire to build the economy on extractive industries, particularly petroleum and gold mining, which had especially harsh impacts on historically marginalized communities. Even though this resentment led to a falling out with leftist activists, Correa maintained a strong degree of popularity from the mestizo urban middle-classes and as a result retained dominant control over the country.”
—Marc Becker, from his introduction to the Ecuador chapter of Until the Rulers Obey

Encuentro 2010. Photo by Marc Becker. In June 2010, 250 representatives from 16 countries gathered in Quito for the Continental Encounter of the Original Nationalities and Peoples of Abya Yala. The gathering commemorated the twentieth anniversary of the "First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance," an indigenous meeting in Quito that advanced movements towards hemispheric unity, The Confederatin of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) anchored the organizing for the conference.
Encuentro 2010. Photo by Marc Becker. In June 2010, 250 representatives from 16 countries gathered in Quito for the Continental Encounter of the Original Nationalities and Peoples of Abya Yala. The gathering commemorated the twentieth anniversary of the “First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indigenous Resistance,” an indigenous meeting in Quito that advanced movements towards hemispheric unity, The Confederatin of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) anchored the organizing for the conference.

Until the Rulers Obey includes five interviews from Ecuador:

Milton Chamorro, mayor of the Itchimbía land occupation in Quito
We’re building a popular, social power, a power where we can embrace each other and take each other’s hands without fear.’
Interview and translation by Clifton Ross, August 2008

Humberto Cholango/ ECUARUNI (Confederation of the Kichwa Peoples of Ecuador)
‘We’re building an insurgency of ideas’
Interview and translation by Clifton Ross, August 2008

Dioyenes Lucio/ FENOCIN (National Federation of Indigenous, Peasant, and Black Organizations)
‘You need to preserve your organization and your power of protest
Interview and translation by Clifton Ross, August 2008

Monica Chuji Gualinga/activist with CONAIE (Confederation of the Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador) and member of the Constitutional Assembly
‘This Constitution is a beginning . . . in the end the people will define their own destiny’
Interview and translation by Clifton Ross, August 2008

Luis Macas/ Instituto Científico de Culturas Indígenas (Scientific Institute of Indigenous Cultures, ICCI)
‘The key point for me is how to combine the indigenous struggle and the class struggle.’
Interview and translation by Jeffery R. Webber, July 2010

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