Conaie threatens a new national strike over government ‘lies’ and to force Lasso from office

Feb 10, 2023 | 89 comments

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie) says it may mount a new national strike in response to what it claims is the government’s failure to comply with agreements reached following the June 2022 strike.

Conaie President Leonidas Iza has called a conference of indigenous leaders for February 18 to decide future actions. “The government has lied to us about meeting its obligations agreed to during the negotiations,” he says. “They claim they have complied but they have failed in almost all of them. We will decide our response next week.”

Conaie President Leonidas Iza says indigenous leaders could decide to call a new strike following its Feb. 18 meeting.

Iza also said protests could also demand that President Guillermo Lasso leave office. “The people delivered their verdict on Sunday and we insist that he either call new elections through the “la muerte cruzada” [death cross] or resign. If he refuses, this could be part of our protest.”

Under Ecuador’s constitution, the president can invoke la muerte cruzada, dismissing the National Assembly and calling new elections. Under the rule, the president must also stand for reelection.

Despite claims to the contrary, Iza says the government has not fulfilled 90% of the 218 agreements reached during negotiations in August and September, 2022. “They say they have complied but this is a lie,” he says. “They released a document saying this but it is not true. We will not return to the dialog table with them as a result of this deception and our only alternative may be to call a strike.”

Conaie announced that other indigenous and campesino organizations will attend the February 18 meeting and will part of the decision on possible protests.

Hatari Sarango, vice president of the National Confederation of Peasant, Indigenous, Black and Montubia Organizations (Fenocin) agrees with Iza that agreements reached following the June strike have not been met. “We also support the call for the resignation of the president following the people’s judgment in the election. If he does not go voluntarily, we will use our constitutional right to protest and to force the issue.”

On Thursday, the Ecuadorian Federation of Evangelical Indigenous (Feine) announced it will also join the February 18 Conaie meeting in Quito. The federation’s president, Eustaquio Tuala, claimed “it is time for action” in a statement to the press. “We cannot go through another lazy dialog in which our interests are ignored,” he said. “The results of the last dialog and the election make clear it is time for the president to resign.”

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