In response to demands by Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities President Leonidas Iza that the government pay reparations to those killed and injured during the June strike, Government Minister Franscsco Jiménez says that all injured parties, not just strikers, should be compensated.
“We cannot agree to provide support to just one group of those injured during the uprising,” he said. “There were injuries and deaths suffered by law enforcement and uninvolved citizens and damage to property as a result to the strike. Those who suffered financial losses can also claim they are owed compensation.”
Iza insists that indigenous protesters are the “true victims of government violence” and are the only group deserving compensation. “The police and the military were the aggressors, not the victims, and the damage to property was a result of government carelessness,” he says.
In addition to protesters killed and injured in June, Iza is demanding payment to the injured parties in the 2019 indigenous strike.
According to the government and human rights groups, five strikers died during the 18-day June protest although Conaie claims there were eight.
Jiménez says the government remains open to discussion about reparations. “This is a matter that must be analyzed with clear heads and not be subject to the passions that guided the strike,” he said. We are not going to be unfair in the administration of indulgences if this is what we decide to do. We must consider the interests of all parties, including 18 million Ecuadorians.”
On other issues in negotiation between indigenous groups and government, Jiménez said there has been “substantial progress” in recent days. Among topics discussed this week were crime, collective rights and health care.
“We are in the final stages of the talks but it may be necessary to extend them beyond the 90 days we agreed to in June,” he said.