The president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) is criticizing the policies of President Lenin Moreno, claiming they perpetuate those of Rafael Correa and “violate the collective rights of indigenous peoples.” In particular, Jaime Vargas says that CONAIE disagrees with the new economic law that forgives debts and fines to corporations while it considers eliminating fuel subsidies that help the poor.
“We have worked with this government since its beginning, participating in its dialogs but, after more than a year, we must recognize that they were not listening to what we said,” he says, adding that less than five percent of CONAIE suggestions have been applied to public policy. “Now, it is time we make our objections known.”
During a radio interview with Ecuadorinmediato, Vargas said indigenous people have become increasingly disenchanted with the Moreno government. “For 10 years [the Correa administration] we saw the government violate our rights by awarding mining and oil exploration concessions on our lands,” he said. “We were hopeful this would change but it has not. All we see are the same lies as before.”
Vargas criticized the economic recovery law passed last week by the National Assembly as a “turn to the right.” Instead of giving breaks to the largest corporations, he says that the government should focus on recovering money that was lost through corruption during the Correa years.
“The government should work to recover the resources plundered by corrupt officials and return them to state coffers,” Vargas said.