Marking the one-year anniversary of the October 2019 protests, the leaders of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie) marched Monday to the attorney general’s office in Quito to file suit against the government. “We come today to denounce crimes against humanity committed by the state of Ecuador and its agents,” Conaie attorney Carlos Poveda said after the filing.
Among government officials named individually in the suit were President Lenín Moreno, Interior Minister Minister María Paula Romo, Controller Pablo Celi and National Police Commander Patricio Carrillo.
Conaie President Jamie Vargas and Leónidas Iza, president of the Indigenous and Peasant Movement of Cotopaxi, spoke to a crowd of supporters following the filing, demanding justice for 11 protesters killed during the protests and the hundreds who suffered injuries. “We will press our case until those responsible for the murders are brought to trial and until the government makes good on the promises that ended the uprising,” Vargas said. “We remain in fighting condition if we need to return to the streets.”
Iza added that new protests are planned once health conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic permit. “We will neither forgive nor forget until justice prevails,” he said. “The rebellion of October 2019 will return with greater force if there no action. The indigenous people have endured 528 years of looting and barbarism by colonial interests and the time may soon come for us to make a stand.”
In a radio interview earlier Monday, Iza said the goal of the indigenous movement is to establish Indo-American communism throughout Latin American. “This will be done by revolution if necessary, from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego,” he said.
Iza discussed the newly released book, Estallido (Outbreak), which he wrote with two others. “We describe in detail the events of October 2019 and also the history of the struggle against the colonial subjugation of the indigenous and poor people of Latin America,” he said.
He said that Indo-American communism is inspired by early 20th century Peruvian activist and philosopher José Carlos Mariátegui, who was the inspiration of Shining Path, the Peruvian revolutionary movement of the 1970s and 1980s.
“Our revolution will include not only the indigenous peoples but the workers, students and campesinos of the Western Hemisphere,” Iza said. “We hope to accomplish our goals peacefully but if this is not possible, we will win in the streets.”