The executive committee of the Pachakutik indigenous political party says there will be no partnership with followers of former president Rafael Correa in next year’s election. “The indigenous people were persecuted and betrayed by the Correa government and I see no way we will cooperate with his follwers in the election,” Marlon Santi, director of Pachakutik, said Friday.
Santi said he was speaking only for the executive committee and himself and it is possible that the full Pachakutik membership could reverse the position later in the year. “This is extremely unlikely given the bad blood between the indigenous and campesino community and the Correistas. We supported them in their first two elections but then they turned against us and became our enemies.”
Candidates supporting the Correa agenda are expected to run for the presidency and National Assembly on the Fuerza Compromiso Social party ticket. Their request to run under the Citizens Revolution banner was denied by the national elections commission which claimed the name belongs to Alianza Pais, the party created by Correa but now controlled by President Lenin Moreno.
According to Santi, the rejection of the Correistas is based primarily on their support of mining and oil production. “Mining will be the biggest issue for the indigenous people as well as for all small farmers in the next election,” he says. “Metal mining is polluting our water, harming and poisoning our way of life. Correa lied to us that he would not pollute our land and now Moreno is pursuing the same policy.”
Santi added that the treatment by the governmment of indigenous protesters in 2015 and 2016 is still fresh in the minds of the indigenous people. “We were beaten, jailed and insulted and we will not forget this treatment.”
In response to a comment by a radio interviewer that Correa still has support among many indigenous voters, Santi insisted that it was a small percentage. “Yes, there is some support because of the good programs the government promoted but the betrayal on mining and other issues changed that for most of our people.”
Santi says Pachakutik will pursue alliances with other political and civil organizations prior to the election. “It is our intention to form friendships with those who share our views. Those friendships, of course, can not be with the Correistsas or Alianza Pais.”
He added that Pachakutik will probably not name its candidates before September, four months prior to the election. “We will begin meeting with applicants in May and that could continue through June and July,” he said.
Among the leading contenders for the Pachakutik presidential nomination, according to several sources, are Azuay Province Prefect Yaku Pérez, Conaie President Jaime Vargas and leader of the Cotopaxi Movement Leonidas Iza.