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Tensions are high between government and indigenous following Cotopaxi confrontation

The talks between the government and indigenous organizations are at a standstill and indigenous leaders warn they could call for new protests if progress is not made soon. A Weekend confrontation between government employees and an indigenous crowd in Cotopaxi Province has further inflamed the situation.

Minister of Social Inclusion Iván Granda claims that indigenous protesters threatened to kidnap government workers.

On October 13, the government and Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie) agreed to hold talks to address the complaints of Ecuador’s indigenous and poor population. The agreement ended 11 days of protests that resulted in 11 deaths, hundreds of injuries, major property damage in Quito and blocked the country’s highways.

“The dialog has stopped and the relationship with the government is deteriorating,” Conaie president Jaime Vargas said Sunday. “We are not playing and we will reactivate our uprising if the attitude does not change.”

Vargas’ comments followed an incident Saturday in the Tigua community of Cotopaxi Province when an indigenous crowd refused to allow government personnel and vehicles to enter the community, demanding an explanation of their mission. At one point, according to Minister of Social Inclusion Iván Granda, the indigenous protesters threatened to kidnap the workers representing the Lifetime Plan rural assistance program.

Indigenous leader Salvador Quishpe

Granda said that the government was simply doing its job by delivering technical assistance and equipment for an agricultural program aimed at helping poor communities.

Vargas denied Granda’s kidnap charge but acknowledged that the confrontation indicates the level of distrust between the indigenous community and the government is high.

Calling Granda and other government officials “sons of bitches,” Vargas said he does not trust anyone from the government. “They have murdered our brothers, they have locked them up, and until this poisonous climate persists we cannot talk.”

President Lenin Moreno said he regretted the Tigue incident but said the government has the right to travel to any location in Ecuador. “There may have been some confusion but we cannot tolerate acts that endanger those that serve the people of Ecuador. I don’t think that Mr. Vargas clearly understood the task the government is fulfilling.”

In a Monday interview, Salvador Quishpe, one of Vargas’ associates and an indigenous leader in Zamora Chinchipe Province, said the weekend encounter in Tigua was a symptom of larger disagreements between indigenous people and government. “Forget Tigua and let’s focus on the decisions of the government that disrespect our people, such as the economic reform law that ignores the suggestions we sent to the government,” he said. “The country is fractured and change must come quickly or the indigenous nations will be forced into the streets again.”

Granda agrees that what happened in Tigua is the result of unresolved tensions between the government and the indigenous. “Yes, there are much bigger issues here and they need to be discussed and resolved. On the other hand, we will not accept threats and actions of intimidation since it is impossible to find solutions in this climate.”

38 thoughts on “Tensions are high between government and indigenous following Cotopaxi confrontation

  1. “They have murdered our brothers, they have locked them up, and until this poisonous climate persists we cannot talk.” Vargas said this? Hmm…..I wonder.

    1. I think they’re talking about the terrorists who destroyed property and kidnapped 700 police during the prior riot. This seems like criminal activity to me. They should stay locked up as well as the terrorist leader Vargas.

      1. No, actually they are talking about the enslavement kidnap torture and rape of the indigenous by the Spanish for centuries – sounds like criminal activity to me and reparations are due to the advanced civilization destroyed that existed here before the Spanish invasion and slaughter and subjugation is waaaaay overdue ….

  2. Why hasn’t the government locked up the terrorist Jaime Vargas for his comments about starting an indigenous army and terrorist activities? If they did they could probably find a more reasonable leader with which to negotiate.

    1. Simply because it would start a hot civil war. Moreno and his govt., in case you haven’t noticed, are not very popular at the moment. You can rail on about ‘law and order’ but it’s only ‘law and order’ to the status quo ( I.e. the business elite)

    2. Why hasn’t the government locked up Moreno for the $18 million in his offshore account that he can’t justify? They’re prosecuting Correa for a $6k loan that he had receipts to show he paid back, so surely a lifelong public servant with $18 million in an undeclared bank account is at least worthy of an investigations.

      1. and you have proof of such an account? and that it was funded with illegally obtained funds from Ecuador? I did not think so.

        1. The fact that you’re unaware of this only proves that what you think about this subject is meaningless.

  3. It would behoove the govt. to make negotiations with Conaie transparent. Let every Ecuadorian see the specific demands that Conaie is making. There seems to be many non-indigenous Ecuadorians who support, or at least tolerate these uprisings. That makes it even harder for the govt. to control it. I have a feeling, without knowing the specifics, that many of the demands from the Conaie organization are not realistic. If the general population realized this, Conaie would lose some of it’s support. Then, maybe we wouldn’t have to put up with this nonsense.

    1. what public negotiations have ever achieved a sensitive task? if it is a show, that’s one thing, but if they want to do something that will work, that is a different thing.

      1. Lorenzo has explained his thinking and I think it is a great idea. Transparency would out any demands that are unreasonable and thus would/could lose the support of many Ecuadorians that might otherwise support them blindly.

        1. A UBI or universal Basic income for every Ecuadorian would be a good start along with reparations to the indigenous that were slaughtered, raped and exploited for centuries destroying a vibrant highly advanced civilization and culture to access advanced end ….

    2. Transparent? They still refuse to disclose the terms of the IMF agreement that they’ve already signed.

      1. Google “CEPR” (the Center for Economic Policy and Research: Headwind to Growth… the IMF Program in Ecuador” by Weisbrot and Arauz You will find the “Conclusion” particularly interesting…. but if you want to drill down further you’ll find 2 1/2 pages of detailed references…… To say “they still refuse to disclose…….” is inaccurate. Obviously you want it presented, and probably laid out in another manner (one that you can understand)…..for anyone that is that interested and knows how to do simple google searches…. all the information is either here, or in other locations. You just have to intelligent enough to know how to look for it, and interpret what it means, when you read it.

        1. The information available by Google is from leaks, leaks that Moreno’s government still refuses to admit are accurate.

          You just have to intelligent enough to know what you’re talking about (you’re bonerhead syntax, not mine). Seriously, Toby. When you put that many commas in a single sentence, that’s a clue that you aren’t writing with a clear head.

          1. We wonder if your cantankerous, weak comebacks, have anything to do with that other issue we’ve spoken about?

    3. Sounds like a typical conquistadores position … you have the power … marginalize and exploit the vermin then !

        1. So basic…. but here we go: Understand the difference between “revenue” and “earnings”….(Which in PE’s case was reported to be a bit more than 50%…. an unconscionable sum in the petro world )…. then, understand that, since PE is a “GSE” (so to speak), the net revenues of a bit over $6B (what is left) go to the Ecuadorian General Fund (after everyone gets their skim off the flow). Then, understand the disbursements from the General Fund are earmarked for the Chinese guaranteed “loans” (guaranteed by oil revenues)…. which are paid among the country’s primary obligations. Then, (bear with me here)…… once the General Fund is essentially “depleted” (that really never happens due to the revolving nature of obligation payments, vs replenishments) Ecuador has to go to the market to float more loans. THEN, because the country’s credit worthiness is so bad, the Ecuadorian Government asks the IMF to step in to throw a life line…… the IMF says” “OK, but we need some guarantees in the form of promises for responsible fiscal conduct”. THEN, the innocent, afflicted populace takes it in the ear….. and the government, points to the IMF, like it is the IMF’s fault, because it came to the rescue on the Ecuadorian Government.

          There you have it…. a clear, concise summary of what really is going on.

          1. Sigh. Yawn. I’m starting to think you’re being daft on purpose. You really need to get over your obsession with me.

            The Chinese loans totaled $7.5 billion dollars.

            PetroEcuador brings in over $6 billion per year in EARNINGS (that’s the PROFIT they make for the state), over $12 billion since Correa left office and over $75 billion since the first Chinese loans were taken out in 2012.

            If your talking point were true, Ecuador would be paying back over $70 billion on a $7.5 billion loan. Can’t do the math off the top of my head, but I’m pretty sure that’s more than 60% annual interest. You really think the economist Rafael Correa would have made that deal? Why? He would have been orders of magnitude better off just selling bonds on the open market.

            The lie that all of the oil revenue is earmarked for China until 2024 is utter bollocks and you know it. That’s why you had to write all that BS in response. Your convoluted diatribe does not stand up to basic arithmetic. Have some dignity and stop repeating lies you know aren’t true.

            As it stands now, the combined interest of the loans from China were actually 1% cheaper than all the loans and bonds Moreno has taken out in his two years in office. On top of that, China never demanded changes to the law and even the constitution as a condition for loans. And despite taking out in only two years more than twice what Correa took out in 10, Moreno hasn’t built a single school, road, hydroelectric plant . . . absolutely nothing to show for all this new higher interest debt, the economy stalled last year and will shrink this year for the first time since Correa took office in 2006.

            As for the country’s credit worthiness, the Country Risk was 489 points when Correa left office. It now stands at over 1400, meaning it would be cheaper for Ecuador to finance its needs on a credit card than on the bond market. Seems the international markets considered Ecuador’s creditworthiness pretty darned good until Moreno and the IMF came in and “fixed” it.

            In other words, the IMF didn’t come to “rescue” anything. Moreno created a problem that didn’t exist and sold the country out to the IMF. To finish off this massive heist, he’s privatizing public enterprises that generate billions in annual revenue for a single sale price that won’t even cover a single year’s deficit. The international markets recognize that, which is why they won’t loan money to Ecuador for anything near single digits anymore. Or maybe the markets are just too dumb to understand economics at your level.

            1. Oh so many issues to address… in almost everyone of your sentences. But you know what? I don’t care….. The stuff that you don’t fabricate, you are simply misinformed on. Believe what you want to believe….but be considerate, and please don’t spread you misinformation around.

                1. I think we all appreciated your recent hiatus, when you had a much smaller profile here at CHL for an extended period of time. Do you think there is any way you could pick up where you left off?

    1. Correa already sold all the oil to China. And he spent the money in a ‘bono” or free money that the poor already get, or stole the money. Technology, knowledge, and investment are needed to explore, get it off the ground, and sell the oil to have money for this UBI.Do you think UBI would work in the US?

      1. #1 UBI has proven itself to not be workable…. that, of course, is not to say that someone can’t come up with the magic solution where it does work….but no one has been able to figure that out, so far. Across the world, UBI is still in the discussion, proposal, or test mode. #2 Where does the money for the exploration to “get it off the ground” come from? The last infusion for the same effort was provided by the Chinese, and earmarked for that cause / effort….the major portion of proceeds, from the efforts, was pledged to the Chinese to pay off those costs, and other debt.

      2. PetroEcuador brought in $11 billion in revenue last year. They did the same the year before that and before that. If Correa sold all the oil to China, like so many gullible rubes keep repeating, how are they selling it on the international market at the same time?

  4. As long as there are no negotiations, there can be no progress. People should expect another confrontation. A government unwilling to talk and negotiate with social forces that have the demonstrable power to paralyze the country is unwise, reckless, and undemocratic. The same goes for a government hellbent on suppressing the legal left-wing opposition. It’s a government headed for more trouble.

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