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The children of 1990.

  In June 1990, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of
  Ecuador (CONAIE) led a massive uprising against their social,
  economic, and political marginalization. The protest altered the
  political landscape of Ecuador and gave that country a reputation as
  home to some of the strongest and best-organized social movements in
  South America. Two decades later--this year, 2010--the children of
  the leaders of that historic uprising continued to lead mobilizations
  against the government. This time, however, Rafael Correa, whom many
  saw as emblematic of Latin America's shift to the left, was in power.
  What explains indigenous protest against a leftist government? Was
  Correa not a true leftist, as some militants alleged? Or was this yet
  another example of a white urban left failing to take the concerns of
  rural indigenous communities into account? Recent developments point
  to an alternative explanation: Indigenous movements have become more
  conservative and have discarded a strategy of building coalitions
  that had brought them so much success in the twentieth century.
  Keywords: indigenous peoples, Ecuador, CONAIE, social movements,
  Rafael Correa, left

Just before dawn on June 21, 2010, several hundred indigenous marchers arrived in the Andean highland capital city of Quito, Ecuador. On June 10, they had left Puyo, the capital of the Pastaza province in the eastern Amazon. They billed the eleven-day march as a minga for a plurinational state, to petition for the implementation of the progressive changes promised in the new 2008 constitution. After parading through the streets in the early-morning light with torches to guide their path the marchers gathered for a day of public activity that would press their demands on the government. (1)

The minga came on the twentieth anniversary of a massive June 1990 revolt that put indigenous concerns front and center in the South American country's political consciousness. The Confederacion de Nacionalidades Indigenas del Ecuador [Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador] (CONAIE), an umbrella group founded in 1986 with the intention that it would represent all indigenous peoples in the country, led both the 1990 uprising as well as the 2010 minga. The new, younger generation called themselves the "children of 1990" because they were attempting to follow through on the demands that had led their parents to take to the streets in protest two decades earlier. They were now ready to begin assuming leadership roles and take greater responsibility in the movements.

In 1990, communities across Ecuador blocked major highways in a nonviolent demonstration aimed at bringing to the forefront of public consciousness the discrimination and unjust policies facing indigenous peoples. Subsequently termed the Inti Raymi (Sun Festival) uprising because it came just before the June solstice that is celebrated throughout the Andes, it represented the emergence of indigenous peoples as one of the most powerful social-movement actors in the Americas. CONAIE outlined its demands in a sixteen-point document that defined a program for indigenous control over indigenous affairs and summarized an agenda for redefining the role of the indigenous in society. The platform revolved broadly around cultural issues (such as support for traditional medicine, bilingual education programs, and indigenous control of archeological sites), economic concerns (negotiating debts, access to credit, and budgeting money for economic-development programs in indigenous communities), and political demands (an end to centralized control over local communities, expulsion of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, and amendment of the first article of the constitution to declare Ecuador to be a plurinational and multicultural state). (2) The demand for the constitutional recognition of the plurinational character of Ecuador became their key and most contentious demand--one that was finally achieved in revisions to the 2008 constitution. Rather than being a terminus, however, that 2008 victory opened the door for another round of conflicts, but now with a seemingly sympathetic government.

In 2006, the young and charismatic economist Rafael Correa had successfully campaigned for the presidency of Ecuador on a platform of leaving the long, dark night of neoliberalism behind. Many outside observers assumed that Ecuador's leftist indigenous movements would support Correa. And, indeed, during his campaigns Correa did embrace many of the proposals that had come out of popular movements, including a call to convoke a constituent assembly in order to build a more egalitarian and participatory government. But social movements resented Correa for occupying political spaces that they had previously held, and CONAIE never gave Correa its unqualified support. Since then, as sociologist Jorge Leon notes, their relations "have oscillated between complete agreement and outright opposition." (3) Rather than targeting yet one more in a seemingly endless series of exclusionary oligarchical governments, the June 2010 minga criticized a president who spoke of twenty-first-century socialism and positioned himself as part of latin America's leftward drift that pledged to open up more participatory governing structures. The past twenty years have been a period of tremendous struggles and remarkable advances for movements of the original peoples and nationalities in Ecuador. As the minga for a plurinational state indicated, however, activists were still struggling to make their voices heard in the public realm.

What can explain this indigenous protest against a leftist government? A standard line has been that Correa was not a true leftist, or alternatively that he had betrayed the promises that had won him election. From this perspective, Correa was not left enough. An alternative line complained that the left never took indigenous concerns into account, and in fact were as bad as conservative governments when it came to defending the rights of marginalized communities. A third interpretation had been that indigenous movements had broken rightward and no longer wished to ally with leftist socialist movements. If accurate, this third interpretation would be the most disturbing for those who value social justice and building a world free of capitalist domination, because it would mean the undoing of strategies and alliances that had given indigenous movements a good deal of success. It could lead to the end of indigenous peoples as a significant player in defining Ecuador's future.

Water Wars

Social-movement challenges to Correa's government came visibly to the forefront in protests in September 2009 against alleged water-privatization plans. CONAIE charged that a proposed water bill in congress would allow transnational mining corporations to appropriate reserves in violation of the 2008 constitution that outlawed the privatization of water. The water bill was part of what they interpreted as broader governmental moves to privatize the country's natural resources and encourage oil extraction and large-scale mining projects that were largely located on indigenous lands. For social-movement activists, this apparent turn in government policy was particularly bitter because during the constitutional debates the previous year, assembly president Alberto Acosta had pointed to its defense of water resources as a primary reason to vote in favor of the text. (4) Correa retorted that charges of water privatization were based on lies, and that his proposal had no such intent. Indigenous movements, he contended, were trying to destabilize his government and had become "useful idiots" for the extreme right. Furthermore, Correa claimed that desperate leaders who had lost their privileges were manipulating indigenous communities for their own nefarious purposes. He accused intransigent radical groups of playing into the hands of conservative interests and undermining the positive gains that his citizen's revolution promised the country. (5)

In February 2010, after months of dialogue CONAIE announced a breakdown in talks with the government due to the government's lack of political support and respect for indigenous peoples. Already in December 2009, the Confederacion de los Pueblos Kichwas del Ecuador (Ecuarunari, the confederation of the Kichwa peoples of Ecuador) had declared that given Correa's "lack of responsibility and political will" they would "withdraw from the talks between CONAIE and the government" and begin to mobilize street protests against the mining and water legislation. "The talks have been a show," Ecuarunari's president, Delfin Tenesaca, declared. He complained that Correa had engaged in the talks only as part of "a strategy to gain time in which to apply his policies." (6) CONAIE announced that it would join its highland affiliate in a progressive escalation of protests against Correa's neoliberal and colonialist policies. Correa responded that he would not let social movements hold his government hostage.

Government supporters claimed that the threatened protests were a way for the federation to gain support for its position from the grassroots, many of whom still backed Correa. Nevertheless, in April and May 2010 massive protests flashed across the country. Opponents condemned Correa for following a neoliberal, extractivist model that violated the tenets of the sumak kawsay, of living well not just living better, that had been enshrined in the new constitution.

Indigenous organizations felt particularly betrayed by Correa's pushing forward with the water legislation because the constitution's protection of water rights was one of the main reasons that they had pushed their members to vote in favor of the document. Correa continued to insist that the proposed legislation prohibited the privatization of water, but rather was needed to regulate water supplies. Opponents, in contrast, claimed that the law gave privileged access to mining companies, bottling firms, and large landholders engaged in the export of agricultural commodities such as cut flowers and bananas, all of which required access to huge amounts of water. CONAIE presented an alternative draft text for a water law that would incorporate the needs and voices of all of the country's inhabitants, but the government-controlled legislature did not take up their proposals. Militants wanted to establish a plurinational council to administer the country's water resources, a proposal that Correa categorically rejected.

After previously excelling at dividing indigenous movements, Correa's water and mining legislation facilitated the convergence of competing organizations. After spending years in alliance with the government, Luis Andrango, president of the socialist-leaning Federacion Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indigenas y Negras (FENOCIN, the National Confederation of Peasant, Indigenous, and Black Organizations), announced they would break with it, and they warned against ramming the bill through congress. Manuel Chug-chilan, president of the more conservative Consejo de Pueblos y Organizaciones Indigenas Evangelicas del Ecuador (FEINE, the Council of Evangelical Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of Ecuador), similarly condemned the government for its failure to incorporate indigenous concerns into the legislation. On May 6, 2010, both federations joined their former rival CONAIE in a coordinated National Mobilization in Defense of Water, Life, and Food Sovereignty. Activists staged protests that blockaded the congressional building and roads across the country. Police responded with tear gas and arrests, beating protesters and charging dissidents with terrorism and sabotage. Unified campaigns, however, resulted in a major concession as the assembly president, Fernando Cordero, unilaterally agreed to delay approval of the water law for half a year pending a referendum in indigenous communities. Even after Cordero's announcement, Correa continued to accuse indigenous leaders of engaging in an "absurd fundamentalism" and charged them of using water issues to reclaim power that they had lost at the ballot box. Activists expressed concern that the government would not take their concerns into account, that Cordero's referendum was designed only to gain support for the legislation, and that if not properly run a vote would divide rural communities. Rather than a simple Yes or No plebiscite on water issues, activists pushed for a full and genuine consultation that would include a full analysis of the law. Nevertheless, the delay in the implementation of the legislation was a victory for indigenous organizations as they illustrated that the government would have to work with them to gain a consensus from social movements for its policies. Despite Correa's overt attempts to set different organizations against each other and community members against their leaders, militants pointed to one of the most important triumphs of the protests as the reunification of indigenous movements. (7)

Minga for a Plurinational State

Less than a month after the water protests, CONAIE organized the march from Puyo to Quito. Although organizations billed the minga as commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the June 1990 uprising, it retraced the path of an April 1992 caminata, or walk, to demand recognition of indigenous territories. (8) In 2010, the marchers carried banners that declared, "It is not possible to construct the present without knowing the past." They spoke of continuing the struggle by following in the footsteps of the 1990s, repeating a journey that their parents and grandparents had taken before them. "They fought for the defense for our rights and our recognition," CONAIE's president Marlon Sand said. "We saw their struggle and now we are following it." (9) In communities along the way, municipalities, churches, and social movements provided the marchers with food and housing. At their stops, the participants presented seminars on the history of indigenous resistance from the 1990s to the present, complete with expositions, photos, and videos. They held assemblies to discuss proposals for the construction of a pluri-national Ecuador as promised in the 2008 constitution, urging the government to respect their territories and to include their concerns in the "water and food sovereignty" bills currently under consideration in congress. Their goal was the construction of a truly plurinational state in which all sectors of society could participate in debates and decision-making processes. They also demanded the cleanup of Amazonian rivers that transnational oil, mining, and logging companies have contaminated.

Upon arrival in Quito, after a rally in El Arbolito Park, a traditional congregating point for protests, the marchers met with congressional representatives to discuss proposed legislation. The congress responded by passing a resolution in "recognition of the historical contribution of indigenous communities, peoples and nationalities in their struggle for freedom from oppression, colonization and neolib-eralism, and for the construction of a plurinational and intercultural state based on the sumak kawsay." The resolution declared June 21 to be a "day of commemoration of the movement's contributions over the past twenty years." (10)

Initially the marchers had hoped to present Correa with their demands for a plurinational system of government, seeking assured equality for all and respect for indigenous territorial rights, incorporating their concerns into the proposed laws on water and food sovereignty. CONAIE's leaders, however, decided it would be meaningless and even counterproductive to try to meet with Correa at the presidential palace. (11) Meanwhile, CONAIE's emphasis on the twentieth anniversary of their historic 1990 uprising pulled apart the unity they had achieved during the water protests in May. FENOCIN publi-cally criticized the march and the demands for the removal of Correa from office. (12)

Continental Encounter of the Original Nationalities and Peoples of Abya Yala

Organizers initially planned for the minga to arrive in Quito on June 14 in time to join a march from the Plaza San Francisco to the Itchim-bia cultural center to inaugurate a Continental Encounter of the Original Nationalities and Peoples of Abya Yala. (13) The minga, however, ran behind its planned schedule and so the two events ran parallel to each other, with some leaders shuttling back and forth. Similar to the minga, the continental encounter commemorated the twentieth anniversary of a historic gathering that advanced hemispheric unity. In July 1990, CONAIE together with the Organizacion Nacional Indigena de Colombia (ONIC, the national indigenous organization of Colombia) and the South American Indian Information Center (SAIIC) organized the First Continental Conference on Five Hundred Years of Indigenous Resistance. During that meeting, four hundred representatives from 120 indigenous nationalities and organizations throughout the Americas formed a united front against oppression, discrimination, and exploitation. Delegates demanded autonomy and self-government, including respect for customary law and traditional justice systems within their communities. (14)

Twenty years later, 250 representatives from 16 countries returned to the same Nueva Vida (New Life) camp outside Quito to continue these discussions. Both meetings drew on a prophecy that a new era would be ushered in when the southern condor met up with the northern eagle. Both birds are powerful representatives of original peoples of Abya Yala. CONAIE organized the 2010 meeting together with its three regional affiliates--Ecuarunari, the Confederacion de Nacionalidades Indigenas de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana (CONFENIAE, the confederation of indigenous nationalities of the Ecuadoran Amazon), and the Confederacion de Nacionalidades Indigenas de la Costa Ecuatoriana (CONAICE, the confederation of indigenous nationalities of the Ecuadoran Coast)--and the Institute Cientifico de Culturas Indigenas (ICCI, the institute for indigenous sciences and cultures), the Univer-sidad Intercultural de las Nacionalidades y Pueblos Indigenas "Amawtay Wasi" (UINPI, the intercultural university of indigenous nationalities and peoples) in Ecuador, and the regional Coordinadora Andina de Organizaciones Indigenas (CAOI, the Andean coordinating body of indigenous organizations), as well as Tonatierra and the Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development in the United States.

The meeting was organized around sixteen workshops grouped into four themes. The most explicitly political discussions took place in the workshops grouped under the theme of self-determination. Another theme was on the more spiritual topic of cosmology, and two others discussed knowledge and the Pachamama, or Mother Earth. The conversations provided opportunity to link continental struggles. For example, Art Manuel, from Canada, raised the issue of how much of the mining currently being undertaken across the continent is financed by Canadian capital: mining companies had brought First Nations members from Canada to Ecuador to claim that they were in favor of mining, but that was simply not true. Manuel pointed out that Indians were the poorest of the poor in the wealthy country of Canada. They represented their own third world country, existing economically at roughly the same level as people in Latin America.

Participants at the encounter articulated a variety of views. Much of the anticapitalist discourse advocated a return to ancestral economic systems rather than the building of a new and better socialist future. After an Aymara from Bolivia advocated a return to ancient "vertical archipelago" economic exchange systems in the Andes, a delegate from Argentina pointed out the ludicrousness of advocating pre-monetary systems at an international gathering. (15) Were they supposed to bring a planeload of potatoes to barter for their needs at the meeting? Instead, he pointed to the takeover of factories in the aftermath of the collapse of Argentina's economy as a credible, positive, and viable alternative.

The encounter concluded with delegates reporting the resolutions from the working groups in a plenary session. Some participants complained that the conversations were long on rhetoric but lacking in concrete proposals. As part of a culturalist orientation of the meeting, organizers emphasized that people could express themselves in a variety of ways, not just with long-winded speeches. Responding to this suggestion, those involved in the cosmology working group presented their conclusions in the form of rituals. In advocating a break from Western organizational forms, a Kitu-Kara yachak (shaman), Jaime Pilatuna, had participants move their chairs in the auditorium into a semicircle. The other three groups resorted to Powerpoint presentations. Even the more political offering still had a strongly culturalist flavor. Unlike many such meetings, which often end with a formal proclamation--for example, the Quito Declaration that emerged from the 1990 conference is a landmark document, in the advancement of indigenous rights struggles (16)--the 2010 encounter did not end in that way.


The Quito Encounter came in the midst of a recent series of summits--Mexico (2000), Ecuador (2004), Guatemala (2007), and Peru (2009). These meetings demonstrated the growing strength of international indigenous organizing efforts, with thousands of delegates attending the recent meetings. (17) The count of 250 people in Quito paled in comparison with those at earlier meetings and was fewer than the 400 that organizers had expected. The low attendance was due in part both to a lack of international participation as well as the absence of local delegates. This diminished participation contrasted dramatically with the massive popular mobilization less than a month earlier against threats of water privatization. The grassroots responded to the concrete and materialist demands of the water mobilizations, but seemingly they found less value in the vaguely culturalist discourse of both the encounter and the similarly sized minga.

In recent summits, the most vocal and politically militant delegations have come from Bolivia. In fact, given the rising importance of such continental summits, the next one (2011) is tentatively scheduled to be held in Bolivia. Only a handful of representatives from that country, however, attended the Quito meeting. Many Bolivian groups had decided instead to focus their time, efforts, and resources on the World People's Conference on Climate Change that their president, Evo Morales, had organized in Cochabamba in April. Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Colombia also contributed only small delegations.

Despite diminished participation from the south, the Quito meeting had a much larger presence of representatives from the north than had been the case in other recent continental gatherings. Tonatierra and the Seventh Generation Fund had about fifteen people each, giving the United States the second-greatest presence at the meeting next to Ecuador. Northern groups typically have a more culturalist orientation, while southern groups tend to be more political, and the northern presence notably influenced the flavor of discussions. Furthermore, groups from Argentina and Uruguay were also interested in reclaiming and reconstructing ancestral identities, further reinforcing a culturalist focus. Curiously, however, despite the culturalist orientation, few delegates introduced themselves in their original languages, as is the norm at indigenous meetings. Nevertheless, the flavor of the discussions were heavily oriented toward spiritual and culturalist themes, rather than the overtly political topic of how to gain state power--a theme present in gatherings following the election of Evo Morales as the indigenous president of Bolivia. The depoliticized nature of the meeting seemed to point to a rightward drift in the indigenous movements.


On the heels of the Minga March and the Quito Encounter, the presidents of Ecuador, Venezuela, and Bolivia met on June 24 and 25 at a summit of the Alianza Bolivariana Para los Pueblos de Nuestra America (ALBA, the Bolivarian alliance for the peoples of the Americas) in the northern Ecuadoran town of Otavalo. About three hundred invited indigenous and Afro-Ecuadoran representatives participated in the meeting. Four commissions discussed topics related to culture, racism, climate change, and international trade among peoples, with the priority on issues related to indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples.

David Choquehuanca, the Bolivian foreign minister who popularized the concept of sumak kawsay, opened the summit with a panel, "Analysis of the Transition from the Colonial State to Models of Plurinational, Intercultural and Multicultural States." Alexandra Oacles, Ecuador's minister for the peoples, social movements, and citizen participation, who had helped organize the meeting, addressed the panel on the exercise of intercultural actions; economic, political, and social rights against racism and discrimination; and public initiatives in the face of climate change and the rights of nature. "The creation of a plurinational and intercultural state goes beyond the ethnic factor and it will require the contribution of all sectors of society," she said. (18) From her perspective, this type of collaboration was necessary to build a new and better world.

The leftist presidents signed a "Declaration of Otavalo" that promoted the rights of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples. The declaration pledged to build societies that supported their rights and to protect Mother Earth by pursuing development strategies that respect the environment. The declaration pledged to organize an annual meeting of indigenous and Afro-descendant authorities within the framework of ALBA as a mechanism to construct an intercultural dialogue. At the signing, Bolivian president Morales said, "We have to get rid of capitalism and protect the earth, protect nature." Correa added that the main challenge was to pull indigenous peoples out of centuries of poverty and exploitation. The summit ended with calls for indigenous unity from all three presidents. (19)

Rather than welcoming the attention that the summit brought to their concerns, CONAIE and its member organizations resented that they had not received invitations to the event, nor had their views been included in the discussions. They complained that the indigenous delegates who participated in the summit were members of the government rather than leaders of indigenous movements. CONAIE complained that they had not been consulted about the content of the discussions. It appeared to them that the summit was a throwback to mid-twentieth-century indigenista meetings of government officials, religious leaders, and academics who organized meetings about Indians and then were surprised at the interest that indigenous peoples showed in the discussions about their lived realities. (20)

Instead of participating in the government summit, CONAIE held its own Plurinational Assembly of Ecuador, where they discussed climate change, the fight against racism and discrimination, the rights of nature, and cultural diversity. As with the minga and the encounter, indigenous leaders again framed this meeting as part of the legacy of the 1990 uprising. This time, participation was significantly larger. Three thousand activists marched through the streets singing and dancing to the traditional songs of Inti Raymi, which is celebrated on June 24 (Saint John's feast day), in Otavalo. Dozens of police on horseback attempted to block their path, leading the lawyer Mario Melo to observe that "once again, as was the case five hundred years ago, the feet of the noblemen's horses rose up to crush the voice of ancestral peoples in their own territory." (21) When the protesters arrived at the door of the summit, they attempted to enter to hand a written statement to their "Indigenous brother" Morales, but the police held them back. The Bolivian ambassador came out to ask the protesters to wait until the end of the event to meet with the president, but after waiting for two hours they left. The letter they wanted to give to Morales denounced Correa's government and its attempts to destroy CONAIE--an effort, they claimed, aimed at maintaining the oligarchy and transnational groups in power. The activists wanted to convey to Morales their concerns about market-based solutions to climate change and their opposition to extractive industries that put indigenous communities at risk. They called instead for the construction of a plurinational state built on the principles of the sumak kawsay, guaranteeing harmony between humans on Mother Earth. (22)

After the protests, the government threatened to prosecute indigenous leaders for sabotage and terrorism. A police report claimed that on June 25 "a group of citizens of the Indigenous race" broke through a police line outside the ALBA meeting "shouting slogans that violated the security of the public order" and that in the resulting scuffle they took an officer's handcuffs. Melo contended that the criminal investigations were politically motivated because the protests had brought international attention to Correa's government having excluded from the political discussions those who would be most directly affected by the policies.

The charges were designed, Melo noted, "to intimidate and demobilize the organizations and their leaders." (23) Santi called the charges ridiculous and vowed to contest them. CONAIE and its highland affiliate Ecuarunari released a statement in which they declared that the "lack of legal backing for the charges clearly shows that they are a form of political persecution of the leaders of the indigenous movement for the simple act of disagreeing with government policies." They reminded the government that the constitution recognized "the right to resist" when rights are threatened. "It is ridiculous and unacceptable that social leaders and activists are criminalized for simply thinking differently than our government leaders," they said. The indigenous organizations argued that the legal proceedings "reveal the true nature of our government, and present a serious threat to democracy and peace in Ecuador." (24) The charges pointed to a deep rupture between social movements and the government.

The prosecutions came in the context of renewed efforts to criminalize dissent. The government indicated that it was investigating more than thirty social movement leaders on charges of terrorism and sabotage, not only for the protests in Otavalo but. also for previous protests against gold and copper mining and over water privatization. They also opened old cases that had been shelved. In response, the indigenous political party Pachakutik began to prepare a suit against Correa for "ethnocide, genocide, xenophobia and racism." (25) Preliminary reports from a truth commission also showed a growing number of human-rights abuses under Correa's administration. "Rather than helping to address points of difference over natural resource management," journalist Jennifer Moore commented, "the current wave of criminal investigations against social movement leaders like Santi represents a further entrenchment of these conflicts." (26) Indigenous ally Alberto Acosta, who had previously served as minister of mines and energy under Correa, said accusations of terrorism and sabotage against the activists was "tremendously shameful" and that they have "no basis in justice or a democratic judicial system." (27)

Social-movement activists denied they were terrorists. They argued that it was the Correa government that was using the strategies of fascistic military dictatorships that used repression to sow terror and paralyze the ability of people to organize to defend their rights: the end result of Correa's actions would be to halt processes of social transformation. (28) In the post-9/11 world, charging activists with terrorism had become a convenient way to discredit a movement, similar to how an earlier generation had been Red-baited with charges of Communism during the cold war.

In an article on the twentieth anniversary of the Inti Raymi uprising in its newspaper En Marcha, the Partido Comunista Marxista Leninista del Ecuador (PCMLE, the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador) reviewed the recent history of indigenous struggles and argued that gains made not only benefited indigenous communities but. the people in general. Their successes, including the overthrowing of neoliberal governments and the drafting of a new plurinational constitution in 2008, is why both Correa and the political right sought to discredit and criminalize their movements. To realize future successes, it was important that the movement break with sectarian tendencies and unify their struggles with other popular movements. (29) "What can be seen here are the first cracks in the Plurinational State, a building which still hasn't been fully constructed," journalist Raul Zibechi observed. "These cracks are appearing because there is a potent dispute for power. The original peoples have no reason to accept the framework of the Nation State, which is what the Plurinational State is based on." (30) Correa felt threatened by a powerful social movement that challenged his hegemonic control over the direction of the country.

The ALBA conference was also notable for revealing a growing indigenous frustration with Morales. Revealing perhaps a persistent sense that they think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, in addition to the rather standard activist stance of living vicariously through other peoples' struggles, the left wing of Ecuador's indigenous movement first cheered Venezuela's left-populist president Hugo Chavez. After the election of Morales in 2006, they shifted their alliances and commonly embraced the Bolivian as their indigenous president, and cheered a campaign to have him awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Unlike Correa, Morales emerged out of Bolivia's well-organized social movements. But, like Correa, Morales also had a complicated relationship with these movements. In particular, those to the left of Morales challenged whether he was truly committed to a socialist transformation of society and complained that he was a reformer who was too willing to collaborate with neoliberal forces in order to win the presidential election. (31) They pointed to a seemingly contradictory stance of hosting the climate change summit in April while at the same time building an economic policy based on the extraction of natural resources. Inevitably, strategic compromises eventually led to indigenous frustration with the depth and speed of changes in the country and opened debates and divisions over whether or not to support the president.

Discord over the slow implementation of promised plurinational governing structures, particularly in relation to elections and local autonomy, led to indigenous protests. On June 17, while their Ecuadoran counterparts were still marching from the Amazon, the Consejo Nacional de Ayllus y Markas del Qullasuyu (CONAMAQ, the national council of Qullasuyu Ayllus and Markas) and the Confederacion de Pueblos Indigenas de Bolivia (CIDOB, the confederation of indigenous peoples of Bolivia) began their own march "For the Defense of Territory, Autonomy, and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples." They left from Trinidad in the eastern region of Beni for the country's capital of La Paz in the highlands. The march demanded greater representation in congress, prior consultation before the extraction of natural resources from native territories, and greater autonomy over local affairs. Similar to the events in Ecuador, the protest mirrored a 1990 "March for Territory and Dignity" that consolidated indigenous opposition to exclusionary neoliberalist economic policies. The march represented a political shift. Both organizations had joined a 2006 "unity pact" to support Morales and his Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS, movement to socialism) political party, but that coherence was now falling apart over issues of control over local governance as well as representation in the central government. Other organizations, including the Confederacion Sindical Unica de Trabajadores Campe-sinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB, the unique confederation of rural laborers of Bolivia), the Confederacion Sindical de Colonizadores de Bolivia (CSCB, the Bolivian syndicalist confederation of colonizers), and the Federacion de Mujeres Campesinas Bartolina Sisa (FMCBS, the Bar-tolina Sisa national federation of rural women), refused to join the march and continued to support the government, leading to an open break between organizations. (32)

In order to undercut indigenous mobilizations, the Morales government began to pit indigenous organizations against each other. The vice president and longtime indigenous ally Alvaro Garcia Linera warned that indigenous peoples discriminating against each other was unfair and a violation of the constitution. But a social journalist and former government spokesperson, Alex Contreras Baspineiro, noted that "before finding a peaceful and mutually agreed upon solution, the government began an expensive media campaign in an attempt to discredit the Indigenous mobilization." He noted that the situation was deteriorating under the Morales administration, and that the situation desperately needed to change to recuperate "a culture of life, peace, dialogue, and social collaboration." (33) Activists argued that developing oil and mining projects on indigenous lands violated the International Labor Organization Convention 169 on indigenous rights that Bolivia had signed in 1991. As part of a pushback against Morales, indigenous communities began to break from the previously dominant MAS party in favor of new groupings such as the Movimiento Sin Miedo (MSM, the movement without fear) and the Coordinadora Indianista Katarista (CIK, the Katarista Indianist coordinating body). Initially Morales appeared to be more adept than Correa at maintaining unity among diverse tendencies, but then he also began leveling charges against dissident groups such as the CIK that they were helping the right rather than building a new socialist society. (34) No longer were indigenous peoples a strong and unquestioning ally of the government.

Indigenous Justice

Debates around indigenous justice systems cut to the heart of whether rural communities were looking forward to a better future or desperately holding on to a quickly disappearing past. For indigenous militants in Ecuador, one of the significant gains of the new 2008 plurinational constitution was the formal recognition of these justice systems. Prison-reform activists have long pointed to failures of the prison industrial complex, and issues of abuses and overcrowding are further heightened in an impoverished country such as Ecuador. (35) Unlike the Western penal system, which is based on punishment, indigenous systems are based on the principles of healing and reconciliation. When the system was put into practice, however, the general public viewed the results through a different lens. Rather than being interested in healing, communities seemed to some people to act more like a lynch mob engaged in vigilante justice that was unlikely to address the causes of the crime or improve the situation.

These issues came to the surface in the aftermath of a May 2010 murder in the community of La Cocha in the central highland province of Chimborazo. The alleged perpetrators were from the La Cocha community but worked in Quito and returned home only on weekends and holidays. Nevertheless, they faced traditional punishments from local authorities. A public display of whipping the accused with stinging nettles and flogging their backs with a leather strap raised debates whether these justice systems were an abuse of human rights or a legitimate practice allowed by law. The punishments grabbed widespread press attention, leading to pressure on Correa to end what was held to be displays of primitive vengeance. "Indigenous elders are fiercely reactionary," the Latin American Weekly Report editorialized, "failing to adapt their traditions to the modern state." (36)

For carrying out the punishment, Ricardo Chaluisa, president of La Cocha, was arrested on charges of kidnapping, torture, mistreatment, and extortion. But while the media portrayed the events as barbaric and violent, indigenous advocates contended that punishment with cold water and stinging nettles was not torture; indeed, the communities used the same treatment for ritual purifying ceremonies. In contrast, from an indigenous perspective a prison sentence could be considered a human-rights abuse that would make social reintegration harder. (37)

Indigenous leader and Pachakutik congressional deputy Lourdes Tiban denied that the punishment was torture. Pachakutik accused Correa of manipulating the situation and converting it into a political persecution against indigenous leaders. Tiban said that internal conflicts were best solved through traditional justice systems, and even cases of murder were internal conflicts "because they do not affect only one person but the entire conglomerate." Furthermore, she argued that community leaders could not be tried for torture in meting out the punishment because they were acting under their constitutionally recognized authority. As a result, they were immune from prosecution in the same way as were judges and prosecutors. (38)

While some liberals viewed indigenous justice as a violation of individual human rights, leftist allies defended the system as valid because it acted with "equity, honesty, community participation, and a certain possibility of reinsertion" into the community. In contrast, the Western system was corrupt and plagued with problems of impunity and endless delays. "Indigenous justice is a historical reality and not a fiction," the Marxist-Leninist PCMLE declared: a system with communal sanctions emphasizing reinsertion into a community was not the same as a lynch mob. Many of those who opposed indigenous justice were lawyers and politicians who had the most to gain from the existing Western penal structures. Embracing different legal systems was part of reformulating state structures on a more inclusive and plurinational basis. (39)

These disagreements cut directly to issues of individual liberties versus community needs, which in part explains the argument's attraction to the Marxist left. But it also raised issues of tradition versus modernity, and even in the face of the failures of Western systems raised questions of whether ancient systems were demonstrably better than modern ones. Simply being an indigenous tradition did not inherently make it a better model to follow.

Hillary Clinton

In the midst of these debates, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, visited Ecuador. The purpose of her June 8, 2010, visit seemed to be to pull Correa away from more radical leftist trends in South America, and on that score she appeared to be successful. Clinton focused her comments on concerns for equality and backed away from the neoliberal economic policies of the previous Bush administration. Correa responded positively to her overtures and a month later echoed her language in a speech in Venezuela, when he pointed to the importance of social, racial, and gender justice as the path to greater equality and fairness that would lead to better economic performance and a reduction of poverty. (40) Correa's leftist opponents, however, pointed to Clinton's visit as pulling Correa in a reformist direction and away from the revolutionary policies that his electoral campaigns had promised.

While in Ecuador, Correa told Clinton that the new left that he represented was not antianything--neither anticapitalist, anti-United States, nor anti-imperialist. His comments led the Ecuadoran leftist Guido Proano to retort that "a left that is not anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist is not left." While it might be social democracy, reformism, populism, developmentalism, or Keynesianism, Proano argued, what Correa called a citizen's revolution was not truly part of the left. (41) 'Yes, in Ecuador we are anti-imperialists," the leftist newspaper Option declared in an editorial, as it denounced what they perceived as Correal moves to lead Ecuador back into a dependency on the United States. (42) For the PCMLE, Clinton's visit represented a reassertion of foreign domination that represented a right-wing drift in Correa's government. Clinton was not welcome in Ecuador, they declared, and she should "go home." (43)

Taking a view similar to previous neoliberal development models based on resource extraction, Correa believed that mining would lead to a growth in the country's economy. The difference in his approach was that he advocated undertaking the exploitation with greater state control and with the goal of a broader distribution of the benefits to the population. A report by Mark Weisbrot and Luis Sandoval of the liberal Washington, D.C.-based think tank Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) acknowledges that while under Correa urban poverty rates had fallen significantly, little progress had been made in rural areas. Indigenous and Afro-Ecuadoran communities where poverty rates were already disproportionately high received little benefit from Correa's policies, which logically lowered their level of support for his government. (44) CONAIE accused Correa of betraying them by approving a mining law that would allow foreign companies to open huge new mines on their territories. Furthermore, this was not a problem unique to Ecuador. "There has been a series of very interesting processes in Latin America--in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador," Acosta observed. "However, none of these new processes have managed to overcome the economic structures of extractivism." He continued,
  It's clear that there is no coherent position against the extractive
  model. There is a lot of talk of transformation and revolution, but
  it continues to be more of the same. As I suggested, I don't think
  there's anything to what they're calling socialism of the twenty-
  first century. What we're witnessing instead is a neo-extractivism of
  the twenty-first century. (45)

Correa's opponents criticized his calls for twenty-first-century socialism as nothing more than empty rhetoric. "We need to rescue socialism from the errors of the last century, but we can't do this by promoting some kind of 'new age' socialism," Acosta said. "For me, twenty-first century socialism has no meaning, it is pure rhetoric." (46) Acosta and other activists wanted to see concrete policies that would lead to a better and more egalitarian society.

Correa saw the greatest threat to his government and the promises for the success of what he called twenty-first-century socialism coming not from the largely discredited conservative oligarchy but from social-movement activists whom he repeatedly derided as fundamentalists and infantile leftists who wanted "all or nothing." For Correa, such "absolutism was the best ally of the status quo." He condemned "extreme environmentalists" who "want to stop us extracting our natural resources." He said that they wanted to reduce Ecuador to "beggars sitting on a bag of gold." (47) CONAIE's President Santi retorted that "the 21st century socialism Rafael Correa speaks about is not socialism, but falsehood; a reprise of the neo-liberal and clientelistic practices of past governments; neither the right nor socialism could agree to include indigenous people but both agreed to destroy them." (48) CONAIE directly attacked the president's developmentalist agenda. "I've heard Rafael Correa's discourse," Santi said, "that we're sitting on a mountain of gold and that it would be stupid not to exploit it. But this is short-term thinking, thinking only in the present. What about our future?" Opponents contended that Correa's policies differed little from those of his predecessors. "It is simply the case that the mask has changed," Santi continued:
  Socialism of the Twenty-First century is not a communitarian
  socialism that respects indigenous rights. It's a copy of Western
  capitalism, which was clearly a failure. It's a new type of
  capitalism in Latin America. And it too is going to prove to be a
  failure. (49)

Correa responded vigorously to criticisms of his political project. The president accused CONAIE of "separatism" and playing into the hands of the political right. He justified his repressive actions by arguing that as in the Zulia and Half Moon areas of Venezuela and Bolivia, reactionary groups were conspiring against the stability of his progressive government and the indigenous dissidents were inadvertently supporting their attacks. Indigenous movements, and in particularly CONIAE, had become unwitting allies of the reactionary right. Activists denied this, and more politically sophisticated militants recognized the very dangerous game of believing that the enemy of one's enemy is a friend. Nevertheless, the issue did remain of who had the most to gain from a weakened presidency, and the answer was not necessarily indigenous movements. Despite Correa's fears, conservative attacks on his government had a questionable degree of viability. The business-friendly Latin American Weekly Report discounted right-wing charges that Correa was taking Ecuador in a totalitarian direction. Correa's agenda could best be described as reformist, which led to attempts to centralize control over political processes. "This in itself is hardly totalitarian," the newsletter concluded, "nor is the manner in which myriad debates, consultations and observations have been held over these issues." (50)

Correa's notoriously caustic outbursts against his opponents did not help the situation. Rather than taking indigenous concerns seriously, he sought to blame others for instigating dissent. In particular, he criticized nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) for stirring up problems:
  These little gringos with their bellies full come here to convince
  indigenous peoples that they should not extract petroleum, nor
  operate mines. They give money to indigenous peoples, and when they
  achieve their goal they depart, leaving indigenous peoples poorer
  than before.

In particular, Correa criticized CONAIE for working with international groups in opposition to mining. Correa said that he would expel any NGO that helped indigenous organizations in their fight against resource extraction. (51)

The Bolivian government leveled similar charges, complaining that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was paying NGOs in an attempt to influence the actions of indigenous movements. Morales warned,
  Since the right cannot find arguments to oppose the process of
  change, they are now using rural, Indigenous, or original people
  leaders who have been paid off with perks from some NGOs and
  foundations to establish a climate of conflict with the government at
  the expense of the process of building unity in the country. (52)

The criticisms of NGOs do have a certain amount of legitimacy. Social movements have become increasingly aware of the danger of their radical agendas being hijacked by NGOs, often through the process of control of revenue streams. A common critique is that NGOs are more concerned with securing their institutional viability than realizing the radical societal transformations that social movements demand. It is not without basis that Correa and Morales would fear that NGOs might lead indigenous movements in a conservative direction and thereby undermine the leftist direction in which they sought to take their revolutions.

Nevertheless, indigenous militants and their allies expressed little sympathy for Correa's concerns. Journalist Raul Zibechi criticized both Correa and Morales for falling back on the same type of Red-baiting tactics that conservatives used in the twentieth century to denounce social-movement activists as part of the "international communist subversion" that was financed by "Moscow gold." Zibechi argued that the presidents were wrong in believing that the indigenous activists were being manipulated and that the influences on them came from outside of the country. Such accusations carried racial implications that indigenous activists were incapable of carrying on a struggle themselves while at the same time distracting attention from real and pressing problems. (53)


In a conversation with political scientist Jeffery Webber, longtime indigenous-rights leader Luis Macas pointed to the importance of balancing a defense of ethnic identities with the need for profound structural changes in society. "Neither struggle is isolated," Macas said. Rather, success required "a diversity of social processes, of historical political processes." In particular, realizing these changes required both transcending colonial mentalities as well as terminating the capitalist model. "If we don't destroy both," Macas declared, "one is going to remain." Unfortunately, "Correa has not overcome his colonial frame of mind." The problem, according to Macas, was not racism--or, rather, the problem went much deeper than race. Correa wanted to liquidate the movement, not because Indians led it but because they stood in the way of the development model he wanted to implement in Ecuador. He was incapable of imagining a different model, one that was not based on the exploitation of natural resources rather than living in harmony with the world. Imperialism does need to be destroyed, Macas argued, but what use is the destruction of imperialism if it is only replaced by the same type of Eurocentric and an-thropocentric geopolitical developmentalist model that now comes out of the global South rather than the industrial North, but still continues to enrich only a few rather than the society as a whole? "Imperialism will only be put to death by the popular struggles," Macas declared. But Correa was taking Ecuador in the wrong direction. The criminalization of social struggles indicated that his government was fundamentally one of the populist right rather than a popular left. (54)

Macas's comments point to what has long been an critique of the Marxist left: that they are based on the "same old story" of Western development models that ignore the concerns of indigenous peoples and favor exploiting resources in an unsustainable manner (55) These notions continue to the present. CONAIE's current president, Santi, has commented that "in the history of socialism and communism, as in the history of capitalism, indigenous people have never been incorporated." Correa's actions do not help the situation because, according to Santi, his "socialist" proposal, "like the right-wing projects that preceded it, does not take indigenous peoples into account." (56) But Macas's comments also highlight that this is more of a stereotype than a necessary reality and that the relationship between a white, urban left and rural indigenous communities does not necessarily have to be an antagonistic one. In fact, Ecuador's current indigenous movements largely emerge out of a history of successful collaborations between Indians and leftists. (57)

Fernando Guerrero and Pablo Ospina point to the "triple origin" of indigenous movements, first growing out of the political left (particularly the Communist Party), then progressive factions in the Roman Catholic Church, and finally from development projects (especially the Mision Andina). (58) From this perspective, working with NGOs does not fall outside a longer tradition. Historian Howard Zinn dismisses criticism of the role of "outside agitators" in the civil-rights movement in the southern United States in the 1960s with a rhetorical question: "What great social movement ever did without such people?" (59) Social movements do not develop in isolation, but an ever-present fear exists, both within the movements as well as among political elites, of seeing them as under the control of someone else's agenda. When the right takes such a position it becomes a way to discredit a movement, but when indigenous activists believe this charge it also has the intended consequence of weakening and undermining their efforts.

Indigenous movements both in Ecuador and across the Americas are currently plagued with deep underlying divisions. One wing, and one that is particularly present in the Andes, Guatemala, and North America, wants to recuperate the originality of indigenous peoples and their ethnic identities. While treasuring traditions and learning from history is valuable, a danger exists of this becoming a reactionary movement that refuses to work with allies, seeks solutions that only benefit indigenous peoples, and moves backward into a quickly disappearing past rather than proposing viable solutions for a better future. An alternative, and one that holds more promise, is to combine sociological questions of the class struggle with cultural dimensions related to ethnic identities. This model is similar to the Kataristas in Bolivia in the 1970s, who sought to interpret their realities with two eyes, both as peasants and as Indians. (60) As some leaders in Ecuador illustrate, this position is much more global and inclusive and promises solutions that benefit all of humanity. (61)

Unquestionably, a wing of the indigenous movement wants to move forward into a better socialist future, but another wing rejects modernity. The second wing is not in a mood to collaborate with other social and popular movements. Those who take an ethnicist position argue that they do not need or want allies. Correa's policies, unfortunately, push indigenous activists deeper into this exclusionary and reactionary position. In a recent book on indigenous peoples written from the perspective of the national-security state, Martin Andersen warns about the threat of al-Qaeda drawing on popular discontent in the Americas. (62) Anyone who has spent much time with indigenous organizations knows that fears of fundamentalist Islam gaining a foothold in their communities are overblown. Nevertheless, these fears parallel a broader threat of conservative reactions against the shortcomings of progressive governments. Already in recent decades, evangelical Christianity has gained a dominant presence in traditional communities, often with an accompanying withdrawal from political struggles. Often indigenousness turns inward to a focus on ethnic identities, and cosmologies accompany a growth of the religious right. Entrenched ethnic identities do little to address underlying class contradictions that lay at the heart of exclusionary and exploitative structures.

The deliberations in Ecuador and Bolivia parallel much broader debates. For example, in a strongly worded polemic, The Trouble with Diversity, Walter Benn Michaels argues that identity politics do not solve much deeper and more fundamentally underlying problems of class inequalities. (63) In contrast, in Colorblind, Tim Wise contends that until we deal with racial inequalities we cannot create a more just society. (64) These issues also came to the surface in the organization of the United States Social Forum (USSF) that was built from the bottom up, starting from communities of color. The result was very successful, and led some activists from communities of color to argue that they no longer needed to engage in the very complicated process of building alliances with white leftists. Similar arguments are underway in Ecuador, and while no ally should ever be mistaken as essential it does lead to a dangerous misreading of history. Even Martin Luther King, Jr., who presented a black face to civil-rights movements in the United States, carefully cultivated broad alliances behind the scenes. New plurinational constitutions promise a world, as the Zapatistas in Chiapas in southern Mexico said, in which there is space for all of us. Indigenous movements in Ecuador realized success because they started with a well-grounded community base, but their vision was for a world that would benefit all. That remains a proven strategy and laudable goal that is still worth pursuing.


Research for this article was funded by a School of Social and Cultural Studies Summer Faculty Research Giant from Truman State University.

(1.) Minga is the word the Kichwas, the largest indigenous nationality in Ecuador and one related to the broader, pan-Andean ethnolinguistic Quechua group, use for a communal work party. Who defines indigenous and what terms to employ in referring to the first peoples of the Americas quickly becomes a highly contentious issue. At a Continental Encounter of the Original Nationalities and Peoples of Abya Yala in Quito in June 2010, Bolivian activists advocated employing the terms original peoples or ancestral peoples instead of indigenous, which they contended was an imposed and derogatory term. In the 1970s and 1980s, some of the most radical organizations embraced the colonial term indio, or Indian, which historically had connotations of ignorance and filth. In a "queering" of the language, militants stated that they were colonized by that term and that they would use it to liberate themselves. In the 1990s, indigena or Indigenous/indigenous replaced Indian as a more proper or respectful term. Delegates from North America resisted a new linguistic shift away from indigenous, arguing that the term had acquired legal force, specifically in the context of the United Nations Permanent. Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and it still had value as a tool to advance their struggles. Although they agreed that a transition in terminology might eventually prove to be beneficial, discarding indigenous was premature and would prove to be a mistake. Some activists and scholars resist the use of any term that implies the homogenization of hundreds or thousands of distinct peoples and nationalities across the continent. Instead, they argue, it is more appropriate to refer to different peoples by their own names. This article recognizes all of those complicated issues. For simplicity's sake, I employ the term indigenous. I would use capital I (Indigenous), based on (and out of respect for) the stated preference of the board of directors of the South and Meso American Indian Rights Center (SAIIC), who used Indigenous as a strong affirmation of their ethnic identities, but in this special issue of Alternatives the editors have adopted a lower-case style indigenous throughout.

(2.) Several different versions of the "sixteen points" exist, and some of them are collected at

(3.) Jorge Leon Trujillo, "Las organizaciones indigenas y el gobierno de Rafael Correa," Iconos 37 (May 2010): 17.

(4.) Alberto Acosta, Bitacora Constituyente (Quito: Abya Yala, 2008), 263.

(5.) "Correa's Get-tough Stance Founders on One Fatality," Latin American Weekly Report WR-09-39 (October 1, 2009): 6.

(6.) "El cierre de Arutam marca otro distanciamiento CONAIE-Gobierno," El Comercio (Quito), December 27, 2009, A3.

(7.) Ecuarunari, "Con la frente en alto hemos ganado una batalla, pero la lucha continua ... hasta cambiar el modelo neoliberal estractivista, por un Estado Plurinacional," Quito, May 15, 2010;; "Deadlock over Ecuador's Water Reform," Latin American Weekly Report WR-10-20 (May 20, 2010): 16.

(8.) Suzana Sawyer, "The 1992 Indian Mobilization in Lowland Ecuador," Latin American Perspectives 24, no. 3 (94) (May 1997): 65-82.

(9.) "La CONAIE celebra 20 anos del levantamiento con una marcha," El Comercio (Quito), June 14, 2010, 4.

(10.) Confederacion de Nacionalidades Indigenas del Ecuador (CONAIE), "Pachakutik Denuncia Criminalizacion," Quito, July 1, 2010;

(11.) "La marcha llegara a Quito este lunes," El Comercio (Quito), June 19, 2010, 5; "La marcha indigena llego ayer a Quito," El Comercio (Quito), June 20, 2010, 3.

(12.) "La FENOCIN cuestiono a dirigentes de la CONAIE," El Comercio (Quito), June 18, 2010, 3.

(13.) Abya Yala is the term the Kuna people of Panama use to describe the Americas. Indigenous activists have increasingly embraced it as an alternative to Eurocentric language.

(14.) Elizabeth Bobsy Draper, "Minga in Ecuador," Z Magazine (December 1990): 33-38.

(15.) John V. Murra, El "control vertical" de un maximo de pisos ecologicos en la economia de las sociedades andinas (Huanuco, Peru: Universidad Hermilo Valdizan, 1972).

(16.) Confederacion de Nacionalidades Indigenas del Ecuador (CONAIE), "Declaration of Quito,"Ecuador, July 1990 (Quito: CONAIE, 1990).

(17.) Marc Becker, "Third Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nationalities of Abya Yala: From Resistance to Power," Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies 3, no. 1 (2008): 85-107; Marc Becker, "Fourth Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nationalities of Abya Yala," Didl-ogo 13 (Summer 2010): 71-77.

(18.) "ALBA Summit Begins in Ecuador," Cuban News Agency, June 24, 2010;

(19.) Alianza Bolivariana Para los Pueblos de Nuestra America (ALBA), "Declaracion de Otavalo," July 25, 2010;

(20.) Inter-American Conference on Indian Life, V Congreso Indigenista In-teramericano, 5 volumes (Quito: Tall. Graf. Nacionales, 1965).

(21.) Mario Melo, "La justicia penal como arma de represion politica: Or-ganizaciones indigenas en indagacion previa por el delito de terrorismo," Agencia Latinoamericana de Informacion (ALAI) (July 1, 2010); active/39265.

(22.) Confederacion de Nacionalidades Indigenas del Ecuador (CONAIE), "Carta de los Pueblos y Nacionalidades Indigenas de Ecuador a la Cumbre del ALBA," Otavalo, June 24, 2010, Servindi,

(23.) Melo, "La justicia penal."

(24.) Consejo de Gobierno de la ECUARUNARI and Consejo de Gobierno de la CONAIE, "La 'revolucion ciudadana' persigue a los dirigentes," Otavalo, July 5, 2010;

(25.) "Indigenous Justice Is Next Bone of Contention," Latin American Weekly Report WR-10-22 (June 3, 2010): 4.

(26.) Jennifer Moore, "A New Wave of Criminalization Against Social Movements in Ecuador," Upside Down World (July 14, 2010);

(27.) Jeffery R. Webber, "Ecuador's Economy Under Rafael Correa: Twenty-First Century Socialism or the New-Extractivism?--An Inteview with Alberto Acosta," Upside Down World (July 12, 2010);

(28.) Methor Sanchez G., "El gobierno de R. Correa y los supuestos terroristas," Ayni Solidaridad 3, no. 37 (May 2010): 2.

(29.) "Levantamiento indigena 20 anos en lucha por sus reivindicaciones," En Marcha 1490 (June 4-10, 2010): 5.

(30.) Raul Zibechi, "Bolivia and Ecuador: The State Against the Indigenous People," CIP Americas (July 19, 2010);

(31.) Jeffery R. Webber, "Carlos Mesa, Evo Morales, and a Divided Bolivia (2003-2005)," Latin American Perspectives 37, no. 3 (127) (May 2010): 51-70.

(32.) Zibechi, "Bolivia and Ecuador: State Against Indigenous People."

(33.) Alex Contreras Baspineiro, "Bolivia y el proceso de cambio: Indigenas contra indigenas," Agencia Latinoamericana de Informacion (ALAI) (June 29, 2010),

(34.) "MAS Dissidents Present New Movement," Latin American Weekly Report WR-10-30 (July 29, 2010): 7.

(35.) Margarita Camacho Zambrano, Cuerpos encerrados, cuerpos emancipados: Travestis en el ex penal Garcia Moreno (Quito, Ecuador: El Conejo, AbyaYala, 2007).

(36.) "Next Bone of Contention," p. 5.

(37.) Irene Caselli, "Ecuador's Indigenous Justice System on Trial," BBC News, July 27, 2010; For a much broader discussion of lynching in Ecuador, see Christopher Krupa, "Histories in Red: Ways of Seeing Lynching in Ecuador," American Ethnologist 36, no. 1 (February 2009): 20-39.

(38.) "Los dirigentes tiene fuero de Corte," El Comercio (Quito), June 19, 2010, 7.

(39.) "La justicia indigena no es una ficcion," En Marcha 1489 (May 28-June 3, 2010): 3.

(40.) "Correa Switches to Building Bridges," Andean Group Report RA-10-06 (June 2010): 7-8; "Still Waltzing over Colombia," Andean Group Report RA-10-07 (July 2010): 8.

(41.) Guido Proano A., "Ni anticapitalista, ni antiimperialist," Opcion 9, no. 195 (June 16-30, 2010): 5.

(42.) "En Ecuador si somos antiimperialistas," Opcion 9, no. 195 (June 16-30, 2010): 4.

(43.) "Hillary, Go Home," En Marcha 1490 (June 4-10, 2010): 2.

(44.) Mark Weisbrot and Luis Sandoval, Update on the Ecuadorian Economy (Washington, D.C.: Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), June 2009), p. 15,

(45.) Webber, "Ecuador's Economy Under Rafael Correa--Inteview with Alberto Acosta."

(46.) Ibid.

(47.) "Still Waltzing over Colombia."

(48.) "Chavez and Correa Seek to Build Regional Unity," Latin American Weekly Report WR-10-27 (July 8, 2010): 5.

(49.) Jeffery R. Webber, "Indigenous Struggle, Ecology, and Capitalist Resource Extraction in Ecuador: An Interview with Marlon Santi," (July 13, 2010); va&aid=20118.

(50.) "Fabricio Correa Launches Presidential Campaign," Latin American Weekly Report WR-10-29(July 22, 2010): 4.

(51.) "ONG's que intervengan en politica seran expulsadas, dice Correa," Hoy (Quito), July 10, 2010;

(52.) "La mano de EE.UU. en el conflicto indigena," Agencia Periodistica del Mercosur, July 2, 2010,

(53.) Zibechi, "Bolivia and Ecuador: State Against Indigenous People."

(54.) Jeffery R. Webber, "Indigenous Liberation and Class Struggle in Ecuador: A Conversation with Luis Macas," Upside Down World (July 17, 2010);

(55.) Ward Churchill, ed., Marxism and Native Americans (Boston, Mass.: South End Press, 1983).

(56.) Webber, "Indigenous Struggle ...: Interview with Marlon Santi."

(57.) Marc Becker, Indians and Leftists in the Making of Ecuador's Modern Indigenous Movements (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2008).

(58.) Fernando Guerrero Cazar and Pablo Ospina Peralta, El poder de la comunidad: Ajuste estructural y movimiento indigena en los Andes ecuatorianos (Buenos Aires: CLACSO, 2003), pp. 26-27.

(59.) Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times (Boston: Beacon, 1994), p. 52.

(60.) Xavier Albo, "From MNRistas to Kataristas to Katari," in Resistance, Rebellion, and Consciousness in the Andean World, Eighteenth to Twentieth Centuries, ed. Steve J. Stern (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987), pp. 379-419.

(61.) Webber, "Indigenous Liberation and Class Struggle: Conversation with Luis Macas."

(62.) Martin Edwin Andersen, Peoples of the Earth: Ethnonationalism, Democracy, and the Indigenous Challenge in "Latin" America (Lanham, Md: Lexington Books, 2010), pp. 76, 118.

(63.) Walter Benn Michaels, The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006).

(64.) Tim J. Wise, Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2010).

Marc Becker *

* Department of History, Truman State University, 100 E. Normal, Kirksville, MO 63501-4221. E-mail:
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Date:Jul 1, 2010
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