Assassination of Ecuadorian leader escalates tensions

QUITO, Feb. 27 — The assassination of a senior leader of the Confederation of Indigenous Peoples (Konaye) has heightened tensions in the country amid a disruption in the organization’s dialogue with the government, preceded by allegations of corruption. who are somehow involved in President Guillermo Lasso’s entourage, and this erupted after his defeat in the February 5 referendum.

In a Twitter post, the President expressed solidarity with the family of Eduardo Mendua, who was shot dead in the Amazon city of Sucumbios where he lived and fought against mining, and promised to promote investigations so that justice would be served.

But Conaie blamed the executive branch through its president, Leonidas Iza, while the Conaie affiliate, the Indigenous Confederation of the Ecuadorian Amazon (Confeniae), pointed out in condemning the assassination that Mendua “was one of the visible faces of the resistance in Dureno territory before the conflict caused by the presence of oil companies.”

The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of indigenous peoples, Guatemalan José Francisco Cali Tsai, also condemned the murder of the leader Conaye and asked not to go unpunished.

The refusal was joined by former Coreismo presidential candidate Andrés Arauz, who expressed his solidarity with the Mendua family and Conaye.

In his complaint, Leonidas Iza indicated that this was not an isolated case and said that ten senior leaders who are part of the Konaye leadership have received threats since June 2022 after protests against the economic policies of the Lasso government.

Iza recalled that in the area where the crime took place, indigenous communities demanded consultations prior to oil activities, as stated in the Constitution and international regulations, but this did not happen, and rather, the companies tried to occupy these territories by force, he said.

In addition, the leader of the indigenous peoples added that the leadership of his organization supports permanent persecution, in connection with which he called on international organizations that protect human rights to monitor and protect the lives of public leaders.

On Friday, Conaie announced its withdrawal from the negotiating tables agreed after last year’s protests and said the decision was due to a breach of government commitments, while calling for President Lasso’s resignation. Even though it was not a move, requests for Lasso’s resignation were heard in Ecuador as his intention to reform the Magna Carta failed due to eight issues put to a referendum on 5 February, none of which were approved.

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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