THE PRESENT SITUATION
Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador
At the global level, we live in a vulnerable situation: humanity is
living through very rapid changes, the things that seemed to have been
established have fallen, dogmas have become out of date, the socialist
system has crumbled, capitalism is in crisis, one part of the world
tends towards homogenization while the rest is entangled in bloody
ethnic struggles. All of this indicates that we are living in the
middle of a global crisis, a crisis which is transitory because it will
lead us to a new human condition.
The Latin American Left, after the decomposition of the socialist
world, today finds itself disoriented , and actually causing confusion
when it states that there are no ideological or political positions,
but we must fight so that our countries can rise out of
under-development. We ask, what will be the cost?
In our country, with so many changes, it seems that some social
movements have lost their perspective. There are no reference points
for their struggle, and they offer no concrete proposals. The
consequences can be clearly seen; the Right has gained control of the
State, on top of the control over the economy, which it has always
There exists currently a struggle for people's identity, to regain
their rights, here, in the continent, and in the world. We do not
believe that this struggle should be violent, as that will not take us
anywhere. What we do know is that we, as indigenous peoples, as the
original peoples of the world, have our identity as our only reference
The principle of identity, which represents the present struggle of the
Peoples of the world, is gaining strength internationally. When we
speak of identity we refer not only to the culture of which we are the
bearers, but also to the methods of nourishment, way of life, social
organization, the way in which we see the world, etc. This global
perspective allows us to see beyond certain political dogmas that have
been imposed upon us.
The indigenous movement, with its search for the principles of
identity, could serve as a reference point for the rest of Ecuadorian
society, since it is a project not only for us but for everyone. The
indigenous problem concerns all Ecuadorians, the government and the
governed. Now that there is no political orientation, the struggle for
identity, to know who we are, to recuperate our roots-if indeed we have
lost them could provide the way in which we can walk strongly, and
firmly into the future.
In this context we see that confrontation between different social
movements is not necessary and instead we should look for agreement,
maintaining our differences and respecting each others proportions.
During these times when we are victims of a package of economic methods
that is taking us into more absolute poverty, we are left with no
alternative other than unity in order to meet our common objectives.The
forceful imposition of these methods, with the decree that militarizes
the country, will not be able to quiet us. We cannot remain calm in the
face of this situation that is a moral attack not only for the
indigenous people but also for the majority of Ecuadorians.
The Compensatory Measures do not offer even a handful of help in
relation to the new economic policies. We want to make clear that we
will defend all of the achievements that we have obtained from previous
governments. Traditionally we have fought for our rights to education,
health, and to other services that the state has the obligation to
offer, such as help for mothers and children. There is no way that the
government can sweep away these conquests with a decree. Bilingual
Education cannot be the object of political negotiations or delegation
of government jobs. We want the accords we have made with previous
governments to be respected. We will defend services such as the
Community Network, Campesino Insurance, School Breakfast and the Huahua
Huasi(Quichua for child care center) because our organizations are
members and benefit from them.
The government talks about reactivating the economic apparatus, and
they employ methods that go against the people. For us, modernization
means reactivating the productive apparatus, both in the city and in
the country. Our country is agricultural; the state needs to
contemplate the problems of all social sectors and steer support
accordingly to small and medium-sized producers.
We, as the Indigenous Movement, think in the following terms:
The recuperation of our lands and the defense of our territories.
We need support from the state in terms of technical support,
credit, irrigation, etc. We provide the country with nourishment,
and we need to reactivate the economy in the country.
Our intention is to create communal business in order to better
market our products. We do not want middlemen.
Modernizing the State also means Modernizing the Constitution. We need
to create a new one that is our own, and not continue with copies of
old constitutions from other countries, as we have done up until now.
In the constitutional reform we refer in particular to Article 1, which
should confirm that Ecuador is a plurinational, pluricultural country,
legally recognizing the existence of the diversity of peoples and
cultures that have always lived here. We want to have legal autonomy
over our manner of organizing, producing and living, with our history,
our language, our customs and beliefs.
The indigenous movement has put the following concepts on the
discussion table: territoriality, plurinationality, nationality,
identity. These themes must be discussed at the national level since
they potentially affect everyone. All of this means modernization.
C O N A I E
CONFEDERACION DE NACIONALIDADES INDIGENAS DEL ECUADOR
INTERNET: firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com UUCP: cdp!ecuanex!conaie!ccc
P.O.Box: Casilla 17171235, Quito, ECUADOR.
Direcci' on: Los Granados 2553 y 6 de Diciembre, Quito, ECUADOR.
Tel' efono: (593-2) 248930 TeleFax: (593-2) 442271
(Written during December 1992 in Native-l by CONAIE, firstname.lastname@example.org.)