The latest series of events have their origin in a longstanding conflict over legal rights to the land. A decree dating back to 1825 granted five Indigenous communities the rights to 15,000 hectares of land. Rights to 300 hectares of this land are being disputed by a group of local landowners, who also have legal property titles. In order to dislocate the Indigenous communities from the land in question, the owners have organized armed paramilitary groups to terrorize Indian inhabitants. In December of 1990, Indian leader Julio Cascango was killed in the same region, apparently by a paramilitary group. The army has also participated in the campaign of violence, as demonstrated by the recent detention and torture of Jose Maria Cabascango (no kin), the human rights secretary of CONAIE. The escalating violence throughout the region, and the persecution and detah threats made against Quechua Indian communities have made it implossible for the people of these communities to travel freely and safely.
Following this confrontation, the paramilitary bands went to the villages of Chine and Churo Lozan and launched a violent attack on the communities. Community members were beaten and mistreated, houses, possessions and property were destroyed, and animals were stolen.
President Rodrigo Borja
Telex: 393-223-75 PREREP ED
Send copies to CONAIE
Los Granados 2553 y 6 de Diciembre, Quito, Ecuador
South and Mesoamerican Indian Information Center SAIIC
P.O.Box 28703, Oakland CA 94604
1212 Broadway # 830
Oakland, CA 94612/USA
(Posted to Native-l on Fri, 11 Oct 1991 by email@example.com (Guillermo Delgado))