May 12, 2010
Ecuador's government said Tuesday that the proposals from the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) regarding the Water Resources Law are unconstitutional.
Minister Coordinator of Policy Doris Soliz said the proposals made by CONAIE can not be discussed at the National Assembly because they go against Ecuador's Constitution.
CONAIE, a former ally of the Ecuadorian government, is protesting against a bill concerning the control and management of water resources in the country.
Soliz said one of the unconstitutional proposals is the Multinational Council that CONAIE suggests should be in charge of regulating and managing the water resources.
According to Soliz, the Central Water Authority (AUA) should be in charge of the water resources because Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is the one in charge of defining and directing the public policies.
Another proposal regarded as unconstitutional is the creation of a budget preallotment called "Water Fund."
Soliz said according to the new Constitution, the preallotment will be directed only by the decentralized autonomous governments to health, education, research, science and technology sectors.
"The transfer of preallotment will be predictable and automatic, other budget allotments are prohibited," Soliz added.
The CONAIE also requested that private companies be prohibited from managing the water resources. This goes against Ecuador's Constitution, which stipulates that "the economic system will be formed by public, private, and mixed sectors."
The native organizations fear the new law will promote the privatization of the water resources, which the government denies.
Soliz criticized CONAIE for imposing a fine of between 20 and 50 U.S. dollars on peasants who refuse to support their protests and for prohibiting the watering of their crops.
The National Assembly will vote on the Water Resources Law this week.