The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ecuador strike called off after President meets indigenous leaders

8th October 2009

BUENOS AIRES ( – After eight days of protests against a proposed government water policy, indigenous leaders in Ecuador met on Monday with President Rafael Correa and were able to hammer out an agreement to address their concerns.

The strike, which blocked roads and railways and erupted into violence at times, ended on Wednesday.

The meeting between indigenous leaders and the President lasted four hours, reported.

The riots left one casualty in the Amazon region after a violent confrontation with police and paralysed railways for a week.

Indigenous groups were demanding changes to Ecuador's new mining law and opposed the government's proposed new water policy.

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (Conaie), the biggest indigenous organisation in Ecuador, says the new Water bill could result in the privatisation of the country's water supply, although Correa rejects this claim.

The group is also against the official plans for large-scale mining exploitation in ancestral territories, claiming it will affect the environment.

The meeting this week produced a six-point agreement, which the President is expected to sign next Tuesday.

Firstly, the parties have agreed to institutionalise a permanent dialogue between the government and the native communities.

There will also be a commission set up to work on the Water bill and try to reach an intermediate agreement between the government's plans and the indigenous groups.

A thorough analysis of possible modifications to the mining law, will be conducted and, finally, a commission, comprising two delegates each from the government the indigenous groups, will investigate the death last week of protester Bosco Wisum.

Indigenous groups had a leading role in overthrowing two previous Ecuadorian presidents.

A BBC article comments that, even though they are not as powerful as they used to be, native communities have grown stronger from this conflict.

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