Are Ecuador’s Indigenous Groups Gaining Power?
After months of negotiations, Ecuador’s government reached a deal with Indigenous community leaders on Oct. 14. Spurred by widespread protests that started on June 13 and lasted for two weeks, the talks led to 218 agreements on the implementation of economic and environmental concessions, including price controls and debt forgiveness. Are Indigenous communities gaining greater political representation in Ecuador, and to what extent is the deal a success for them? How are relations between the government and Indigenous peoples evolving? What key areas must be overcome in order to harmonize the Andean nation’s economic development objectives with the concerns of Indigenous groups?
John Polga-Hecimovich, associate professor in the Political Science Department at the U.S. Naval Academy: “Aside from a fallow period under Rafael Correa, the Indigenous movement has been an important social actor in Ecuador for 25 years. Sometimes it has been a part of the government coalition while at other times it plays a vital role channeling popular discontent. In this sense, the June 2022 strike was merely the latest in a long line of significant anti-government protests. The difference between now and the past is that the Indigenous movement, through Pachakutik, is a more viable electoral actor than at any point in its past. Candidate Yaku Pérez won 19 percent of the vote in the 2021 elections—falling just short of a runoff in which he would probably have been favored—while the party earned 24 seats in the National Assembly, giving it the second-largest bench. The Ecuadorean political establishment has to take Indigenous demands into account in order to govern. Ultimately, there is a fundamental tension between…”Read More
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