ISSUE #529, MARCH 19, 2000


Dozens of people took part in a "march of empty pots against
hunger and dollarization" on Mar. 15 in Quito, called by
Ecuadoran unions grouped in the Patriotic Front (FP).
Participants marched banging on pots and pans, and set up a soup kitchen
for hungry people in the capital's main plaza to draw attention to the
effects of the government's neoliberal economic policies. FP president Luis
Villacis warned that the march was only the beginning of a series of
protests against such policies, especially the plan to replace Ecuador's
currency with the US dollar. Villacis said that a "grassroots uprising"
will begin on Mar. 21, followed by neighborhood protests against service
rate hikes on Mar. 23, demonstrations by teachers on Mar. 30, and a
national general strike and other protests on as-yet undetermined dates in
April. [Hoy (NY) 3/16/00 from EFE; El Telegrafo (Guayaquil) 3/16/00; La
Hora (Quito) 3/16/00]

The Mar. 21 uprising is being organized by the Confederation of Indigenous
Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and the Coordinating Committee of Social
Movements (CMS). [ET 3/16/00] CONAIE indicated on Mar. 16 that it is about
to break off its fragile dialogue with the government. Salvador Quishpe,
president of Ecuarunari, one of the main member groups in CONAIE, said that
one million signatures have already been collected on a petition that would
force a referendum on the dollarization. [CNN en Espanol 3/16/00 with info
from Reuters]

The petition--sponsored by the National Parliament of Ecuadoran People,
which includes CONAIE, CMS and other sectors--also deals with questions
concerning an amnesty for military personnel who supported an indigenous
uprising in January [see Update #521]; new elections for Congress and the
replacement of Supreme Court judges; the unfreezing of bank accounts;
nonpayment of the foreign debt; a ban on privatizations in key sectors; and
a ban
on foreign military bases, among other issues. [Copy of petition]

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La Alianza Amazónica para los Pueblos Indígenas y Tradicionales de la
Cuenca Amazónica es una iniciativa nacida de la alianza entre los pueblos
indígenas y tradicionales de la Amazonía y grupos e individuos que
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Las ochenta organizaciones del norte y del sur activas en la Alianza
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The Amazon Alliance for Indigenous and Traditional Peoples of the Amazon
Basin is an initiative born out of the partnership between indigenous and
traditional peoples of the Amazon and groups and individuals who share
their concerns for the future of the Amazon and its peoples. The eighty
non-governmental organizations from the North and South active in the
Alliance believe that the future of the Amazon depends on its peoples and
the state of their environment.
Enlighten your in-box. http://www.topica.com/t/15