Indigenous Leaders Elected to Ecuador's National Congress

On Sunday, May 19, 1996, Ecuador held national elections. For the first time in Ecuador an Indigenous person was elected as a National Congressperson (diputado nacional). Luis Macas, a Quichua Indigenous from the Saraguro community in the Loja province was elected to the National Congress as a representative of the Movimiento Pachakutec which is part of the coalition party Movimiento Nuevo Pais (Movement for a New Country). Three other Indigenous leaders were elected in three other provinces. Jose Aviles was elected as the representative of the Napo province. Leonidas Isa was elected as the representative for the Cotopaxi province. Miguel Yuco was elected as the representative for the Chimborazo province.

Luis Macas just resigned from the presidency of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) to allow him to fight for Indigenous rights in the National Congress. CONAIE's new president is Rafael Pandam, Shuar from the Oriente (Amazon) region.

In the race for the presidency, Jaime Nebot of the Partido Social Cristiano (conservative social cristian party) so far is leading in the initial counts of the election returns, with 27%. He is predicted to win.

Luis Macas was interviewed by SAIIC today, (May 20). He said that this election, and the successful participation of the Moviment Pachapute helped to sensitise the national opinion on Indigenous peoples' righs. He expressed satisfaction that the vote received by the new party, Movimiento Nuevo Pais, is helping to unify the popular forces and Indigenous peoples. Luis Macas also expressed concern for the future of people in Ecuador because the new conservative government is proposing to privatise the Ecuadorian economy even more and exploit the natural resources to a greater extent. He also expressed concern that the new government could establish a repressive policy against the poor people and progressive forces.

Luis Macas is coming to the United States and will be speaking together with other Indigenous leaders on Indigenous Peoples' Responses to Economic Globalization at the UC Berkeley Alumni House on Friday, June 7, 1996 (6-9pm). This event is sponsored by Abya Yala Fund, the first foundation created and run by Indigenous leaders from the South. Luis Macas and the other panel speakers are Board Members.

For more information, contact Abya Yala Fund (510)763-6553 or

Posted to saiic-l on May 20, 1996.


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