From ALAI (Latin American Information Agency)
21 Aug 1995
Translated for NY Transfer News
by Michael Pearlman


Indigenous Political Movement Rises

by Eduardo Tamayo

Pachac'utic is the name of the new indigenous political movement organized to participate in the next elections in May 1996.

Pachac'utic, according to the provisional coordinator of the movement, Valerio Grefa, signifies the coming of a new era, the era of transformation, change and rebirth of the indigenous peoples.

The Pachac'utic movement, which has been gestating for a year, does not plan to become a parallel organization to the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), which groups most of the indigenous population, estimated at 20% of 11 million Ecuadorians.

"This movement is a consensual action of the peoples, organizations and popular sectors that have a full identity as indigenous peoples because Indian blood runs in their veins," as Grefa describes it.

"After five centuries of resistance by the indigenous peoples, peasants and popular sectors, we are now prepared to recuperate our philosophic bases and reconstruct and restore our original peoples," added Grefa, who also leads the Coordination of Indigenous organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), headquartered in Quito.

This indigenous sector believes that the only way of making structural and radical change in the country is "to participate, making use of democratic means to gain access to state power, because only thus can we transform our country, which has indigenous roots and culture that our constitution now neglects."

The Pachac'utic movement will present its own candidates for local government elections and possibly for Congress. It will decline to present indigenous candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency, although it will seek alliance with political forces that "accept and share our ideological principles and our governmental program."

With a recent constitutional reform, the obligation of citizens to be enrolled in a recognized political party to participate in elections has been eliminated; with certain legal requisites, independent groups and citizens can now take part.

With ten months until the elections, nine presidential candidates have already been nominated and the different forces are preparing to enter the electoral campaign. The Indians, who have constituted one of the main social forces in the last decade, don't want to stay outside the struggle.

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