CONAIE Calls for a Cease Fire

(January 31, 1995)

All forms of violent aggression which satisfy personal or group interests have been repudiated by the Indigenous peoples of Ecuador, Peru, and other countries of the Continent.

The history of the border conflict between Ecuador and Peru has demonstrated to us that the armed conflict has been a mechanism to divert the attention of the people and conceals the serious level of the crisis to which the governments in power have brought us.

We can not once again permit our Peoples and territories to be the victims of these conflicts which are imposed by certain social sectors. For this reason, this Confederation wishes to make several points:

1. At this time, more than 300 communities located in the area of military confrontation are directly affected by this conflict. We are Indigenous Peoples to which no government, neither Peru's nor Ecuador's, has paid attention.

2. The Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous people of Ecuador and Peru are on the margins of these hostile decisions. Because of this, our reaction is exclusively in defense of life.

3. It is very important that the diplomatic efforts to extract a cease fire take place within organizations which have the power and ability to stop the fighting, such as the Security Council of the United Nations, the Organization of American States (OAS), and guarantor states, friendly governments, and Papal mediation.

4. We demand that this opportunity be taken to end this conflict in a peaceful and definitive manner. The Indigenous Peoples located in these zones cannot remain there with this permanent insecurity for our lives and territories. In order for the border to be secure one must remember that people live there. Placing the resources and territories in the hands of indigenous peoples are a sufficient guarantee for the peace and integrity of the area. This means a definitive legalization of the territory on the part of the two countries in favor of the Indigenous Peoples. Because of this, the governments' political decisions backed by their armed forces is fatally flawed.

5. Similarly, we are aware of the need to defend our resources as a way to support the development of education and health in our countries and, in particular, this strategic zone. We are opposed to these resources being given to private interests, either national or foreign, which would result in them being diverted from our own development.

6. We consider it important to approach this case with seriousness and responsibility, in order to avoid politicians using such a delicate matter, which has already cost the lives of several of our people including Hector Pilco Chango, to their political advantage.

7. CONAIE calls on the governments to respect and guarantee the life and territory which our communities occupy.

8. Our organization is coordinating actions of solidarity for the people on the border, actions which are designed to make the consequences which our communities must suffer from this war less painful.

We hope for some sensibility on the part of the governments so that the costs of these wars are not transferred to the poorest people, or we will pay for them with the hunger of our children.

Luis Macas

P.O.Box: Casilla 17171235, Quito, ECUADOR.
Address: Los Granados 2553 y 6 de Diciembre, Quito, ECUADOR.
Telephone: (593-2) 248930 Fax: (593-2) 442271