Ecuador: Correa blinks in stand-off with CONAIE

Ecuador's Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion Betty Tola announced Jan. 5 that the government would not evict indigenous organization CONAIE from its Quito office, which has for weeks been occupied by supporters prepared to resist removal. The repreive came the day before the scheduled eviction, with a cross-country march arriving in Quito for a mobilization in support of CONAIE. A march on the Carondelet presidential palace, with a traditional runner (chaski) bringing a list of CONAIE demands for President Rafael Correa, was blocked by riot police. Tola said a final decision on the use of the building would be put off for two months. Correa, who was away in China as the affair came to a climax, earlier charged that CONAIE was exploiting the premises for "political uses."

CONAIE has called for a Peoples National Summit in March, when the decision is now scheduled, hoping to launch a new broad-based opposition movement together with organized labor and other popular organizations. This comes just as Correa has announced plans for his own pro-government movement to support his "Revolución Ciudadana" (Citizen's Revolution). Correa's new movement is to be called the Alianza de Pueblos por el Buen Vivir (Alliance of the Peoples for Good Livelihood)—a reference to the indigenous concept of Sumak Kawsay. In a clear move to counter CONAIE, the first body of the new Correa alliance is an Alianza Indígena por la Revolución Ciudadana (Indigenous Alliance for the Citizen's Revolution). (UDW, La Hora, Quiito, El Universo, Guayaquil, Jan. 13; Fusion, Jan. 8; Ecuavisa, Jan. 5; El Comercio, Quito, Jan. 4; El Comercio, Jan. 3)