PROTESTS ROCK OAS SUMMIT IN QUITO
As US Secretary of State Colin Powell and foreign ministers from 33 other
countries gathered in Quito, Ecuador, for the general assembly of the
Organization of American States (OAS) on June 8, hundreds of Indians,
campesinos and workers marched through the city to protest Plan Colombia
and the Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement, and demand the
resignation of President Lucio Gutierrez. As protesters approached Quito's
Hotel Swiss where the foreign ministers were gathered, thousands of police
and soldiers barred their way, hurling tear gas to clear the streets.
Protesters also repeatedly blocked the Panamerican Highway north of Quito.
In a game of cat-and-mouse, protesters regrouped elsewhere on the highway
after police broke their roadblocks, dragging boulders across the
The protests were coordinated by the Confederation of Indigenous
Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), whose leader Leonidas Iza said he
wanted OAS delegates to "see there is hunger, there is deep poverty, there
is corruption" in Ecuador.
Small pamphlet bombs also exploded in three cities--three in Quito; three
in Cuenca; and one in Guayaquil. The pamphlets, issued by the People's
Combat Group (GCP), attacked the OAS for acquiescing in the "expansion of
imperialism." No injuries were reported.
Gutierrez would not have won election in a November 2002 runoff without
the support of CONAIE. The indigenous coalition broke with him last year
over charges of corruption and his privatization policies, and his former
Indian allies are now determined to force him from office with massive
street protests. (ANNCOL, June 8; AP, June 9
The day before the OAS summit opened, a group of campesinos from a zone
near the Colombian border staged a brief occupation of the Colombian
embassy in Quito, spraying the building with glyphosate. The campesinos
charge that Colombian aerial fumigation flights have repeatedly sprayed
glyphosate on their lands in Ecuador. (ANNCOL, June 6)
See Also WW3 REPORT #96
Special to WORLD WAR 3 REPORT, June 12, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution