Ecuador News Round-Up
The news from Ecuador this week:
Rumble in the Jungle
US media outlets are reporting on the ongoing battles between Ecuador's indigenous population and oil companies that want to drill in the Amazon jungle.
Reuters says: "In the northern Amazon, Indians are suing a U.S. oil company over environmental damage they say ruined their land and made people sick. Further south, indigenous demonstrators have led violent protests to keep firms off their property."
The New York Times reports: "As international energy companies move into the Amazon basin to tap some of the last untouched oil and natural gas reserves, more and more natives are fighting to keep them out."
And OneWorld weighs in: "On the eve of an historic march to protest plans for oil extraction on their sacred homeland and denounce the series of human rights violations that their community endured over the last year, members of the Kichwa nationality from Sarayacu were violently attacked and detained last Thursday by pro-oil forces, while en route to Puyo, the nearest city and site of the march."
In Quito, approximately 5,000 Ecuadorian teachers, students, and parents recently protested a lack education funding. The demonstrators clashed with police, who responded by firing tear gas.
The AP says: "Ecuador's 120,000 public school teachers went on strike on November 11, demanding that Gutierrez's government deliver on promises - which ended a monthlong strike in July - to raise teachers' monthly salaries by US$10 and invest US$11.7 million to build new schools and refurbish old ones. Public school teachers in Ecuador earn between US$160 and US$350 a month."
I mentioned not long ago that Ecuadorian president Lucio Gutierrez may be the next Andean leader forced from office. In addition to allegations that his presidential campaign received money from a drug trafficker, the Ecuadorian Indian movement has announced that they'll soon begin protesting what they say are Lucio's broken campaign promises.
While there've been no new developments, stay tuned: Gutierrez's authority is weak, and if the country's indigenous movement truly ratchets up the pressure, like they did in Bolivia, Lucio may fall. At this point, we may be experiencing the calm before the storm.
Liga de Quito: Ecuadorian Champions
Liga de Quito defeated crosstown rivals Nacional 2-1 to claim the Ecuadorian league championship.
That's it for this week.