Ecuador’s President Warns Indigenous Community

Associated Press

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — President Rafael Correa threatened unspecified consequences Tuesday for a fiercely independent indigenous community in Ecuador’s Amazon that is harboring three political opponents who face prison for defaming him.

Correa angrily accused Sarayaku, whose 1,200 people belong to the country’s biggest indigenous group, the Kichwa, of acting above the law. The remote community is famed among the indigenous in the Americas for successfully resisting oil drilling.

The president demanded that leaders of the community near the Pastaza river turn over congressman Clever Jimenez, his adviser Fernando Villavicencio and a prominent physician, Carlos Figueroa.

The three opposition activists were convicted earlier this month of defaming Correa by accusing him of crimes against humanity in ordering the military to use force to free him from a besieged hospital during a 2010 police uprising. Jimenez and Villavicencio were sentenced to 18 months, Figueroa to six months. They were collectively fined $145,000.

Human rights groups have questioned the independence of Ecuador’s judiciary, accusing Correa of stacking the courts with loyalists and wielding them against political opponents.

Read More

Recommended Posts