New Internationalist

Another axis of evil

Issue 356

Through community-based organization, cultural identity and sheer tenacity, the Ecuadorian indigenous peoples have become one of Latin America’s largest organized movements: both a symbol of change and a real obstacle to full-blown neoliberalism in the region.

As Hernán Ramos of the Ecuadorian daily El Comercio explains: ‘The indigenous movement is no longer just a national reference point, but has become regional, with a great capacity for innovation and ability to question not only the existing political system, but also to try to reform and improve democracy.’

Along with George Bush’s ‘Latin American axis of evil’ (Cuba, Venezuela and the Colombian guerrillas) - recently made worse by Lula’s election in Brazil and the strengthening of peasant and indigenous power in Bolivia and Peru - the Ecuadorian indigenous movement is contributing to the US Administration’s growing regional headaches.

What Ecuador’s indigenous movement does will undoubtedly influence Latin America’s other social movements - and the building of supranational alliances that could successfully halt the ever-increasing destructive power of the transnationals and their governments.

The recent agreement between Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Ecuadorian President Gutiérrez to strengthen state enterprises - especially the creation of Petroamérica to control price fluctuations in the oil market - is part of this new coming together of Latin American peoples and countries.

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