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Council on Hemispheric Affairs’ Statement on the Protest Movement in Ecuador

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By: Larry Birns, Director of COHA and Senior Research Fellows: Jim A. Baer, Nicholas Birns, William Camacaro, Lynn Holland, Frederick B. Mills, Ronn Pineo

In response to President Rafael Correa’s proposed inheritance tax, a far right coalition in Ecuador has launched a campaign of anti-government protest in the country. This movement is being joined by some forces on the green and Indigenous left, long opposed to Correa’s economic strategy of neo-extractivism, that is, the exploitation of Ecuador’s rich deposits of oil to fuel the economy as well as providing the majority of government revenue. Correa’s economic approach has been to aggressively push forward oil operations, even in environmentally sensitive areas, and then use the proceeds to pay for poverty reduction programs. The various Eco-Indigenous groups have legitimate concerns about the sustainability of the neo-extractivist approach, but it is a fact that since Correa came into office in 2007 one million Ecuadorians have been lifted out of poverty. In 2007 4 of 10 Ecuadorians lived in poverty. Today less than a quarter of the population does.

COHA calls for an end to the violence that has accompanied the protests, with over 100 police and military now having suffered injuries, including grave ones. COHA supports dialogue between the various opposition sectors and the government, and the continuation of the positive trend in Ecuador of settling political differences by democratic procedures, not golpismo.

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