Ecuador Native Group Breaks Off Dialogue With Government

QUITO (Dow Jones)–The powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, or CONAIE, announced on Friday the rupture of the dialogue with the government of President Rafael Correa and said that it will call for protests and demonstrations.

After two days of meetings, CONAIE heads blamed the government for the breakdown of the talks, which started in October, after the death of a member of the Shuar native in a clash between police and protesters amid demonstrations against a proposed law regulating water and mining and oil activity on their lands.

Delfin Tenesaca, head of the Ecuadorian Confederation of Kichwa Nationalities, or ECUARUNARI, a CONAIE arm, told Dow Jones Newswires that indigenous people "will start to implement a plurinational state with our own rules in each of our communities."

Tenesaca said that the current government policies threaten the collective rights to their territories, resources and self-determination, rights which are guaranteed in the Ecuadorian Constitution and under international law.

President Correa has said that he won't accept CONAIE's pressures.

The CONAIE played an important role in the overthrow of former presidents Abdala Bucaram and Jamil Mahuad in the late 1990s and in 2000.

Correa, a left-leaning economist who came to office early in 2007, is facing widespread discontent and protests against his policies, amid a deteriorating political and economic environment.

Recently between 200,000 and 250,000 people marched against Correa in Guayaquil, the Ecuador's largest city and financial center, answering a call from the city's mayor, Jaime Nebot.

Nebot said the protest was against the amount of money assigned to the city by the central government this year.

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