Ecuador’s numerous indigenous nationalities are very unhappy with the current government at the moment and are going through their second major set of protests in the last couple of months.
In the last set of protests I was asked by IC Magazine, a publication of the Center of World Indigenous Studies, to write an article about Ecuador’s Indigenous Uprising.
Having worked with various indigenous groups in the country over several years through this non-profit project – Ecuador Eco Volunteer – I was well placed to get in touch with the leaders of the protests including various members of CONAIE – The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador.
Their demands include stopping the closure of thousands of bi-lingual schools which teach their native languages along with Spanish, stopping mining companies displacing indigenous communities and destroying the fragile ecosystems of the Andes and Amazon, ending the monopoly that multinationals like Nestle have over community water-supplies, as well as preventing changes to the constitution that would allow President Correa’s indefinite re-election sending Ecuador down the dangerous path of Venezuela.
Is It Safe To Volunteer in Ecuador During the Protests?
It is completely safe to volunteer in Ecuador – I would however recommend caution if you wish to join the marches in the major cities because of the violent tactics the Ecuadorian police are known to employ to crush these protests. Its better to observe the marches, especially the larger ones, from a safe distance.