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Thursday, March 30, 2006

CONAIE sends solidarity letter to Flagstaff marchers

Ecuadoran Solidarity with the March for Sacred Sites
by nm Sunday March 26, 2006 at 02:53 PM

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon salutes your struggle to defend the rights of the Indigenous Peoples of America and the world.
Message: To the March for Sacred Sites and in Defense of Human Rights - Flagstaff,Arizona
March 25, 2006

From: The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador- CONAIE - Quito, Ecuador
March 25th, 2006

Dear Relatives and Friends of Flagstaff, Arizona,

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon salutes your struggle to defend the rights of the Indigenous Peoples of America and the world.

Here in our country for the past 15 days we have been implementing a Mobilization in the Defense of Life throughout the country in order to defend our future as Indigenous Peoples and for the peoples of Ecuador as a whole. We are in opposition to the signing of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) in the absence of prior consultation with our Pueblos, demanding as well the termination of the contract with Oxy Petroleum, and have called for the Convocation of a National Assembly of Constituents.

Our struggle is not only for the rights of Indigenous Peoples but extends to all living beings on the planet.

For this reason we support your struggle to defend the Sacred Sites of the Indigenous Peoples, defending the waterfalls, the rivers, and the
entire biodiversity that has as expression in human terms the relationship of harmony of society and mother nature (Pacha Mama). From these principles we develop our education, our systems of cultivation, our organizational networks, our own systems of justice, and our identity. An Indian without territory does not know who he is.

In this manner the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador - CONAIE defends our territories in the three regions of our country. At this moment we are being invaded by the giant multinational corporations, monsters of mining, lumber extraction, including Environmental Non-governmental Organizations (NGO's) who attack our territories of the Amazon, of the highlands, and of the coast.

We are the victims of the consequences of 30 years of petroleum extraction in our country. In the provinces where the exploitation is most severe, out of every three children, two are malnourished, and our communities experience serious health issues such as skin cancer. We suffer from nicosia, anemia, tuberculosis etc.

The majority of our water ways are contaminated by the petroleum discharges into our rivers and streams. It is not true either that these multinational companies create jobs or employment. Reality is that 17% of Ecuadorians live outside of the country seeking employment; it is these individuals who through remesas of capital back to Ecuador are in actuality sustaining the country economically. In Ecuador, 80% of the population lives under the pall of poverty.

And now with the signing of the Free Trade Agreement, this situation stands to be massively compounded across Ecuador, and so we have
determined to respond in the struggle of our Peoples. We once again unite to defend ourselves. It does not matter whether it is in Flagstaff, Arizona or in Ecuador - it is the same struggle with the same objective - to defend the right of life with dignity for all of the Indigenous Peoples.

Adelante! Tayecana! Forward !

One thought, one hand, one heart. - Un solo Corazón, Una sola mano, Un solo pensamiento.

Rafael Pandan
Director of International Relations - CONAIE
Governing Council of CONAIE
http://www.conaie.org

Translation : TONATIERRA http://www.tonatierra.org

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