Tenth day of protests in Ecuador: authorities report three deaths 4:03 (CNN Spanish) — The tension in Ecuador has no truce. After a 2020 pandemic and a 2021 marked by prison violence and criminality, this 2022 finds the country involved in nationwide protests and a state of emergency. And behind this wave of protests, which included clashes and road closures, is Leonidas Iza, the president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), who claims for the prices of fuel and farm products, the unemployment and crime, among other demands. On Tuesday, on the ninth day of protests —with a balance of at least four deaths—, Iza rejected the call for dialogue that President Guillermo Lasso had already accepted, arguing that certain conditions must first be met, including the repeal of the state of exception. But who exactly is this indigenous leader who has the government and the country on edge? The beginnings in Cotopaxi and the growth Leonidas Iza Leonidas Iza Salazar was born in 1982 in the San Ignacio community, in Cotopaxi, and is the son of the historic indigenous leader José María Iza Viracocha, who participated in the protests of the early 1990s, according to the Efe agency. Indigenous leader Leonidas Iza released in Ecuador 3:22 Those mobilizations, also known as the Inti Raymi Uprising, took place during the government of President Rodrigo Borja and included the taking of the Santo Domingo church in Quito. They were also the first major demonstrations of Conaie, founded in 1986. Iza studied environmental engineering at the Technical University of Cotopaxi, and before becoming leader of Conaie he was president of the Indigenous and Peasant Movement of Cotopaxi (MICC). . Iza later gained notoriety during the indigenous protests against former President Lenín Moreno in 2019, and has now returned to lead the demonstrations against Lasso, the current president. According to the Conaie website, Iza is a member of the Kichwa nationality and is part of the Panzaleo people. The Kichwa, named for the language also known as Quechua, are based in the highlands of Ecuador, and the Panzaleo people make their home in the province of Cotopaxi, one of the centers of the current protests. Do the protests seek to destabilize the Lasso government? 0:57 Iza’s arrest during the latest protests These latest indigenous mobilizations began on Monday June 13 in various provinces of Ecuador, and a day later Iza was arrested by the National Police of Ecuador for presumption of committing crimes. Specifically, the Prosecutor’s Office alleged that Iza was allegedly found cutting a highway, affecting the right to free mobility and free circulation. In a subsequent statement, Conaie said that it considered Iza’s detention illegal since it did not comply with due process. While the leader’s defense rejected the accusation and insisted that at the time of his arrest the road had not been obstructed. Finally, Judge Paola Bedón ordered Iza’s “immediate release” on Wednesday. As an alternative, the judge also ordered the prohibition of leaving the country and the periodic presentation before the Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesdays and Fridays, in order to defend himself in freedom from the accusations against him. Guillermo Lasso extends the state of exception 4:08 Dialogue with the Government On Thursday Iza said that he would not accept a dialogue where there are no results and assured that he would coordinate the mobilization of indigenous bases to Quito if there are no answers to the requests for the. A day later, the president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, signed the state of emergency decree in the provinces of Cotopaxi and Pichincha (later extended to Chimborazo, Pastaza and Tungurahua), and the Conaie leadership said that it would continue with the protests, time that Iza called for a peaceful demonstration and assured that their mobilization does not have vandalism overtones. On his Twitter account, Lasso said in turn that he will not allow disorder in the protests and targeted those who, according to him, want to remove him from power. “They seek chaos, they want to throw out the president, I am here, I am not going to escape,” he considered.
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