Leonidas Iza, leader of indigenous protests and opponent of eliminating subsidies, wins Conaie elections with a large majority | Politics | News

With 65% of the votes, he prevailed over the other two candidates. He will be at the head of the indigenous movement for three years.

The bases of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) gave broad support to the candidacy of Leonidas Iza and with 821 votes he became the new president of the indigenous movement on Sunday night, June 27.

He was one of the three candidates who were moved in the elections that took place over the weekend in Salasaca, Tungurahua province. Although before the election there were incidents because some wanted the decision of the previous congress to be respected, in which they proposed that a woman should lead the Conaie, the Electoral Committee of the Conaie decided that male candidates should also participate because the Constitution does not allows discrimination.

María Vicenta Andrade, from the Saraguro people, obtained 287 votes. And Marco Guatemal, moved by the indigenous communities of the Sierra Norte, received 153 votes.

They also nominated the president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Coast (Conaice), Javier Aguavil, but he declined his candidacy to support the resolutions of the VI congress in Zamora, held in 2017, in which it was decided that a woman should be the Chairwoman.

Iza is president of the Indigenous and Peasant Movement of Cotopaxi (MICC), he was a candidate for the internal elections of Pachakutik with the aim of competing under the protection of that political movement for the elections of President of the Republic this year, but his application was withdrawn. Now in the Conaie he will be followed in office by his partner in the leadership of the October 2019 protests, Jaime Vargas.

Indigenous leaders Leonidas Iza (i) and Jaime Vargas were called to the National Assembly and the State Attorney General’s Office, following the protests in October 2019.

The two were the most visible leaders of the indigenous demonstrations carried out when the Lenin Monero government eliminated the fuel consumption, a measure that after thirteen days of paralysis was broken. Both were called by the Prosecutor’s Office to give their versions within the previous investigation for the crime of terrorism, which occurred during those protests.

The new president of Conaie also led a demonstration two weeks ago in Latacunga, with the aim of demanding the repeal of decrees 1158, 1183 and 1054 issued by the Moreno government, which released fuel prices. On that occasion, he assured that “(these decrees) be repealed and a dialogue is convened for a new subsidy policy.”

Indigenous gathering had government representatives to dialogue without ‘hostility’

He assured that this peaceful protest, which is not against the national Government, and delivered a list of proposals to the Vice Minister of Government, Homer Castanier. Among other issues, in the indigenous concentration of June 11, a moratorium was proposed on the financial system for the payment of credits, rejection of mining exploitation and the privatization of state entities.

Then Iza warned that if they do not listen to them, they will use the right to resistance peacefully, but “if the violence of the State comes with the police, the military, we will know how to defend ourselves”.

Indigenous leaders of the October 2019 protests are seeking Assembly seats and promoting books in the United States

Leonidas Iza Salazar is an Environmental Engineer from the Technical University of Cotopaxi. In 2013 he was in charge of the Youth Commission of the Indigenous and Peasant Movement of Cotopaxi (MICC).

He was reelected president of the MICC in 2018 and has led, together with Vargas, the Conaie mobilizations in the indigenous strike in October.

His father was José María Iza Viracocha, historical leader of that movement. In September 2019, he was declared innocent in the alleged crime of land trafficking in Cotopaxi. (I)