Friday, October 2, 2009
Indian protests: It's not about ideology
There are reports of a violent clash between police and Indians in the interior of Ecuador, resulting in at least one death and many injured. This follows by several months similar violence in Peru in which there were many more deaths. Regional leftists and ideologues at the time blamed the conservative, pro-foreign investment government of Peru's Alan Garcia for pushing to open up indigenous-controlled tracts of land to oil, gas and mineral exploration and extraction. Indians, some of them newly empowered and inspired by visible and important new Indian leaders in Latin America such as Bolivia's President Evo Morales, are pushing to protect what they consider to be their land and resources against the greedy nation-state and the capitalist investment groups in Europe and the United States. The same reasoning is apparently behind the new violence in Ecuador. But this time, the government is headed by a leftist, Rafael Correa. It turns out that ideology has nothing to do with it. The issue is political, and, more importantly, control over natural resources and the fantastic revenues that come from their exploitation and use. Nothing new there.