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The recent passing in Ecuador of the new Criminal Code resulted in a call by indigenous organization Ecuarunari to actively resist and reject what they consider the “criminalization of social protest”.
Chair of Ecuarunari and the Kichwa Confederation of Ecuador, Lawyer Carlos Perez Guartambel, rejected the contents of the new code passed after a proposal by the Executive Branch and which would enter into force in June.
Perez criticized the repressive nature of the new Code, which he believes aims to silence social protest in Ecuador, comparing it to structures of totalitarian countries and even Latin American dictatorships. “Every resistance action in Ecuador, under this regime, will result in a jail sentence”, said Perez Guartambel, who has been prosecuted for heading a process of civil resistance against the privatization of water sources in Cuenca city, where he was born.
According to the indigenous leader, the reformed Code aims to “consolidate the hegemonic and monarchic power” in Ecuador by accumulating and harshening sentences. The largest protests against this new Code came from doctors, since wrongful deaths from “dangerous, illegitimate and unnecessary actions” are severely penalized.
Perez Guartambel expressed his solidarity with the doctors and denounced the fact that it was mandatory to hire an insurance, which will result in a million-dollar business promoted by the State. He also announced that they will file an appeal against the Code as unconstitutional and they will promote an alternative proposal in the six-month term after the Code enters into force.
And in a press conference organized together with teachers and unionists, he called for strengthened resistance to mining megaprojects and agribusiness in his country.
“No queremos ser mártires, no queremos que hayan más mártires en este país, pero también hay una responsabilidad histórica de hacer valer la palabra y demostrar que tenemos derecho a la construcción de un mundo mejor. Y no podemos huir a esa responsabilidad”, dijo a Radio Mundo Real la dirigente garífuna Miriam Miranda, coordinadora de la Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH).
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