The arrest of indigenous leader Leonidas Iza sparks controversy in Ecuador

The arrest of the president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), Leonidas Iza, early this Tuesday 14, in the province of Cotopaxi, in the midst of an indefinite national strike, called by that organization, ignited the controversy, be considered a political miscalculation, but it is also seen as a correct action, since no one is above the law, and the protesters had closed the roads, preventing the transit of people and goods, which is punishable.

The arrest of indigenous leader Leonidas Iza sparks controversy in Ecuador

The arrest of the president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), Leonidas Iza, early this Tuesday 14, in the province of Cotopaxi, in the midst of an indefinite national strike, called by that organization, ignited the controversy, be considered a political miscalculation, but it is also seen as a correct action, since no one is above the law, and the protesters had closed the roads, preventing the transit of people and goods, which is punishable.

In the National Assembly (Congress) the bench of the Pachakutik movement (political arm of the Conaie), which is divided between close to the Government and opponents, came together to announce a political trial of the Minister of the Interior, for the arrest of its leaders.

Salvador Quihspe, one of its legislators, said that "they have added fuel to the fire with the arrests," while former presidential candidate Yaku Pérez, who disaffiliated with Pachakutik, harshly questioned the government for the arrest of the leaders.

The president of the Conaie was transferred to Quito, to the Prosecutor's Unit in flagrante delicto, but taken back to Latacunga, province of Cotopaxi, where he was arrested, when the first day of mobilizations had barely passed, which are indefinite, according to to the organizers. The images of the fire of a patrol car and the destruction of trucks, on the Cuenca-Molleturo-Naranjal road, in the province of Azuay, and the assault on an oil field facility, in the Amazon, would have been decisive for the official reaction . The president himself, Guillermo Lasso, at 02:00, posted a video announced that the intellectual and material authors of the excesses were arrested.

In justifying the arrest, the Minister of the Interior, Patricio Carrillo, said that Iza and his followers blocked the E35 highway, in the province of Cotopaxi (central Sierra) and that, in that place, he had given instructions to block roads and other services. throughout the country, "with the ultimate goal of overthrowing the national government". The intelligence services confirmed a video in which Leonidas Iza, a few days ago, harangued the indigenous so that the measure would in fact be forceful, "to lower the President of the Republic."

Two lawyers from the Conaie legal team, Carlos Poveda and Lenín Sarzosa, filed a habeas corpus requesting Iza's release; they speak of illegal and arbitrary detention; but the constitutionalist Ismael Quintana justified the arrest because the Constitutional Right to protest had already been exceeded and the criminal field was entered.

In the productive sectors there is great concern about the losses derived from the closure of the roads. The flower growers, who were affected, like the others, by the pandemic, but also by having lost the Russian market due to the war, calculate that, on the second day of the mobilization, 75% of their production could not be transported. For this reason, they watch with concern the drift of the mobilization. Rodrigo Gómez de la Torre, former president of the Chamber of Agriculture, told ABC that Iza's arrest was a surprise, but that stoppages and blockades in Ecuador are considered crimes, and no one is above the law.

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