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  • Unasur's former headquarters in Quito, Ecuador, March 14, 2019.

    Unasur's former headquarters in Quito, Ecuador, March 14, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 19 August 2020
Opinion

The Conaie suspects that such a decision is a revenge due to the October protests.

In Ecuador, Indigenous organizations expressed their disagreement with President Lenin Moreno's decision to establish a museum and not an Indigenous university at the former headquarters of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in Quito.

RELATED: Ecuador's Workers Ask Moreno Policies to Mitigate Layoffs

The Ecuadorean Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (CONAIE) suspects that such a decision is an act of revenge due to the October protests, which stopped the application of neoliberal measures recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Even before that political event, the Moreno Administration's ministers evaded answering questions about the use of that building for an indigenous university, Lenin Zarzosa, a member of the CONAIE legal team, said.

After the arrival of a new wave of right-wing governments in Latin America, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Chile, and Peru left UNASUR.

As a result of this, its headquarters were left without occupants, which sparked a discussion about what should be the future use of these facilities.

In July 2018, Moreno announced that this building would be the headquarters for an Indigenous high studies center. However, on August 9, he changed his mind saying, "we'll give the National Museum its own place in a building that we, the Ecuadoreans, have paid for."

Regarding this new announcement, the CONAIE leader Luisa Lozano recalled that "Moreno has never had, nor will he have, the political will to keep his word."

Zarzosa explained that the Moreno's decision affects Indigenous youth, as the percentage of rural students who enter mainstream universities "is very low." This happens because of factors such as educational inequalities and the difficulty of moving to urban centers.

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