(D. Rothschild, correspondent
G. Delgado-P. The South & Mesoamerican Indian Information Center, Oakland: saiic@igc.apc.org)

Paramilitary Attacks in Imbabura

On two different occasions a group of paramilitary men attacked some Indigenas on the ex-hacienda of Yuracruz. The paramilitary groups were hired by the ex-owners who want the Indigenas off the land that now legally belongs to the Indigenas.

The group of Indigenas of Yuracruz legally received the titles for the land on October 2, 1992 through IERAC (the Ecuatorian Institute for Agrarian Reform and Colonization). The Association of Agricultural Workers of Yuracruz (the legal name used by the 61 indigenas members and their families) paid 63 million sucres (about $33000) for the land with the agreement to pay another 315 million sucres (about $165000) later. This price was established as the total value of the land by IERAC.

On October 8, the date established for them to be the legal owners, the Indigenas of the Assocation proceeded to move onto their land but were obstructed by the ex-owners who were armed. During this incident the Indigenas were attacked with fire-arms, clubs, and rocks by people from the Company (ex-owners) and their hired bullys. In a confused spontanious reaction to the attack the Indigenas of the Association fought back in self-defense using their "ponchos, hands, and courage." The final consequence was 17 of the Indigenas were injured (by fire-arms), and a Mr. Manuel Martinez was killed (on the side of the Company). It is not yet sure how Mr. Martinez was killed, possibly by gun-fire from his own side in the confusion of the cloud of smoke from the gun powder.

On the 12th of November members of the Company along with land traffickers and hired bullys attacked the Indigenas of Yuracruz again. They came in 2 cars filled with paramilitary men and fired machine guns scaring the Indigenas of the Association onto a small part of their land. The paramilitary men then went through Yuracruz and burned 36 homes and killed livestock as they went.

The government has not intervened at all even though IERAC granted the land to the Association. The police have done nothing and almost no newspapers will print anything to do with the problems at Yuracruz (END of art).

(Posted to Native-l on 14 Dec 1992 guiller@cats.ucsc.edu (Guillermo Delgado))