Ecuador: Indigenous leader Leonidas Iza in court for "paralysis of public service"

Indigenous leader Leonidas Iza, in Quito, June 28, 2022. AP - Dolores Ochoa

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This Monday, July 4, in Lacatunga, Ecuador, the trial of Leonidas Iza, the indigenous leader who led the general strike for 18 days, should start.

Having become a real national political figure, he appeared free before the courts for having cut off traffic in the context of the demonstrations.

Some denounce a political trial. 

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With our correspondent in Latin America,

Alice Campaignolle

One to three years in prison is what the Ecuadorian Penal Code provides for in the event of "

paralysis of the public service

", for which Leonidas Iza is being prosecuted.

As part of

the General Strike

, the president of Conaie, Ecuador's most powerful rural and indigenous organization, organized and led road blockades throughout the country.

He was detained at the very beginning of the movement, then released under judicial supervision, an arrest which crystallized tensions.

President called to testify

As for the government, it denounced a shutdown of the economy which caused the country to lose a lot of money - the oil industry having remained almost at a standstill for 18 days.

President Guillermo Lasso himself is called to testify in this trial, because he had publicly expressed the fact that he would not allow malcontents to paralyze the country.

►Also read: Ecuador: President Lasso suspends dialogue with the natives and escapes dismissal

From there to thinking that this trial is political, there is only one step that some do not hesitate to take: in 2021, already, Guillermo Lasso had affirmed that Iza had to finish " 

behind bars

 ".

So there will be a lot going on Monday in the courtroom.

Because if Leonidas Iza is sentenced, in particular to prison, this could push the indigenous peoples and nationalities he represents to become radicalized.

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  • Ecuador

  • Guillermo Lasso

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