Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement – New Country
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The Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement – New Country (Movimiento de Unidad Plurinacional Pachakutik – Nuevo País) is a left wing indigenist party in Ecuador. It was founded in January 1996 primarily as a way to advance the interests of a wide variety of indigenous peoples' organizations throughout Ecuador. In the context of Ecuador's indigenous movement, Pachakutik emerged after successful civil society mobilizations by large indigenous organizations such as CONAIE and CONFENAIE. Despite being backed by CONAIE and the workers' Social Movement Cooperation, the party is not affiliated with the organizations, as its official purpose was to serve as an alternative to the traditional cluster of political parties that had ruled Ecuadorian politics. The party has been a topic of controversy among indigenous peoples throughout Ecuador because of its nature as a political party, and many indigenous people are unwilling to recognize it as representing their interests because they feel that the party has compromised too many indigenous demands in order to participate in the political process.
Pachakutik participated in the presidential elections of 1996 despite having only been formed a few months beforehand. In order to give a strong media boost to the party in their first presidential election, they recruited a former TV personality named Freddy Ehlers to represent the party on the highest national stage. Although Ehlers failed to win the election, he placed third with nearly twenty percent of the popular vote despite having less than five months to prepare his campaign. In addition, eight members of Pachakutik won seats as national deputies, including CONAIE president Luis Macas, and although they constituted less than ten percent of the seats in the National Congress of Ecuador, the presence of the party was undeniable. For the first time indigenous citizens of Ecuador were present in Congress, representing the interests of all groups throughout the country.
Pachakutik, along with a strong civil society effort by CONAIE and others, was instrumental in pushing for the new Ecuadorian Constitution in 1998 which, among other things, recognized the country as multi-cultural, paving the way for such reforms as bilingual education. Since the 1998 elections in which Pachakutik’s amount of representation declined, the party has never quite reached its prior levels of support and has been unable to topple the majority of the Congress that does not share their views. It has been criticized by CONAIE for its ineffectiveness, leading to a coup d'état in 2000 organized by CONAIE in association with sympathetic members of the military. Although after only hours of taking the capital and instituting a three-man junta including CONAIE president Antonio Vargas the government dissipated, echoing CONAIE’s frustration. Pachakutik has since distanced itself somewhat from CONAIE while still remaining intensely involved with gaining indigenous rights.
At the 2002 legislative elections, the party won at least 11 out of 100 seats. Its candidate Lucio Gutiérrez, member of the Patriotic Society Party 21 January won 20.3% of the vote in the presidential elections of the same day and won the second round with 58.7%.
After three months of government Gutierrez broke up its alliance with Pachakutik and he discharged its ministers. The party soon grew to despise him and publicly criticize him. In 2003 they even began to call for the removal of President Gutiérrez publicly in the media. The political party is struggling with problems of identity at this point in time and is in risk of losing all that it had originally gained in 1996.
However, with Gutierrez out, the return of Luis Macas to the presidency of CONAIE and the opposition to the signature of an agreement of free trade with United States, they have been able to reunify to the movement.
At the 2009 elections, the party had its worst results since its founding, but still maintains representation, with 4 seats out of 124 in National Assembly.
During the 2010 Ecuador coup d'état attempt, Pachakutik stated that President Rafael Correa was authoritarian and issued a press release opposing him and supporting police and army rebels. American-Venezuelan lawyer Eva Golinger accused Pachakutik of having accepted funding from USAID and NED, and playing a role as part of a United States plan to destabilise Latin American democracies in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA). Pachakutik denied "having any relationship at all with the organism known as USAID, previously NED, not today nor ever". Golinger responded by referring to a National Democratic Institute (NDI, one of the four institutes funded by NED) report from 2007 describing Pachakutik being trained by the NDI in "Triangle of Party Best Practices and strategic planning methodologies" as part of NDI's Latin American/Caribbean Political Party Network of over 1400 individual members, funded under NED Core Grants 2000-031, 2001-048, 2003-028, and 2004-036.
- Golinger, Eva (1 October 2010). "Behind the Coup in Ecuador - The Attack on ALBA". Archived from the original on 2 October 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
- Santi, Marlon (6 October 2010). "The Alleged Coup d'Etat, Democracy, and the Indigenous Organizations". Narco News. Archived from the original on 7 October 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
- Golinger, Eva (7 October 2010). "Evidence of NED funding/aid to groups in Ecuador involved in coup against Correa". Eva Golinger. Archived from the original on 8 October 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
- "Latin America and the Caribbean: Political Party Network - Final Evaluation Report" (PDF). National Democratic Institute. 2007. Archived (PDF) from the original on 8 October 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010.