MARLON SANTI – President of the Sarayaku Association, Candidate for the Presidency of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador
On December 21, 2004, Marlon Santi, President of the Sarayaku Association and a candidate for the presidency of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (CONAIE), received a threatening phone call while participating in the second Congress of Indigenous Nationalities and People of Ecuador. The caller said simply, “We are going to kill you,” (te vamos a matar). The following day, on December 22, 2004, Santi received another phone call that said, “desist from you candidacy because you are not going to last even 24 hours in the post, you will stop breathing” (desiste de tu candidatura porque no vas a lograr ni 24 horas en el cargo, se te va a acabar la respiración). The CONIE elections were held December 23, 2004. The election was won by Luis Macas.
In December of 2003 death threats and violence towards the Sarayaku community prompted the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to request that the Ecuadorian government protect the Sarayaku indigenous community and their leaders. In response to this request, Ecuador’s Minister of Energy and Mines reportedly stated, “The OAS does not give orders here” (la OEA no manda aqul). The most recent threats against Mr. Santi have also been reported to the IACHR.
LRWC is concerned with the lack of concern or action taken on this matter by the Ecuadorian government. LRWC has written the official with the Ecuadorian Government requesting they launch a full investigation into this matter and do more to protect human rights advocates working in their country.
Letter Written January 11, 2005 by Monique Pongracic-Speier