Ecuador Students Join Anti-FTA Protests
Quito, Feb 8 2006 (Prensa Latina) University students are taking to the streets Wednesday to demand expiration of the contract with Oxy US oil company and spurn the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Washington.
The mobilization, called by Ecuadorian Federation of University Students, follows the police crackdown against thousand Amazonian people intended to protest in front the Government headquarters.
On Tuesday evening, grassroots organizations claimed President Alfredo Palacio responsible for ordering the fierce quashing and upheld the people’s right to defend its sovereignty by requesting Oxy’ pull-out.
It is expected that popular movements join the students who will leave the Central University to the Congress and the Government headquarters.
This rally came hours after the US firm, operating in Amazonia, presented its argumentation denying accusations for having transferred 40 percent of its stocks in this country to Canadian Encana Company.
Oxy was notified November 16, 2005 and had 60 days to prepare its defense, now Petroecuador has a 10-day period to support the expiration requested last August, prove causes and reject Oxy’s argument.
The case will directly pass to the hands of Energy Minister Ivan Rodriguez to decide the fate of that entity, which produces 110,000 barrels a day and only gives the State 20 percent of its profits.
Students, along with Amazonian, indigenous and popular groups, have planned rallies for the next weeks to defend sovereignty, avoid the FTA’s signing and Oxy’s stay.