Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement – New Country

The Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement – New Country (Spanish: Movimiento de Unidad Plurinacional Pachakutik – Nuevo País) is a left wing[4][5] indigenist party in Ecuador. It was founded primarily as a way to advance the interests of a wide variety of indigenous peoples' organizations throughout Ecuador.

Pachakutik Plurinational Unity Movement – New Country
Movimiento de Unidad Plurinacional Pachakutik – Nuevo País
LeaderMarlon Santi
Deputy CoordinatorCecilia Velasque
Founded1 November 1995
Membership159,961 (2016) [1]
Political positionLeft-wing[4]
National affiliationNational Agreement for Change [es; zh] (2016–2017)
International affiliationSão Paulo Forum
Colors  Rainbow/White (official)
  Pink (customary)
Seats in the National Assembly
26 / 137
4 / 23
20 / 221


In the context of Ecuador's indigenous movement, Pachakutik emerged in 1995 after civil society mobilizations by large indigenous organizations such as CONAIE and CONFENAIE. These movements had previously espoused an abstentionist position in relation to electoral politics, but came together to form Coordinadora de Movimientos Sociales (Social Movement Cooperation, CMS) and then Pachakutik to serve as an alternative to the traditional cluster of political parties that had ruled Ecuadorian politics.[6] However, the party is not formally affiliated with CONAIE.[citation needed]

Pachakutik is a term taken from the Quechua “pacha”, time and space or the world, and “kuti”, upheaval or revolution.[7] Its aim is not just to win elections but to initiate a democratic transformation of Ecuadorian society, centring on the neglected needs of the indigenous.[6]

In 1996, its electoral strategy was to concentrate on areas where CONAIE or CMS were strong, but it was able to recruit TV personality Freddy Ehlers and CONAIE leader Luis Macas to its list, adding to its national prominence.[6]

The party has been a topic of controversy among indigenous peoples throughout Ecuador because of its nature as a political party.[citation needed]

According to American-Venezuelan lawyer Eva Golinger, 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.[8][better source needed] 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).[8][better source needed] Pachakutik denied "having any relationship at all with the organism known as USAID, previously NED, not today nor ever".[9] Golinger responded[10][better source needed] 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.[11]

Political positionEdit

The party's core commitments are to environmentalism, social justice and indigenous rights to recognition and land.[12]

One of the most determined adversaries of the Correa government is Marlon Santi (of the Amazonian Sarayaku people, president of CONAIE (2008-2011) and national coordinator of Pachakutik since 2016) described this eco-socialist position:

The development proposed by the national government is an aggressive development that fails to view Mother Earth as a space of life, or a space that generates life … We promote an alternative and progressive development that respects the rights of the environment, of human beings and of nature. The government, or the economic power, does not understand the model of life that the indigenous movement has launched regarding our spaces of life where also the majority of natural wealth is to be found, such as water, oil and minerals.[13]

According to left-wing Ecuadorian scholar Pablo Ospina Peralta, it is "a social movement that is diverse, popular, and multicultural. It has been forged in social mobilization, community resistance, and the chaotic and disorganized work of grassroots organizing."[14]

The Rights of Nature: Sumak KawsayEdit

After lobbying by the four Pachakutik members of the Ecuadorian Constituent Assembly, the 2008 Ecuadorian Constitution enshrined the Quechua concept of Sumac Kawsay (buen vivir in Spanish, meaning "good living", signifying the rights of nature).[15]

Electoral historyEdit

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.

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 2006 elections, the party won at least 6 out of 100 seats. Its candidate Luis Macas, obtained 2.19% of the vote in the presidential elections of the same day.

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.

At the 2013 elections, the party won at least 5 out of 137 seats. Its candidate Alberto Acosta, obtained 3.26% of the vote in the presidential elections of the same day.

The party made significant electoral gains in 2021, winning 27 seats in the National Assembly. The good performance was partly owed due to their prominent role in the 2019 Ecuadorian protests. 2021 represented a breakthrough beyond indigenous voters, as it "struck a chord with young and disenchanted voters who responded to its call for greater protection of the environment and focus on gender issues."[16]

Electoral resultsEdit

Presidential electionsEdit

Year Candidates First Round Second Round Results Notes
President Vice President Votes % Votes %
1996 Freddy Ehlers Rosana Vinueza 785,124 21% 3rd
2002 Lucio Gutiérrez Alfredo Palacio 943,123 21% 2,803,243 55% Elected Coalition with PSP
2006 Luis Macas César Sacoto 119,577 2% 6th
2013 Alberto Acosta Marcia Caicedo 280,539 3% 6th Parte de la UPI
2017 Paco Moncayo Monserratt Bustamante 634,030 7% 4th Parte del ANC
2021 Yaku Pérez Virna Cedeño 1,798,057 19% 3rd

Legislative electionsEdit

Election Votes Votes % Seats +/–
1996 718,983 20.4
19 / 82
2002 325,365 9.2
5 / 120
11 / 100
6 / 100
2009 948,638 1.5
4 / 124
2013 4,149,243 4.73
5 / 137
As a part of the alliance Plurinational Unity of the Lefts
2017 2,740,043 2.67
4 / 137
2021 1,348,595 16.81
27 / 137

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "3,5 millones de firmas avalan a 16 grupos políticos". 6 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Ecuador: El enfrentamiento es entre las izquierdas". 10 February 2021.
  3. ^ "Pachakutik, el movimiento indigenista que desde 2009 enfrenta a Rafael Correa".
  4. ^ a b "Two Different Visions of the Left Divide Ecuador in the 2021 Presidential Election". NACLA. 13 February 2021. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  5. ^ "How the Right Returned to Power in Ecuador". NACLA. 20 May 2021. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "The Creation of the Pachakutik Political Movement". The Latin Americanist. Wiley. 47 (3–4): 49–74. 28 June 2008. doi:10.1111/j.1557-203x.2004.tb00015.x. ISSN 1557-2021.
  7. ^ "Pachakuti: Indigenous perspectives, degrowth and ecosocialism". Transnational Institute. 22 October 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  8. ^ a b Golinger, Eva (1 October 2010). "Behind the Coup in Ecuador - The Attack on ALBA". Postcards from the Revolution blog. Archived from the original on 3 October 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  9. ^ Santi, Marlon (6 October 2010). "The Alleged Coup d'Etat, Democracy, and the Indigenous Organizations". Narco News. Archived from the original on 11 October 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  10. ^ Golinger, Eva (7 October 2010). "Evidence of NED funding/aid to groups in Ecuador involved in coup against Correa". Postcards from the Revolution blog. Eva Golinger. Archived from the original on 24 October 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ Lalander, Rickard; Merimaa, Maija (27 January 2018). "The Discursive Paradox of Environmental Conflict: Between Ecologism and Economism in Ecuador". Forum for Development Studies. Informa UK Limited. 45 (3): 493. doi:10.1080/08039410.2018.1427622. ISSN 0803-9410.
  13. ^ Lalander, Rickard; Merimaa, Maija (27 January 2018). "The Discursive Paradox of Environmental Conflict: Between Ecologism and Economism in Ecuador". Forum for Development Studies. Informa UK Limited. 45 (3): 501. doi:10.1080/08039410.2018.1427622. ISSN 0803-9410.
  14. ^ "The Divided Left in Ecuador". Dissent Magazine. 12 April 2021. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  15. ^ Hidalgo-Capitán, Antonio Luis; Cubillo-Guevara, Ana Patricia (10 October 2017). "Deconstruction and Genealogy of Latin American Good Living (Buen Vivir). The (Triune) Good Living and its Diverse Intellectual Wellsprings". International Development Policy | Revue internationale de politique de développement (9): 23–50. doi:10.4000/poldev.2351. ISSN 1663-9375. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  16. ^ "Ecuador's Yaku Pérez: 'A triumph even if we don't get to the second round'". Financial Times. 7 March 2021. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 14 July 2021.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit