Embodied Resistance : Indigenous Women Contest State Gender Violence in Ecuador leading up to the Paro Nacional of October 2019
Ver Beek, Ashley N.
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On October 1, 2019, the president of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, signed an executive order removing government fuel subsidies as a part of an infamous IMF austerity package, thus almost doubling the prices of gasoline. People immediately took to the streets. It started with transportation workers, then students. Indigenous movements began to mobilize to protest not only the executive order, but all that the neoliberal state represented. I was interested in understanding more about how Indigenous nations in Ecuador were affected by the legacies of colonialism and capitalism that manifest today. More specifically, I wanted to explore its gendered effects. These October 2019 protests were about more than a fuel subsidy. State gender violence against women plays on the intersections of colonialism, capitalism, racism, sexism, and disconnection from the land. It is not unique to Ecuador, nor is it to Latin America, but can be found wherever the logic of coloniality is present (Mignolo, 2005). Nations such as the United States and Canada, “masked by the rhetoric of modernity”(Mignolo, 2005, p. 11) also perpetuate, facilitate, and perpetrate violence (Sanford, Stefatos, and Salvi, 2016, p. 5) against Indigenous women, though through narratives of exceptionalism they often opt themselves out of the conversation. That being said, state gender violence has always been matched by modes of resistance. Indigenous women, facing a multiplicity of oppressions (Collins, 1990) are historically at the forefront of resistance, constantly reshaping embodied activism and dissent against violent states and state institutions.