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LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF NEWSWEEK

01/16/2014

Dear Editor,

Your article on conflicts between indigenous groups in Ecuador (“After All the People We Killed, We Felt Dizzy“) contains a number of grossly misleading and inaccurate statements, and it is clear that the author–who you fail to mention is an anti-government activist within Ecuador, hardly an independent judge- has a predetermined agenda that tarnishes the credibility of the piece.

One only has to look at the manipulative photo of a bloodied woman and baby that leads the article to see this attempt to shock and outrage readers at the expense of the truth. In reality, that image was completely staged, taken at a free assembly of citizens in Quito (the Presidential office is visible just behind her).

Contrary to your article, a government investigation into reports of tribal violence was commenced immediately. The alleged incident took place in an isolated section of the Amazon on March 29, 2013,and on April 3, the Ministry of Justice launched an investigation. Approximately one week later, the Ministry instructed the Public Prosecutor’s office, which is independent of the Executive office, to investigate. While the President too was frustrated at the pace of the investigation, given the remote location of the incident, no tangible evidence has been found aside from the two girls and an unattributed photograph, which has slowed the process.

Yet once the Public Prosecutor’s office did take decisive action, your article again goes to great lengths to further its author’s agenda– repeatedly referring to the rescue of two children from their kidnappers who allegedly murdered their family as “kidnapping” by the government. How anyone can call this kidnapping is unfathomable.

The truth is that the President has publicly called for swift and strong action against any responsible parties involved in the case. Like any country, however, the rule of law must be respected. In the meantime, as we await a final outcome, the citizens of Ecuador, our indigenous people, and the robust local media are actively engaged in free and open debate as in any healthy society. It is a shame your publication seems determined to distort the facts to hide these truths.

Sincerely,
Nathalie Cely
Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States