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Pachakutik: Indigenous Movements and Electoral Politics in Ecuador, Critical Currents in Latin American Perspective Series (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2011; updated paperback edition, 2012).

Indians and Leftists in the Making of Ecuador’s Modern Indigenous Movements

Becker, Marc. Pachakutik: indigenous movements and electoral politics in Ecuador.  Rowman & Littlefield, 2011.  247p bibl index afp; ISBN 9781442207530, $75.00; ISBN 9781442207554 e-book, $75.00. Reviewed in 2011jul CHOICE.

Pachakutik, a Quechua Indian term that signifies rebirth and transformation, depicts the struggle of Ecuador's indigenous movement for equal rights and justice. Becker (Truman State Univ.) writes as an activist who helped the indigenous movement establish an Internet base and participated in many of the activities he describes. He discusses the political awakening of indigenous forces in 1990 and their ensuing massive demonstrations in reaction to deepening poverty aggravated by the government's neoliberal economic policies that privatized public resources and functions. Actions such as the blocking of highways put pressure on Ecuadoran governments to change policies, helped bring about the overthrow of two presidents, and compelled presidents to address issues presented by the indigenous movement. However, tangible benefits to indigenous communities were quite limited. The pachakutik movement also became engaged in electoral politics, with some success in local, regional, and national elections and the gaining of a few government cabinet positions. However, disunity among indigenous forces and the influence of powerful national and international economic interests limited indigenous gains, leading to disillusionment and the recent decline in the political influence of the indigenous community. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, and research collections. -- S. L. Rozman, Tougaloo College

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