archivos de los protestos globales
archives of global protests

Boy Killed In Ecuador - US Trade Pact Protest
4/8/2006 8:04:00 AM

QUITO (AP)--A 17-year-old boy was fatally shot in the back in Ecuador's southern city of Cuenca during a student protest against a proposed free trade deal with Washington, authorities said Friday.

The student, whose name was not released, was among dozens of demonstrators who clashed with police Thursday, 310 kilometers south of Quito. Some protesters hurled stones at authorities, who were firing tear gas.

Dr. Francisco Cordova, who treated the teen, told Channel 4 television that the bullet struck the pulmonary arteries "and unfortunately he died."

Police spokesman Capt. Juan Zapata told The Associated Press that the identity of the shooter was still under investigation.

"There are witnesses who indicate that the shots were fired by (private security) guards," he said. "The students blame the police, nevertheless, that must be clarified with a technical report and when we have that we will make an official pronouncement."

Ecuador entered what was touted as a final round of talks on March 23 with Washington to seal a free trade deal, vehemently opposed by Ecuador's left-leaning student and labor federations and its powerful indigenous movement.

Several thousand Indians blockaded roads with burning tires, rocks and tree trunks during a week of demonstrations against the free trade pact in mid-March on March 13, tying up traffic and halting commerce across Ecuador's highlands and much of the eastern jungle.

Opponents of a pact contend that Ecuadorean farmers and small-scale Indian producers would not be able to compete with cheap imports from the U.S., where agriculture is heavily subsidized. Supporters say a trade deal would help the nation's exporters and boost the economy.

The talks were suspended without an agreement, reportedly because of disagreement over trade terms for sensitive products like meat, sugar and rice. Negotiations are scheduled to resume in May.

Peru and Colombia have already signed deals with the United States that have yet to be ratified by the nations' respective legislatures.

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