Indigenous groups stage a nationwide strike to protest President Rafael Correa while supporters rally for him in Cuba. Sean Carberry reports.
STORY: About 50 miles from Quito, indigenous opposition groups block the Pan-American Highway. Labor unions and social organizations organized a nationwide strike to protest tax hikes and constitutional changes that would allow leftist President Rafael Correa to seek a fourth term. Correa, an economist by training, has been popular among the poor for providing stability and for welfare policies, paid for by oil revenues. But, a slide in oil prices has limited spending on social programs, and critics say he wields power like past Latin American strongmen. Julio Cesar Piralungo is president of the Cotopaxi Indigenous Movement. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRESIDENT OF COTOPAXI INDIGENOUS MOVEMENT, JULIO CESAR PIRALUNGO, SAYING: "We will continue this fight indefinitely. We will defend ourselves. This has been resistance and today we have come together under the flag of struggle, the flag of resistance." But, for all the bluster of the protesters, the strike might have been a tempest in a teapot. It didn't appear to affect major sectors of business or government. And, in Cuba, sympathizers of Correa rallied in his defense. They said it was important to back Correa and his 'citizen revolution' that benefitted historically disenfranchised communities. Supporters claimed the anti-Correa protesters are part of a destabilizing movement challenging leftist governments across Latin America.