Ecuador to hold referendum on cockfighting & bullfighting

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2011:
QUITO–Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa has included among a
list of 10 referendum questions to be submitted to voters as early as
May 2011 a proposal to ban blood sports, including cockfighting and
bullfighting.
Both cockfighting and bullfighting were introduced to Ecuador
by Spanish conquistadors more than 400 years ago. “The more
well-heeled in the Andean nation, as in Mexico, favor the stylized
rituals of the bullfight in colonial-age ‘plazas de toros,’ where
the animals are killed by celebrated Spanish matadors,” wrote Dolores
Ochoa of Associated Press. “In Ecuador, as in neighboring Colombia
and Peru, the rings are a place to see and be seen, fixtures in the
society pages.”


But bullfighting and cockfighting have historically been
shunned by native Andeans, as antithetical to central teachings of
Andean culture and symbols of cultural and ethnic repression.
“Some of the key fault lines on Ecuador’s political landscape
are rising dissatisfaction among both the elite, mainly of European
origin, and the indigenous population, which blames a succession of
governments for reneging on promises of political and social reform,”
assessed United Press International.
Correa, said UPI, “is planning to tighten his grip on
political power” through the referendum, “combining populist
measures,” which are expected to attract voters, “with strategies
for a more active role in both the executive and judiciary.”
Proposing the referendum in January 2011, Correa in
mid-February won approval of the draft questions from the national
constitutional court. Voters are also to decide whether they wish to
limit banking activity by financial service firms, prohibit
ownership of news media by non-media companies, and prohibit casinos
and gambling.
Opponents allege that Correa “is using the referendum to
concentrate power, control private media, and paves the way for
political persecution,” reported NewsAmerica.

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