Update 14. 10.2019: (A.C.) It's been 11 days since the leaderless uprising sparked in hashtag#Ecuador® against the corrupt US-backed government and its slavery loan from the hashtag#IMF. hashtag#LeninMoreno (Ecuador®'s corrupt leader) has declared a national state of emergency following mass protests across the country against his corrupt economic practices. Police responded to the protestors with violence using chemical weapons (tear gas), deploying armored vehicles, and employing arbitrary kidnapping (arresting in doublespeak) of HUNDREDS of citizens. Ecuadorians say that the harsh regulations against them are a direct result of Ecuador®'s $4.2 billion loan deal with the criminal organization that calls itself the hashtag#InternationalMonetaryFund (IMF). ⁠Lenin Moreno is the same scumbag politician who allowed British police to arrest hashtag#JulianAssange INSIDE the Ecuadorian embassy in London after making his imprisonment at the embassy intolerable. We are witnessing these beautiful leaderless uprisings around the world against the tyranny of central governments. A leaderless uprising deserves a likewise leaderless government. It's the only way for these beautiful protests to be successful because central governments are corrupt by definition. ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR: The disputed bill to no longer subsidize the purchase of fuel (as demanded and imposed as austerity measure by the IMF) was scrapped, but the grip of the IMF is still holding. The IMF must see the money lent to corrupt Lenin Moreno as his personal debt and not target the people of Ecuador.

Recent weeks show the spirit of resistance against neoliberalism is burning brightly, writes LEE BROWN

Lenin Moreno's draconian state of emergency has not quelled mass protests over his neoliberal 'package'

By Lee Brown - MS - 08.

ANYONE observing events in Ecuador in recent days could be forgiven for thinking they had been transported back to the Latin America of the 1990s.

Then, huge protests against IMF-imposed austerity were regularly met with violent state repression. Such events returned to Ecuador’s streets with a bang last week.

The mass demonstrations under way in Ecuador follow new attacks on living standards designed to meet the terms of a multibillion-dollar IMF loan. The immediate spark to the huge street protests was the removal of subsidies on fuel that affects not only transport costs but drives up food prices.

Cuts in public spending were also announced, with mass public-sector lay-offs planned and an assault on public-sector workers’ conditions that includes halving holiday entitlement to just 15 days per year.

Faced with a backlash to these elite-friendly measures, Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno decreed a state of emergency that suspends the constitution for 60 days, removes the right to free assembly, allows for the censoring of the media and employs the armed forces to maintain order.

Over 350 people have since been detained. Shocking scenes of police brutality include tear gas and flares fired at head height into crowds and widespread beatings. Armoured military vehicles entered the capital city on Sunday night.

Amnesty International warned that “the decision to deploy the armed forces to control demonstrations only increases the risk of human rights violations” and called on “all allegations of excessive use of force, arbitrary detentions and other human rights violations that have occurred in the context of the current protests and the state of emergency” to be properly investigated.

So much of this echoes the turmoil that rocked Ecuador around the turn of the century.

Then, neoliberal assaults on living standards created such political volatility that seven presidents came and went in just 10 years. A number were forced from office by powerful street protests.

Stability only returned to Ecuador when socialist Rafael Correa became president in 2007. His progressive alternative not only ended the economic crisis and achieved incredible reductions in poverty and inequality but secured 14 consecutive election victories.

That success was achieved by ripping up the IMF rule book. A regular theme in Correa’s speeches was that “people must prevail over capital and society must prevail over the market.”

But in the two years since President Moreno was elected — actually on a manifesto to defend and continue Correa’s policies — he has sought to purge all remnants of that progressive state-led development model.

The repressive measures over recent days are part of a pattern as Moreno has sought to close off all avenues of resistance.

Moreno has systematically targeted those challenging his lurch to neoliberalism.

Former president Correa himself is effectively in exile in Belgium, with a raft of wholly unsubstantiated allegations preventing his return to Ecuador.

Former foreign minister Ricardo Patino, a close Correa ally during his decade in government, recently received political asylum in Mexico after facing jail threats, while Moreno’s own vice-presidential running mate is in prison, in a case that raised widespread concerns about a lack of due process.

Moreno even oversaw the axing of all the members of the Constitutional Court, undermining the important separation of powers that accompanies any presidential system.

President Correa’s more Latin America-focused foreign policy did not escape Moreno’s sharp change of direction either. Moreno reversed Correa’s brave decision to end the US’s military role in the country, which had included removing the largest US military base in South America.

Moreno, in contrast, is preparing for US military planes to be able to use the environmentally fragile Galapagos Islands.

Moreno also handed over Julian Assange to be extradited to the United States over his role in WikiLeaks’ exposure of war crimes, soon after signing the IMF loan.

This reorientation may be popular with Ecuador's long-powerful right-wing political parties and economic elites but it has destroyed Moreno’s own base of support. Polls show he has 75-80 per cent levels of disapproval.

Whether or not Moreno survives until the end of his presidency in 2021, he and those around him are finished politically.

His only hope now is that Ecuador’s right-wing parties keep him in office while he does their bidding.

In fact, Moreno himself told a press conference over the weekend that although he’s doing the heavy lifting to create a more market-friendly economy, it will be one of the two main right-wing parties — both linked to the economic and social disasters of the past — that will be the beneficiaries when they end up leading the country in the future.

The Ecuadorian people will have a say in whether that is the case — and the huge protests in recent days again exposes the myth that Latin America’s “pink tide” is over.

Latin America’s future remains deeply contested. The right has been forced onto the back foot in many countries across the region and has been able to offer nothing more than a return to the old free-market dogma accompanied by a worrying use of anti-democratic practices.

In Brazil, the right only holds the presidency because of the jailing of former president Lula, the favourite to win the 2018 presidential election, on trumped-up charges.

In Argentina, more than one in three people are now in poverty following the neoliberal government’s signing of the largest-ever IMF loan.

That means leftwinger Alberto Fernandez is set to win the presidency later this month in another significant gain for progressives after the election of Lopez Obrador in Mexico last year.

In Bolivia Evo Morales is expected to be re-elected president in the coming weeks.

This week, tens of thousands of indigenous people will be marching on Ecuador’s two major cities, with students and trade unions also vowing to continue their national protests.

The IMF may be back in Ecuador. But so too is the spirit of resistance and with it hope of a return to a government of the progressive left in the near future.

(*) Lee Brown lived and worked in Ecuador for a number of years.

 

COMMENT

Ali Cheaib

By Ali Cheaib Independent Journalist

The grand uprising continues in Ecuador against the corrupt government-leadership.

We are witnessing these beautiful leaderless uprisings around the world against the tyranny of government-leadership to demand leaderless governments.

A leaderless uprising deserves a leaderless government. It's the only way for these protests to be successful because central governments are corrupt by definition.

Lenin Moreno (Ecuador's corrupt leader) has declared a national state of emergency following mass protests across the country against his corrupt economic practices.

Police responded to the protestors with violence using chemical weapons (tear gas), deploying armored vehicles, and arbitrary kidnapping (arresting in doublespeak) dozens of citizens.

Ecuadorians say that the harsh regulations against them are a direct result of Ecuador's $4.2 billion loan deal with the criminal organization that calls itself the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Lenin Moreno is the same scumbag politician who allowed British police to arrest Julian Assange INSIDE the Ecuadorian embassy in London after making his imprisonment at the embassy unbearable.

 

Ecuador: The Time of People’s Rebellion

By Carlos Aznarez (*) - 04. October 2019

It is not quite the same as the uprising that occurred during Venezuela’s Caracazo in 1989 but it is very similar. In that opportunity, then President Carlos Andres Perez, beholden to the demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), also decided to increase public transportation fares and a people’s rebellion provided the ground work for what would become Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Venezuela.

The events unfolding in Ecuador are the result of the implementation of the IMF’s coercive manual, undertaken by a person who pretended to be somebody and suddenly became somebody else. Long ago, Lenin Moreno stopped representing the decent name he bears. It was to be expected. As his popularity is in the final phase of collapse, he not only boasts of betraying the Bolivarian Revolution but, submissive and cowardly, he willingly knelt before the international banking system.

Given indebtedness and lack of liquidity in an economy that not even ex-president Rafael Correa could detach from the dollar, Moreno agreed upon a millionaire program of loans with the IMF. Such packages included eliminating oil subsidies which took $1.3 billion a year off the back of the workers. The immediate response of the market caused an overnight doubling in fuel prices and subsequently in the prices of land transportation. Naturally, those who reacted first to it were taxi and bus drivers, as well as from other commercial vehicles, who realized that their very impoverished budgets were about to be taken over an edge. The recollection of an Ecuador during the times of Abdala Bucaram and Lucio Gutierrez now adds another name to make a neoliberal trio. Aware of a dark horizon, events developed quickly as it usually does when capitalism worsens the conditions of sectors of society that were already suffering from crises. First a general transportation strike materialized that turned into road blocks, barricades popped up, and large inter-class mobilizations, in which workers, students, peasants, and natives decided to fill  the streets to try to shake a very bad government out of their lives.

The famous phrase by Bertold Brecht was confirmed in what followed since then; “Nothing worse than a frightened bourgeois.” Cornered, Moreno miscalculated his level of strength and he is now trying to escape forwards, unleashing a brutal repression against his people after implementing a state of emergency that allows him to have soldiers in the streets. But Ecuadoreans have mostly indigenous blood in their veins and this is going to be entrenchment so that they are not run over by authoritarianism. This is why the general strike against the neoliberal package is growing and growing despite that more than 300 citizens have been imprisoned.

“It’s a difficult fight but there is no other alternative other than to continue pushing to try to topple Moreno,” said a working-class leader. Despite the first claims demanding the Government rescind the economic measures, there are many now demanding the immediate resignation of the President. In matters of institutional politics, brave deputy Gabriel Rivadeneira stated: “It is urgent to carry out anticipated elections and an extraordinary session in the National Assembly to demand the destitution of the President.” Above all, because he has undertaken a repressive operation (through his state of emergency) Moreno is now showing the characteristics of any of the dictatorships that have devastated the continent.

What is left for Moreno in these circumstances? His pathetic figure is very similar to loathsome Luis Almagro, president of the Organization of American States, or Haitian President Jovenel Moise. The three of them are devices of the machinery deployed by Donald Trump in the continent. The three of them freshen up in Washington and they are all willing to kneel down as much as is needed. Almagro, beyond his performances and his attempt to meddle in Venezuela, has already failed. He is not wanted any longer, not even in his political coalition. Moise is right not trying to put out (like a firefighter with a leaky fire hose) the thousand of fires lit by people’s protests in the streets. Moreno, who in his effort to act correctly has demolished every institution and positive measures implemented by the Rafael Correa Administration, says he is not willing to move backwards and he is moving to rule with soldiers by his side. This is something similar to what the Lucio Gutierrez Administration employed in April 2005 that ended up in abject failure.

In this Latin America in which people’s insurrections go from country to country as has been seen recently in the streets of Puerto Rico, Haiti and Peru, or in the primary elections in Argentina, it is possible to think that what happens at this time in Ecuador will mean in the very near future the collapse of a nefarious strategy of seizing a government with deceit and then becoming the carpet of local oligarchy and U.S. imperialism.

Author:

Carlos Aznarez - Periodista. Director de @ResumenLatino periódico, radio y TV.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano, translation North America bureau

Photo: Ivan Castaneira