Where is the news of the crisis in Ecuador?

Image Elyeser Szturm

By Francisco Hidalgo Flor*

What is new is the recovery of social and political protagonism by the indigenous movement. This, after about a decade of a modernizing and statist regime, and a couple of years of neoliberal regression, rose again and put a weak political regime against the wall, maintained with the support of large companies and the U.S.

Most of the indigenous movement confronted Correa [President of Ecuador between January 2007 and May 2017], precisely with regard to his modernizing and extractive desires, even going so far as to initially support the government of Lenín Moreno. This, however, quickly lost this support, as it increased its alignment with the International Monetary Fund [IMF] and with the country's economic elites, deepening the extractive model.

It is, above all, a reaction and rejection of an economic program that intensifies the weight of the economic crisis on the poorest, and that has abandoned any agrarian policy and instead surrenders to the market. The most important of the adopted measures, the increase in the price of gasoline and diesel, strongly affects the lower classes.

The logic of these measures is inserted in the context of applying an economic program in agreement with the International Monetary Fund, whose main edges are: the reduction of the state, the privatization of public companies, the labor counter-reform and the increase of the national budget through rising fuel prices. Diesel, for example, has had its price raised from $1,35 per gallon [about 3,78 liters] to $2,40 per gallon.

Rejection of this package of measures was initiated by transport associations, but quickly spread to various popular sectors. After 48 hours of mobilization, the drivers lifted the stoppage. Then, the indigenous movement organized the national uprising, which expanded with enormous speed and depth.

This ability to issue a prompt response is due to the fact that they feel hit by the inflationary impact of the measure, but also to the persistence of a very broad community organization, which, in a few days, was able to mobilize thousands of indigenous people and peasants with force and force. in the Andean and Amazon regions and march towards the capital, to the point of forcing President Moreno to provisionally move the seat of government from Quito to the city of Guayaquil, in search of support from the importing and exporting oligarchies.

The evolution of events in the coming days will be decisive, as the ruling classes are determined to make (now yes!) the population accept the neoliberal program. They had not foreseen, however, a response capacity like the one presented by the indigenous movement and by popular sectors. These now seek to present an alternative program to the extractive neoliberal, meeting immediate agrarian demands, such as the redistribution of land and water.

*Francisco Hidalgo Flor is dean of Faculty of Social and Human Sciences da Central University of Ecuador.

Translation: Fernando Lima das Neves

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