Posted by on January 16, 2000 at 17:35:25:
I just received the following forward.
Obviously more news will emerge as the day continues.
Keep your eyes open! Note the websites given!
Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2000 4:41 PM Subject: Insurrection Against Neo-Liberalism in Ecuador
PGA Action at WTO Seattle - http://members.aol.com/pgacaravan
-- please spread widely --
I just received this fwd message coming from Ecuador saying that there are currently mass protests going on against the dramatic situation in a country that has suffered neoliberal exploitation and that "the revolution is starting".
I was sceptic, so I picked up the phone and phoned an organisation called "Accion Ecologica" whose phone number I had just received recently. I had the chance to speak to someone who is the representative of this organisation at the alternative parliament who is currently debating a strategy for the coming days. He said that the mobilisations have started progressively in the last days already and that several cities are already "taken". He said the large mobilisation for Quito (the capital) is going to be for Monday and Tuesday. He said at least 40.000 indigenas are expected to come into the city, but the mobilisation involve many sectors of society. He said also that international observers are expected to come in the next days and that they hope that from then on the news will be spread internationaly. So far the state controlled media has been promoting non stop lies about how wonderful the neoliberal policies have been in the last years. Nobody believes it anymore. As I asked him if this was a struggle for power, for taking control of the governement, he said no, it's a Poeples Power, there is a Poeples assembly who works in a complicated system of representation [I didn't understand everything in this short phone call].
Infrastructure for communication is being set up, there is a press commission that has been created (comision de prensa) by the Peoples Assembly. I asked him also if they were afraid of repression and he said he hoped the international support would be able to avoid it. We are likely to get more information in the next days and clarification on what kind of "revolution" this is. So stay tuned ! Most of the information is likely to be in Spanish, so if there are people willing to help doing spanish-english translations (or spanish to any other language) please contact me:
firstname.lastname@example.org and also
Hasta la victoria !! Our resistance is as transnational as capital !!
The following is - a fwd letter sent by Spanish students currently in Ecuador. This is a rough translation I did, feel free to correct the English. - an pasted article from August 99 which gives a good insight into the situation in Ecuador
To everyone getting this information:
This is a text that was fwd by companher@s from Barcelona which are currently in Ecuador for motives related to their studies and are currently assisting to probably one of the most encouraging news of the millennium. Please distribute this message as wide as you can and organise yourself to find ways of supporting peoples struggle in Ecuador.
REVOLUTION BEGINS IN ECUADOR !
Ecuador is very close to a national revolution y it is currently necessary to do solidarity actions in support of this peoples movement who aims to put an end to neoliberal economic exploitation which has lead to the current crisis. We are some students from UAB (university) in the country y we see the urgent necessity to create a platform of international support in order to prevent a indiscriminate repression of this popular movement.
We ask you: 1.- to spread this information through as many ways as possible 2.- that you send us contacts for the spreading of further communiques to: e7888@risc_usfq.edu.ec 3.- That people take initiative to coordinate platforms at continental and national level 4.- it is necessary to create a network that will reach mass media and alternative media. It is possible that United States may react with repression in case this popular movement succeeds in his attempt to overthrow the power 5.- We are currently waiting for a document with the strategy that is discussed at the Parlament of Ecuatorian People (a rebel parlament), which will be a document of international strategy addressed to all movements of the world, NGOs etc. We ask you to create the necessary conditions for such a network to function.
General Situation in the Country
The economic, social and political crisis that Ecuador has been going through in the last years has been worsening dramatically in the last months.
As a matter of fact since Jamil Mahuad came into power, the sucre (national currency) has only been losing acquisition power compared to the dollar: the price of the dollar has doubled since 1999 (is it 25000 sucres for a dollar now) For the minority of people, those who have acquisition power and a bank account, this means that their bank accounts have been frozen. They cannot withdraw money from their accounts for the banks not to collapse.
And for the majority of people who live in misery, this means that basic good of consumption have become very expensive. Besides that the social conditions have never been so restricted, there is basicaly no kind of social service. As a response to this situation the government of president Mahuad opted for a dollarisation of the economy.
Peoples reaction is lead by the movement of the indigenous people and several unions [and students - editor] that want a total change in the structure of the State. They want to get rid of the three powers of the State and put a Peoples Governement in place (Gobierno Popular).
There has been a call to popular insurrecion and a national strike which will start on the 15th January with a take over of Quito (the capital). Meetings in the Parliament of Ecuadorian Peoples have been going on for three days.
This alternative parliament includes representatives of many (not all) social movements of the country (indigenous movement, church, unions, etc.) and is currently defining a new policy for the country in all fields.
They pretend to reinitiate national production, cancelling the external debt and stop the neoliberal exploitation of the resources, etc.. end of message The following website willbe available for more information http://conjuntos.es.fortunecity.com/social/6
Four Hundred Arrested, Thirteen Shot: IMF and Ecuadorian government provoke violent reaction
Four months after a crisis provoked by an IMF inspired structural adjustment plan, the country is again in the grips of the multi-lateral organisation. This time the social convulsions, which were provoked by a another rise in fuel prices, have been confronted in repressive fashion. Five more people were shot yesterday as they tried to march from Guallabamba, a small town 40 kilometres north of Quito, to the capital to protest the impacts of the economic measures introduced during the past six months. In Latacunga, a town of about 500,000 one hour to the south of the capital, indigenous groups which had been closing roads, charged a military vehicle full of troops on Saturday night. The vehicle turned tail and fled. On Sunday the native people were not so lucky, eight were shot as they confronted the military attempting to keep the road open. One later died. The protests and the indigenous uprising have been brought about by the severity of the economic measures taken to supposedly pull Ecuador out of its economic plight. The now discredited IMF recipe of provoking inflation and removing subsidies in order to balance the budget has been applied without relief since the effects of the global economic crisis hit Latin America late last year. The dollar has risen by almost 100% against the local currency, the Sucre, since beginning of the year, food costs have risen by about 70%, gas, electricity, gasoline, diesel, and water costs have all risen substantially, and all this before the latest round of transport fuel cost rises, provoked by indexation to the dollar. In the meantime the basic salary (a form of minimum wage) has been raised by an insulting 30%.
The taxi drivers hit back first, blocking roads and demanding that fuel prices be reduced to their pre- June levels and frozen for two years. They blocked roads and brought the cities to a standstill. Indigenous groups throughout the central mountain region have joined them in an uprising which has blocked roads, occupied state electricity offices and taken control of communications towers. Indigenous areas are amongst the poorest in the country and the native population, which has been badly affected by the privatisation and globalisation agenda, is calling their actions a fight for life, and against hunger.
Meanwhile, teachers and medical workers who have not been paid in months have also joined the strike, along with banana workers, bus and transport workers and even informal sellers. Whole neighbourhoods have taken over roads in an attempt to convince the government to change course. And in the latest of a series of actions, the offices of the Catholic Church, criticised as pro-government, have been occupied by a number of social groups intent on emphasising their demands that the neoliberal policies being applied to the country be changed. Ironically, the police, charged with repressing the demonstrations, also find themselves unpaid and without funds to ward off their own creditors.
Part of the government's answer has been to declare a general state of emergency, endowing the President with extraordinary powers to control the state budget, and to order military intervention wherever and whenever he pleases. Congress, in which the government does not have the majority, is outspokenly opposed and will probably fight the measure, although it should be pointed out that the majority of members are also neo-liberals (or at best the more apologetic Blair style third wayers) and simply jockeying for power. The other part of the strategy has been to create diversionary tactics. Jailing a corrupt banker and paying the people whose savings were locked up in the now officially bankrupt bank (one of Ecuador's largest). On the other hand an overwhelming silence has surrounded the accusation that the majority of high government officials took their money out of the country (apparently some $200 million) a little while before all bank accounts were frozen in March of this year. Whether these officials, and other corrupt bankers, will ever be investigated and brought to trial is a major question. But perhaps more important in the long run, both for Ecuador and other countries in the region, is whether it will be possible to find a way out of the neoliberal export lead growth trap in which Ecuador finds itself, given that this model favours the governing elite which controls almost all political parties. The fact that it needs to is not in question. The country has only gone backwards in economic terms since the debt crisis of the early eighties, and finds itself porting increasing amounts of primary material, only to watch prices fall or at best fluctuate wildly on markets over which it has no control. The cost in terms of concentration of land, power and wealth is huge. The cost in terms of the environmental and social impacts related to finding and pumping more oil, growing more flowers, farming more shrimp, and growing more bananas are devastating a country which is defined by its cultural and natural diversity. (spanish)
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