ISL statement on the rebellion in Ecuador

1. In the first half of October 2019, an uprising of the indigenous people of Ecuador, who became the leaders of the working and oppressed people of the Latin American country, dealt a serious blow to the neoliberal austerity, agreed with the IMF, of the Lenin Moreno government.

2. The Ecuadorian indigenous people carried out a true insurrection of the poor people of Ecuador against a 123% increase in the price of fuels that, together with the salary cut of public employees and the lay-offs of thousands of them, the reduction of vacations and the introduction of various labor flexibility laws, among other measures, constitute an austerity package agreed on by the pro-imperialist government of Moreno with the IMF in exchange for a loan from the agency of U$S 4.3 billion.

3. In response to the package, the country’s roads were blocked, municipalities and governments were occupied, as were the most important oil wells and 60% of the road structure was interrupted by the demonstrations. There were numerous confrontations with police and army troops, who suffered significant defections and the insurgents held members of the repressive forces of the State hostage. The uprising saw the occupation by tens of thousands of peasants and native people of Quito, the country´s capital, resisting the repression that tried to evict them without success, and unlike previous uprisings it had a national character. It did not stop despite the harsh repression that caused seven deaths, hundreds of wounded and more than 1,300 detainees, as registered by the insurgent ranks.

An important sector of workers joined the uprising who, exceeding the passivity of their traditional union leaders, actively participated in the protests. In the beginning, truck drivers went on a national strike that was cancelled by their traitorous union leadership. Then we must highlight the state workers. The important participation of women and young people, who played leading roles in the fight, should also be noted. The youth composed of university students, high school students and young children had a heroic performance in the front lines of the confrontation with the repressive forces until the final moment of the struggle.

The protests put the government of Lenin Moreno totally in crisis, forcing him to take refuge in Guayaquil. People occupied the headquarters of the National Assembly for hours and it never managed to session, putting the entire state apparatus in check. During the days in which the insurrection took place, there were in fact two powers in the country, that of a government and its repressive forces totally in crisis and on the defensive, and that of the indigenous people, the workers, the women, the youth, the Ecuadorian people in the streets, dominating part of the country and paralyzing much of the economic activities.

4. As a result of the uprising, Moreno’s fall was on the table. But the leadership of the indigenous movement, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), did not raise it, beyond this or that isolated speech. Their objective was to achieve the repeal of Decree 883, which set the rise in fuels, and the resignation of the ministers responsible for the repression. The most important union leadership, organized in the United Workers Front (FUT) did not call a general strike.

5. In this situation of absolute crisis of the Ecuadorian capitalist regime, international organizations ran to the aid of the government with the objective of “recovering peace and tranquility” to facilitate “dialogue.” The OAS, the Episcopal Conference and the governments The Lima Group tried to prop up Lenin Moreno, but the calls for dialogue were accompanied by the government with brutal repression measures, curfews, murders, mass arrests and the presence of paramilitary groups organized by the bourgeoisie of Guayaquil.

6. Finally, after 13 days of insurrection, the CONAIE leadership accepted the call to dialogue and achieved the repeal of the hated decree of increase of fuels in the negotiation on October 15. This constitutes a partial triumph of the uprising, and based on this retreat on Moreno´s part, the CONAIE withdrew the measures of force of the indigenous people and accepted to be part of a commission to draw up a new decree.

7. This first huge and heroic triumph of the struggle of the Ecuadorian people is a partial achievement of the struggle. On the one hand, it shows that the strength of the people´s mobilization can stop and bring into crisis the plans agreed with the IMF. But in turn, due to the weaknesses of its leadership, the austerity package has not been definitely buried, the repudiated government of Moreno has not been ousted, and a government of the social organizations in struggle, which dominated much of the country in the midst of the popular insurrection, was not raised and promoted. All of which was possible.

The confrontation of the Ecuadorian people with Lenin Moreno produced a change in the leadership of the CONAIE. The leaders who held positions in the government, from which they had to resign, were pushed aside, and another sector of the leadership took over the reins of the uprising. Though these leaders succeeded in repealing Decree 883, they were unable to organize the fight to overthrow the Lenin Moreno government as demanded by the people in struggle, and much less generate an alternative leadership of the mobilized people willing to take power in an insurgent Ecuador. The expressions of Jaime Vargas, the president of the CONAIE, in relation to the aspiration to obtain areas of autonomous indigenous administration within the state as the central political aspiration of his leadership, explains this enormous weakness of the indigenous leadership.

8. The wavering of the indigenous leadership has allowed Moreno to maneuver to try to limit the triumph obtained in the streets. While maintaining his intention to advance in the other austerity measures agreed with the IMF, the negotiating commission of a new draft decree stalled with the withdrawal of CONAIE from it.

There is no ongoing investigation to punishes those responsible for the deaths, injuries and enormous human rights violations committed by the repressive forces. On the contrary, as Ecuadorian comrades inform us, the government is developing numerous acts of persecution and intimidation of social and political leaders. This is the case of the arrest of followers of ex president Correa, such as the prefect of Pichincha, Paola Pabón, and the persecution of assemblywoman Gabriela Rivadeneira, who has had to go into exile. The judicial system also maintains a criminal investigation of the CONAIE leaders for the temporary detention of repressive agents by the insurgent movement.

9. The political organization and the leaders who respond to former President Rafael Correa, promoter of the current presidency of Lenin Moreno, who was his vice president during his two terms, did not take part in the mobilization and only limited themselves to criticizing his former ally, today become his arch nemesis, and demand “immediate elections” with the aim of repositioning themselves.

During his administration, Correa confronted indigenous demands. The CONAIE that fought and defeated the fuel increase decree, initially supported Moreno in his fight against Correism.

The current detention and persecution of Correist leaders by the government is unacceptable. We do not recognize any authority of the murderous and pro-imperialist government to judge anyone, much less its opponents.

10. In the same way, we reject the prosecution of CONAIE leaders and other social leaders. At the same time, we demand an independent investigation by human rights organizations, regarding the responsibilities for the deaths, injuries and brutal repression, and the need for trials and punishment for their political and material leaders.

11. The solution for the current crisis in Ecuador goes through, as the Ecuadorian people clearly stated in the recent uprising, expelling the IMF and overthrowing the government of Lenin Moreno, imposing an independent path of the workers, indigenous people and the people. It is necessary in this regard to call for a constituent assembly to reorganize the country on anti-capitalist bases.

12. To impose this program, it is more necessary than ever to promote and develop the self-organization of workers, students and the heroic indigenous people; to strengthen the development of different groupings that have emerged throughout the country independent of the traditional leaderships. New groupings that, along with demanding the necessary plan of action to develop the mobilization from the leaders of the CONAIE and the different unions, should develop an alternative leadership of the Ecuadorian people in struggle, prepared to take the struggle to the end in the task to overthrow the murderous government of Moreno and break with the IMF’s plans.

13. The struggle of the Ecuadorian people against the IMF and the government that applies its austerity plans, is part of a worldwide uprising against the attacks of capitalism on the standard of living and the rights of working people, of which the revolution that the Chilean people are leading today is at the vanguard of this struggle in Latin America, and to which we must add the uprisings of Haiti and Puerto Rico, as well as the resistance to Bolsonaro in Brazil, the sinking of Macri in Argentina and the Colombian mobilization process. Processes that are part of a global situation in which other peoples from very distant regions of the planet, such as Lebanon, Iraq, Catalonia, Hong Kong or Ethiopia, face the attacks of imperialist capitalism by placing the mass movement clearly on the offensive.

14. From the International Socialist League (LIS-ISL) we have supported the uprising of the Ecuadorian people. In the countries where we have an organized presence, we participate in actions in front of the Ecuadorian embassies demanding “Moreno and the IMF must go!” Our publications and actions are at the service of the triumph of the Ecuadorian people, because the defeat of Lenin Moreno and the IMF will strengthen the struggle of all peoples that fight against imperialist austerity plans.

15. The Ecuadorian insurrection, its enormous achievements, as well as the weakness of not having at its head a leadership capable of taking the fight to the end, pose an essential task to make defeating the austerity plans, the governments and state institutions at the service of submission to imperialist dictates possible: the construction of a revolutionary socialist alternative of workers and the Ecuadorian people.

The construction of a revolutionary tool that is capable of developing popular mobilization until it completely defeats the austerity plans, the capitalist governments that apply them and, linked to the development of the organizations in struggle, imposing a government of the social organizations of Ecuador, to implement an anti-capitalist program, of rupture with the IMF plans and any pro-employer variant, and to face those plans in unity with the Latin American peoples, and fight for a socialist Ecuador and Latin America.

October 2019