Ecuador between anger and hope


By Jorge Estrella

This phrase coined by the universal Ecuadorian painter Oswaldo Guayasamin to define a stage of his painting, describes the reality that Ecuadorians currently live.

Lasso has been in office for 4 months and the banker has not been able to solve the problems of the Ecuadorian people, which he had promised to fix in 100 hours of work.

His government has been characterized by successive errors in laws sent to the National Assembly, which have been rejected for lacking in form and structure of the formal and legal requirements to be dealt with.

An example of this is expressed in the last Law package, as it was pompously called, creating opportunities in which a series of reforms were unconstitutionally mixed that range from the economy to a package of labor reforms that not only reduced the acquired rights of workers, such as lowering salaries by up to 50%, non-payment of severance pay, allowing employers to reduce working hours during the 40-hour workweek, so that rest days are worked without the need to pay or overtime.

That is, this reform sent by the banker to the assembly as an urgent economic law, not only affected the economy with a series of measures in favor of capital, such as tax cuts for large capitals, plus taxes for the impoverished middle class , the elimination of the Law of inheritances and successions, etc., etc.

This legal monstrosity also created a parallel Labor Code, in a way that was at odds with the Constitution, with the childish argument that workers could choose which of them they wanted to be hired under.

This happily did not happen, largely due to the erosion of the majority formed by Lasso, by way of large stacks of bills and Pachacutic’s gradual abandonment of the agreement that allowed them to take over the leadership of the Assembly at the beginning of Lasso’s mandate.

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The assembly’s rejection of this oligarchic package, brought out an arrogant Laso who threatened to call a Popular Consultation, which would allow him to comply with his plan of creating two million jobs for Ecuadorians, however, the expose by Spanish newspaper El Pais, in which an Ecuadorian medium (El Universo) also participated, ended up putting the banker on the defensive, now turning his attention toward dismantling the information of Pandora Papers as false, arguing that due to the persecution of Correísmo, he was forced to dissolve his companies in tax havens in 2017, that is, before being elected president of the republic. However, in the National Assembly, it was voted by a majority to initiate investigations into this financial framework, also managing to remove the investigation from the Audit Commission controlled by Lasso, determining that the Commission for Constitutional Affairs and Justice wil be in charge of the investigation. This Commission is outside the control of the Government and is mostly made up of opposition assembly members.

In the midst of this amazing scenario, the left and the self-styled progressives move slowly, marked by these conjunctural scenarios that move very quickly, in the face of the lack of a medium and long-term program to confront the government.

The streets begin to heat up, for this October, which is expected to repeat the scenarios of the same month of 2019, and with the same cause: the elimination of measures that allow a rise in fuel prices, a situation that has generated an inflationary escalation, and the loss of the purchasing power of the dollar and therefore of the salary of Ecuadorians.