By Alberto Giovanelli
We write these lines on the morning of Saturday, June 25, after the days of greatest confrontation in the streets of Quito, where the massive mobilizations continue to multiply throughout the city and different regions of the country, although with less intensity in the key city of Guayaquil. The brutal repression perpetrated by the government of Guillermo Lasso has been its only response in 13 days since the start of the protests, originally driven by the increase in the cost of living in general and of fuel in particular. Today, the political and institutional crisis continues to deepen without any negotiation channels opening that satisfy the demands of the social organizations led by the CONAIE. On the contrary, the response of the Lasso government has done nothing more than stoke the process of struggle. As an example, despite wanting to impose the withdrawal of the communities that arrived in Quito as an essential condition to open any dialogue, the consequence has been new contingents approaching the city.
The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and other social organizations that lead the mobilizations against the government, added to the 10 points of their demands (detailed in previous articles) a new condition that the reality of the struggle was imposing on them: LASSO OUT. There is no possibility of providing even partial solutions to the people’s needs from the hand of this submissive IMF dependent government.
At this time, moreover, a group of legislators linked to ex president Correo forced the convocation of an extraordinary plenary session for Saturday afternoon for the National Assembly to deal with the application of article 130 of the National Constitution, which would force the resignation of Lasso and the dissolution of the Assembly itself to call new elections. This is the process called “cross death” in which everyone falls, the executive and the representatives to the National Assembly. This call also brought to light, as we anticipated in other articles, the existence of two internal tendencies within CONAIE and its political arm Pachakutic, since its own representatives were divided among those who responded to Jaime Vargas (former president of CONAIE ) who expressed themselves in favor of supporting Lasso and those who respond to Leonidas Iza who support the dismissal measure proposed by Correismo.
At the massive Assembly that took place on Friday afternoon at the House of Culture, CONAIE president Leonidas Iza demanded the end of the state of exception as a condition to resume talks between the Executive and the indigenous leaders. Likewise, Iza demands that the Police withdraw from the traditional El Arbolito park, -where the protests of October 2019 had concentrated- so that the mobilized organizations can debate “procedures for the attention of their demands.” A new offensive against the demonstrators by the Police in the El Arbolito park itself was the government’s response, which began a process of strong confrontations in the afternoon and until last night, which spread to different areas of the city with the massive participation of the inhabitants of the neighborhoods who joined the protests together with the delegations that came from the rural areas of the interior of the country.
This popular uprising, which, as we said, is in a way a continuation of the massive protests that took place in October 2019, when the government of Lenín Moreno tried to impose austerity measures very similar to those of Lasso. Three years ago the Ecuadorian people managed to force the government to cancel the cuts. However, at that time the congress was taken over and the central government was forced to move its offices from the capital of Quito to Guayaquil, in addition to the fact that the slogans had evolved from canceling the cuts to the complete ouster of the government. The popular insurrection had made a breakthrough and Moreno’s fall seemed a matter of time. Faced with this scenario, the CONAIE decided to accept talks with Moreno and rejected the popular will that demanded the president’s head. We see a similar trend today. Lasso is increasingly cornered and has begun to lose the trust of the establishment itself, which sees its privileges and profits at risk and urgently needs to find a way out of the crisis. As an example of this, the media itself, always an advocate of the Ecuadorian bourgeoisie, began to express that they would not take a dim view of the “institutional” solution proposed by Correismo, which tries to channel and control the mobilization process through electoral means.
In this description we cannot ignore that CONAIE is an extremely important reference in the current strike and its undisputed leadership, for this reason we understand that it is essential not only to accompany, support and deepen this process at the same time that it is our obligation to warn about the musings and setbacks that their leaders have applied in the past. The tendency towards a demobilizing negotiation always accompanied by the opportunism of Correismo, constitute the elements that combined in 2019 to stop the process and today are once again a risk that we must face.
From the International Socialist League we reiterate our support for the national strike that is taking place and our national sections in different countries have begun to participate in the first actions in front of the Ecuadorian embassies abroad and denounce the violations of human rights committed by the Lasso government that have cost the lives of 6 protesters to date. We will also fight tirelessly for the CONAIE, the social organizations, the workers, the students to debate how to continue the struggle to defeat Lasso and begin to discuss how to establish a workers’ government under the control of massive democratic assemblies of the kind that take place in the Casa de la Cultuta and the El Arbolito park. That is where our power resides and that is why we warn that there are no possibilities for growth within the reformist frameworks proposed by the opportunists who want to provide cover for capitalism. From the ISL we will continue to insist and redouble our commitment to the formation of a revolutionary alternative that contributes to the formation of a government of those who have never governed, the workers, the peasants, the indigenous populations, the students, a government of those from below.
Long live the indefinite national strike in Ecuador!
Down with Guillermo Lasso!
For a socialist Ecuador governed by workers, indigenous people and poor peasants!