The heroic uprising of the Ecuadorian people led by the Indigenous Movement had its outcome on Sunday October 14 with the repeal of decree 883, with which the government had eliminated the gasoline and diesel subsidy as part of a series of IMF requirements to extend a loan.
By MAS / Ecuador
Seven dead, more than a thousand injured, more than a thousand two hundred political prisoners, total militarization and repression in main cities with a state of exception and a curfew, were not enough to stop the fight until the movement prevailed .
Throughout the eleven days that this fight lasted, all roads were blocked, the indigenous movement took control of governorates in Napo, Bolívar, Tungurahua, Chimborazo,Pastaza, Morona Santiago and El Cañar, oil production was paralyzed ,which produced a supply crisis. Youth , mostly high school , university students and unemployed , fought from beginning to end. Solidarity with the indigenous movement in Quito articulated important networks between universities, neighborhoods and social organizations.
The climax of the process came on October 12, when popular neighborhoods of the south and North of Quito uprose , starting a series of mobilizations from the suburbs of the city to the Ecuadorian House of Culture, the struggle’s epicenter . Despite of the brutal attacks on October 12 on a crowd of more than 50,000 people in the surroundings of the Ecuadorian Culture House and the curfew decree from 3:00 p.m. on the same day, protest actions continued at night. Neighborhoods boosted night “cacerolazos”( pot/pan banging protests), which in many cases were accompanied by large mobilizations . Mobilizations were being called in the vast majority of provinces, even in the Coast Region. So, a new and more powerful popular outburst was brewing .
This vibrant revolutionary process led by CONAIE, but that was much broader , where city workers joined spontaneously, called for much more, including , Out with Lenin Moreno and the IMF!
Despite this, CONAIE from the start established only two objectives: repeal decree 883 and the dismissal of the government minister María Paula Romo and defense minister Oswaldo Jarrín, held responsible for the brutal police repression against protesters , from the first day of the strike.Another aspect that allowed the government not to fall was the lack of unity of the differentsectors in struggle. For example, we in the CUTCOP insisted on the need for unity of the indigenous movement with the trade union and popular movement, in the Parliament of thePeoples, but this did not materialize.
Majority trade union leadership like FUT played a disastrous role by not organizing and mobilizing their bases, for that reason, most of the workers organized themselves in neighborhoods, surpassed their leadership and joined the struggle. Likewise, Jaime Vargas, president of CONAIE stated clearly at the negotiating table , what the organization’s strategy is : indigenous people seek relatively autonomous spaces for indigenous nationalities within the State, which we support, but we believe this claim is not possible within the capitalist state.
The government, meanwhile, faced the mobilization process with two tactics. First it made disproportionate use of repression, decreeing the state of exception and a curfew . Failing to stop the uprising with repression, it opened a possibility for dialogue together with the Episcopal Conference and the U.N.
Along with this , government headquarters were moved from Quito to Guayaquil, seeking shelter from the popular uprising and seeking the support ofthe right-wing opposition represented by Guillermo Lasso, Cynthia Viteri and Nebot, which was expressed in the march organized by these sectors on October 9 against the indigenous movement.
The repressive policy of the government, despite being questioned by human rights organizations , was validated by the United Nations and by president Donald Trump. Another tactic that the Lenin Moreno government used was to try show the uprising as a work of correismo and the influence of Nicolás Maduro, but this did not work.
It should be noted that, in this process, correismo fulfilled a marginal roll, since it was the self-organized people who took to the streets and fought together with the indigenous people against the neoliberal attacks of the government and the IMF.
In fact, Correa joined the popular struggle opportunistically to try to gain electoral revenues .Thus, the strength of the mobilization and the determination of CONAIE forced the government to sit down to negotiate on a historic national radio and television network, excluding the FUT and other trade union and social organizations from the negotiations .
The CONAIE leadership spoke not only for the indigenous peoples, but for the entire ecuadorian people, however,in the negotiation, while it was mentioned, impunity for protesters was not included, leavingexposed to repression, the masses who joined the fight and played a fundamental role in this struggle . This has led to the political persecution of the opposition to the government. For example, the government is imprisoning fighters like Pablo del Hierro, a memberof Leonidas Proaño del Sur in Quito and Pablo Correa, a medical student at Cuenca University, among several. Even public servants are being persecuted and harassed with contract termination.
In addition, correista legislative representatives have been imprisoned or exiled. While we consider that, during his government, Correa and his followers have played a disastrous role for ecuadorian people, attacking indigenous and workers’ organizations and strengthening repressive institutions among other things, we believe that we must fight to ensure the non-persecution of all fighters, to avoid the criminalization of social protest.
After the victory of the popular uprising, there is clearly a weaker government, which having been defeated in the streets, and having a state with a very high degree of indebtedness (representing 46% of GDP) will seek other ways to apply the austerity package and labor reform, as these remain demands of the IMF.
Furthermore, there will be another decree regarding gasoline and diesel subsidies and we must stay vigilant about its implications . That is why it is important to make conclusions of this process, and bear in mind that the need to fight and oust the repressive and criminal government of Lenin Moreno and the IMF with their austerity package still remains.On other occasions, indigenous people, workers, youth, women and other popular sectorsin Ecuador have demonstrated not only our willingness to fight, but thatwhen we unite, we can achieve what we want, even govern ourselves.
For example, the Peoples’ Parliament in January 2000, where not only the Indigenous sectors were represented in CONAIE, but also the social and trade union movement ,which was grouped at the time in the Coordinadora de Movimientos Sociales , managed to takethe fight to the point where it actually took power for a few hours before handing it over tothe military. An element that enabled this was the division of the armed forces when asector of these refused to repress the people, which is different in the current process; both thenational police and the army seem to be more unified to repress, although they were beginning to show symptoms of a possible rupture, especially in the army. In that process , with the Peoples Parliament existed the possibility of starting anew model of society, based on popular assemblies where workers would decide and govern their own destiny. That is the route we must take, because this fight is just starting .
We, from MAS/Ecuador (LIT-CI), have been actively participating in this process and believe that we must continue fighting to defend ourselves against these neoliberal attacks.
We defend that we must go further and fight for a different society, at the service of the poor, where workers, indigenous people and the exploited in general, a real democratic and egalitarian society, a socialist society.
This revolutionary situation has just began , the onslaught of the government and the mobilizations to face them will continue, but we need to put an end to what really is hurting us: capitalism.
So, we want to call on all activists and fighters who have participated in this process to continue fighting and at the same time build a tool that allows us to change Ecuador from its base : A Revolutionary party .
For the victory of the Ecuadorian people!
Down with the government and defense ministers!
Down with Lenin Moreno and the IMF!
Neither Correa, nor Lasso, nor Nebot!
Make the rich pay for the crisis !
Down with the austerity package and the labor reform!
Freedom to political prisoners!
No to the persecution of protesters!
Down with the criminalization of social protest!
Translation by Blas ( Corriente Obrera Lit-ci )