The Guardian February 2, 2000


Editorial:
The people's rising in Ecuador

The people's rising in Ecuador is yet another indication that in many 
countries there is massive rejection of the policies of economic 
rationalism and American imperialist domination.

Ecuador is the home of the Inca Indians who account for about 40 per cent 
of the people in a population of around five million. Another 40 per cent 
are of mixed Indian and European decent. Ecuador lies on the northwest 
coast of South America and was part of the Americas conquered by the 
Spanish conquistadors who carried out a policy of genocide, destruction and 
robbery in the name of the Catholic Church. Spanish colonialism ended in 
1822.

Ecuador's economy is still based on grain growing and livestock although 
some manufacturing industries have been established. It also has oilfields 
and is the third largest exporter of oil in Latin America, after Mexico and 
Venezuela.

The Ecuadorian uprising paralysed the government as workers, peasants, the 
indigenous people and small proprietors took to the streets. The people's 
resistance was highly organised with the formation of grass-roots 
committees, regional assemblies and a national "people's parliament". For 
those who babble about democracy, this was a true democracy of the people 
in action, fundamentally different from the tame, pliable and manipulative 
"democracy" maintained by established parties, all of whom, support the 
continuance of the capitalist system.

In Ecuador, the establishment comprises those who own the big landed 
estates, the mineral wealth and oil interests. They are backed by the army, 
police and courts, set up to preserve their power.

For many years, the US super-power has been training the armed forces 
across the Latin American countries to become killer squads, directed 
towards controlling the people in their own countries.

And this is precisely what happened in Ecuador. In a manoeuvre that should 
be noted by all revolutionary forces, the chief-of-staff of the armed 
forces actually became a member of a three-person committee that was set up 
to implement the decisions of the people's parliament. The army commander 
then, together with other forces within the so-called "democratic" 
parliament, betrayed the revolutionary cause, causing sufficient division 
and confusion for the establishment to be able to regain its authority. In 
a transparent parliamentary manoeuvre, the President was replaced by the 
Vice-President, who immediately declared that he would continue to 
implement the same policies as the ousted President. A shoddy game of 
musical chairs if ever there was!

There are two types of democracy  that form which elects a parliament on 
the basis of carefully scripted electoral laws behind which stands the 
private ownership of the mass media, the main industries, the banks and in 
Latin America, the meddling, criminal and shadowy forces of the United 
States.

The other type of democracy is one based on the people and the grass-roots 
organisations such as the regional assemblies and People's Parliament 
established by the Ecuadorian people. They were popularly established and 
reflect the real needs of the workers, peasants, the indigenous people and 
small proprietors. It is a democracy based on the mass actions of the 
people. It is not a democracy limited to a periodical "right to vote" 
which, at the same time, limits and actively opposes the demonstrations, 
strike struggles and other forms of campaigning by the people.

The capitalist form of democracy never touches the power and rights of the 
corporations that own and control the economy of the country and relies on 
the outside power of the US to back them up.

The trigger for the Ecuadorian uprising was the decision of the Government 
to replace the national currency with that of the US dollar. In the course 
of this manipulation the meagre savings of the Ecuadorian people held in 
banks were effectively decimated as the exchange rate of the national 
currency was more than halved. For a time, and while this was happening, 
the Government closed the banks so that the people could not withdraw their 
savings to protect them.

The Ecuadorian people's revolution has experienced a temporary setback by 
deception but none of the problems of the people will be solved by the 
current regime. The people and revolutionary leaders will think over what 
has happened. The struggle continues!
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