[Marxism] Ecuador timeline

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jan 9 07:32:42 MST 2006


After years of methodical organizing, an alliance of Ecuador's Indian 
groups has for the first time scored impressive victories at the ballot 
box, placing itself in the vanguard of Latin America's indigenous movement.

The immediate result, in what amounts to a political revolution here, will 
be evident on Aug. 10, when more than 70 Indians are sworn in as 
congressmen, mayors and councilmen. The first to be elected independent of 
Ecuador's traditional parties, their ascent to political office is viewed 
here as historic.

(Washington Post, July 23, 1996)

----

Virulent protests in Ecuador's coastal cities of Guayaquil and Esmeraldas 
contrasted with relative calm in the capital, Quito, as unions and 
indigenous groups staged a national protest campaign yesterday. The 
demonstrators are upset at the government's elimination of gas, electricity 
and diesel subsidies.

Protesters from poor Guayaquil neighbourhoods burnt tyres and blocked roads 
before marching to the city centre to join union activists in a 
demonstration. Transport and business were at a standstill in Esmeraldas as 
protesters marched through the city.

In contrast, there were only sporadic protests in Quito, where support for 
President Jamil Mahuad is strongest.

(Financial Times, October 2, 1998)

----

Numbers of indigenous protesters and their supporters gathering in the 
Ecuadoran capital rose to 8,000 yesterday, as they carried out a third day 
of peaceful demonstrations.

As many of the demonstrators crowded together at El Arbolito park in an 
area of Quito, close to key government buildings, indigenous Ecuadorans 
protesting outside the capital blocked roads in the south of the country.

They are demanding the resignation of President Jamil Mahuad, in protest at 
his proposal to ''dollarize'' the ailing economy, pegging the local 
currency, the sucre, at 25,000 to the U.S. dollar.

''We won't move until the government falls,'' said Antonio Vargas, 
president of the Confederation of Ecuadoran Indigenous Nationalities 
(CONAIE), which is also demanding the dissolution of Congress and the 
Supreme Court.

(Montreal Gazette, January 21, 2000)

----

Ecuador's vice president was elevated to the presidency today after a 
three-man junta toppled the president but then stepped down itself under 
pressure from the United States and other foreign powers.

In a fast-moving crisis triggered by this small South American country's 
severe economic troubles, Vice President Gustavo Noboa took power with 
support from the head of the armed forces and Congress.

The previous president, Jamil Mahuad, was ousted on Friday after Indian 
protesters supported by some junior officers in the armed forces stormed 
the Congress building. They announced a new government led by a three-man 
junta initially formed of an army colonel, the head of the movement of 
indigenous people that organized the protests, and a former president of 
the Supreme Court.

(Washington Post, January 23, 2000)

----

The government of Ecuador appears ready to confront thousands of Indian 
protesters opposing its economic policies, as it finalises tax reforms to 
meet demands by the International Monetary Fund.

President Gustavo Noboa said yesterday there would be no negotiations over 
"impossible demands". The Andean nation's five indigenous-peoples 
organisations have declared a "general uprising" to reject fuel price 
increases, rises in bus fares and cuts in domestic gas subsidies, all 
requested by the fund as part of a Dollars 304m standby loan agreement.

Delays in submitting tax reform plans, which Mr Noboa was to present to 
Congress last Friday, and the failure to implement measures to strengthen 
the banking sector have delayed the third disbursement of Dollars 42m from 
Washington.

(Financial Times, January 31, 2001)

----

A leftwing politician who led a military coup just under three years ago 
yesterday held a commanding opinion poll lead as campaigning ended ahead of 
Sunday's presidential elections in Ecuador.

Lucio Gutierrez, who is supported by Pachacutik, the main indigenous 
political movement, had 53 per cent of voting intentions, according to an 
opinion poll conducted last weekend. His rival, Alvaro Noboa, Ecuador's 
wealthiest man, gained five percentage points but still lags behind with 25 
per cent of voting intentions. Mr Gutierrez has seen his ratings fall from 
56 per cent on November 9.

Mr Gutierrez has promised policies favouring the poor, and has refused to 
cut subsidies or wages. But he has also insisted that he would reach a deal 
with the International Monetary Fund. The current government has been 
chasing a Dollars 240m stand-by loan accord with the Fund for more than a year.

"What the IMF wants is a balanced budget with a primary surplus. But there 
are other ways to reach that," said Mr Gutierrez. "We can cut corruption - 
especially in customs, which robs more than Dollars 1bn a year - increase 
the tax base, better focus subsidies and strengthen juridical security to 
lure back Ecuadorean capital and international investors."

(Financial Times, November 22, 2002)

----

Lucio Gutierrez, Ecuador's president-elect, is planning to push through an 
accord with the International Monetary Fund despite the risk of losing 
potential political allies.

He has also identified what he claims will be an effective way of slashing 
government spending by 25 per cent - buying on the internet.

The former army colonel, who takes office on January 15, will dismiss a 
pledge for an IMF moratorium requested by the indigenous lobby.

"I will be the one to make all the decisions on economic and foreign 
policy," Mr Gutierrez said in an interview with FT Deutschland.

The disagreement paves the way for the first point of friction for the new 
government. The indigenous groups, which hold only 16 seats in the 
100-strong Congress, were among the most important political supporters of 
Gutierrez in the Ecuadorean presidential elections on November 24.

He was also backed by Marxists and many of the 60 per cent of Ecuadoreans 
who live in poverty and who are now expecting sweeping social reforms.

(Financial Times, December 18, 2002)

----

Ecuador will be a "staunch ally" of the US in its struggle against 
terrorism, drug trafficking and corruption, the country's radical new 
president told the Financial Times.

Lucio Gutierrez, a left-leaning former army officer who won last November's 
presidential elections after mobilising support from Ecuador's sizeable 
indigenous minority population, also promised fierce fiscal austerity and 
said he would lead efforts to clean up Ecuador's reputation among foreign 
investors.

"We are very interested in turning the page of errors and mistakes, of not 
fulfilling agreements, of finishing with this label of Ecuador being one of 
the most corrupt countries in the world," Mr Gutierrez said last week 
during a visit to New York and Washington.

(Financial Times, February 17, 2003)

----

In the bare headquarters of Pachakutik, the largest political party 
representing Ecuador's indigenous population, a small altar sits in a 
corner next to a metal folding chair. From afar it appears similar to 
antiques found in the graceful centuries-old Catholic churches across this 
Andean capital, but on closer inspection it is a political statement.

The altar consists of the laughing head of Uncle Sam against a backdrop of 
skyscrapers, missiles and the Statue of Liberty. The Spanish initials for 
the International Monetary Fund run across his chest, and in the background 
pigs are flying across a blue sky. The attached kneeler, usually a worn 
leather cushion, is a panel of rusty spikes.

As the only decoration in the party offices, the altar is a commentary on 
how indigenous Ecuadorans view the political priorities of their government 
and the United States, which they blame for their impoverished condition. 
It is also a symbol of the party's failed efforts to end years of 
disenfranchisement. After a short-lived experiment in which it participated 
in the national government, Ecuador's indigenous political movement has 
been consigned to its more familiar role as an opposition force.

The U.S.-backed president, Lucio Gutierrez, abruptly ended his alliance 
with the indigenous party in August, which left his administration with 
only a small base of support. Indigenous leaders are now planning a 
campaign of civil protest, perhaps as early as next month, to express their 
displeasure with the president and force changes in the country's economic 
policies.

"He's a traitor," said Gilberto Talahua, 33, a member of the Cocho Colorada 
tribe and Pachakutik's director. "He'll always work with this group of 
rightists, and the fact of the matter is, he has become a president of the 
business class."

(The Washington Post, October 30, 2003)

----

ECUADOREAN President Lucio Gutierrez was ousted by Congress yesterday after 
a week of increasingly violent protests in which he was accused of abusing 
his power by meddling with the country's top court.

Mr Gutierrez, the third president of the South American nation to be 
toppled amid popular unrest in eight years, was replaced by his 
vice-president after escalating clashes between opposing protesters in 
which two people were reported killed.

A military helicopter flew Mr Gutierrez from the presidential palace in the 
colonial centre of Quito after 60 congressmen from the 100-seat chamber 
voted to fire him for "abandoning his post".

Brazil's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, issued in Brasilia, that Mr 
Gutierrez was in the Brazilian embassy in Quito.

(The Australian, April 22, 2005)

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