[Marxism] Hugo Blanco on Ecuador

Fred Fuentes fred.fuentes at gmail.com
Fri Oct 5 08:23:34 MDT 2007

 Hugo Blanco:
A Triumphant Advance in Ecuador

*Popular Forces Sweep Constituent Assembly Elections*


*Hugo Blanco was leader of the Quechua peasant uprising in the Cuzco region
of Peru in the early 1960s. He was captured by the military and sentenced to
25 years in El Fronton Island prison for his activities, but an
international defence campaign won his freedom. He continues to play an
active role in Peru's indigenous, campesino, and environmental movements,
and writes on Peruvian, indigenous, and Latin American issues. *

*He wrote this article for Socialist Voice on the eve of the sweeping
victory of the Country Alliance Movement (Movimiento Alianza País) and
President Rafael Correa's anti-imperialist government in the September 30
elections for Ecuador's new Constituent Assembly.*

*Mercopress reported October 2 that "Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa
received a landslide support in the Sunday election for a Constitutional
Assembly which will be tasked with reforming the country's constitution and
leading it towards what he has defined as XXI Century Socialism." Alianza
Pais will end up with somewhere between 76 and 80 seats of the Assembly's
130 members, enabling Correa "to work, in alliance with smaller groups with
a comfortable majority."*

*Kintto Lucas, writing in Ecuador
notes that "The victory in the Constituent Assembly is the result of years
of agitation and struggle by Ecuador's indigenous and social movements along
with an unorganized, largely middle-class movement of people known as the
forajidos, an Ecuadoran term meaning outlaws or bandits who rebel against
the established system. In March when the Congress and the right wing
political parties tried to sabotage the elections for the Assembly, tens of
thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Quito, blocking the
entrances to Congress and backing the disbarment of the Congressional
members who wanted to suppress the elections." *

*—Phil Stuart Cournoyer*
A Triumphant Advance in Ecuador

*By Hugo Blanco*

Today Ecuador is undergoing a triumphant advance. Of the three
anti-imperialist governments in South America that are now pursuing a
process of change, the regime in Ecuador has the broadest support.

Bolivia is advancing, but the Right, which holds office in four departments,
has unfortunately been able to line up a sector of the middle class against

In Venezuela the Right achieved some success in its campaign of lies against
the supposed violation of "freedom of the press" with regard to a company
whose broadcast permit should have been lifted when it supported a coup
d'état. Instead, it was permitted to continue through to the end of the
license term.

In Ecuador, as in Bolivia, victory in the presidential elections was no more
than one successful step in a long process of massive popular struggles.
This process had seen the repeated ouster of presidents who, obedient to the
interests of the large corporations and the United States, had promoted the
pillage of their countries and accelerated environmental degradation,
driving their countries into poverty.

The previous Ecuadorian president, to gain the support needed to govern, had
initially surrounded himself with some progressive ministers, a set-up that
soon collapsed. One of these transitory ministers was Rafael Correa, and his
fleeting presence as minister led him to be seen as someone who could direct
the economy. He was elected president in 2006.

The people deeply despised parliament, the heart of reaction. They demanded
a Constituent Assembly. Correa not only promised to convoke such an
assembly, but refused to present candidates for parliament, convincing
voters of his consistency.

After his election, Correa paid homage to the indigenous mass movement that
was so crucial in his victory by going to the mountain village of Zumbahua
to receive a staff of office from the indigenous peoples. Promising that his
would be "an indigenous government," he explained, "This is not an epoch of
change; it is a change of epochs."

Once elected, of course, he ran into the frontal opposition of the
reactionary parliament. Not only did it stand in total opposition to
convening the Constituent Assembly; it even had the nerve to vote a huge
increase in deputies' salaries.

The first great battle was to hold a referendum approving election of a
Constituent Assembly. Parliament was dead against that, of course, but the
highest electoral authority decided to go ahead with the vote. The deputies
voted to fire that tribunal's chairperson. But he responded that it was the
deputies that should be ousted, for having moved against him in violation of
the constitution.

This disagreement was resolved by the people through mass demonstrations
that surrounded the parliament. Fortunately, Correa did not restrain the
people as Juan Perón of Argentina and Salvador Allende of Chile did in the
past, when they were threatened by a right-wing coup. Correa did the exact
opposite. He said that the people had every right to mobilize peacefully and
that this mobilization was the only guarantee that the needed changes could
go forward.

In March 2007, the electoral authority removed 57 deputies for having
obstructed convocation of the Constituent Assembly. The law provided for
their replacement by alternates chosen by their parties. Of course the
parties, which did not recognize the deputies' removal, ordered the
alternates to refuse to be sworn in. But such is the hunger for posts in
these circles that many alternates quickly took the oath and voted approval
for the referendum on convening a Constituent Assembly. This should not be
taken as a sign that the present deputies are any less reactionary and
corrupt than their predecessors.

The referendum was held on April 15, and 80% voted for convening the
Assembly, with 10% opposed and 10% spoiling their ballots.

The Constituent Assembly elections will take place on September 30. In my
opinion, this assembly will not have the rough ride experienced by its
equivalent in Bolivia. It will be a great triumph for the people, from which
will emerge a constitution far different from the present one, which serves
to exploit the country and subject its people to poverty. The new
constitution will be a tool enabling the Ecuadorian people to manage their
country in the interests of the population in a framework of respect for the

That of course will not end the struggle. The process of liberation is
lengthy. The Ecuadorian people have taken control of the government, but
they do not have power, which remains in the hands of the large
corporations. The election of the Constituent Assembly will be an important
step in this struggle.

Greetings, brothers and sisters of Ecuador!

September 28, 2007
*(Translation by John Riddell)*
Support Hugo Blanco and Lucha Indigena

Hugo Blanco has just completed a Canadian speaking and solidarity tour,
during which he established links with Indigenous activists in Canada on
behalf of the Peruvian publication he edits, *Lucha Indígena* (Indigenous
Friends of Hugo Blanco in Canada have established the *Lucha Indígena
Canada-Peru Solidarity Network* to raise funds and material support for
Lucha Indígena's work, and to promote an exchange of news, information,
analysis, and human contact between indigenous activists and their allies in
the two countries. For further information, contact Nelson Rubio in St.
Catherines (nelrubio at yahoo.ca), or Darrel Furlotte in Toronto (
darrel.furlotte at gmail.com), or Mike Krebs in Vancouver (mikekrebs at gmail.com

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