[Marxism] Ecuador forges ahead
sabocat59 at mac.com
Sun Oct 7 09:43:21 MDT 2007
Yesterday Duroyan Fertl ended his article in the Hatarinchej
blogsite, "ECUADOR: Landslide triumph for the left", by quoting
seasoned political analyst Felipe Burbano. Burbano was writing
editorials for HOY news when I was in Quito 15 years ago. According
to Burbano, who is a frequent critic of Correa from the right,
Correa's recent victory in the Constituent Assembly “reflects the
collapse of the old structure of power in Ecuador”. For Burbano to
admit the obvious is a reflection of the depth of the revolution
underway in Ecuador. Burbano joins the chorus of left-wing analysts
inside Ecuador and internationally who have commented on the meaning
of the most recent victory for Alianza Pais, Correa's ruling and
increasingly hegemonic political party, and of course, for the people
of Ecuador, over 70% of whom live in poverty.
Polling groups estimate Correa's party to have won between 76 and
80 of 130 seats in the Constituent Assembly. Alberto Acosta, left-
wing economist with close ties to environmental groups and the
indigenous CONAIE, left Correa's cabinet to run for a seat in the
new assembly, and according to IPS he won more votes than any other
candidate. He will be setting the agenda for the new assembly in
november. Likewise, we have the projection from veteran peasant
leader Hugo Blanco that Ecuador stands poised to surpass both
Venezuela and Bolivia in implementing its version of "socialism for
the 21st century", because "the regime in Ecuador has the broadest
support", and J. Bustelo has already posted an article and commented
on Correa's decision to expropriate the expropriators among the
international oil companies doing business inside Ecuador , who have
nonchalantly destroyed thousands of hectares of tropical rainforest
in the Ecuadorean amazon, where most of the oil is located,
endangering indigenous groups who live there as well.
Yesterday Correa went one step further. In a largely symbolic
gesture, yet one showing a sense of humor united with strong resolve,
Correa announced that critics among the oil companies who complained
about his new decree would find 100% of windfall profits expropriated:
"Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa warned Saturday that if oil
companies complain about the new distribution of windfall oil
profits, of which the state treasury is set to take 99 percent, he'll
also take back the 1 percent he's allowing them as a "concession."
"If they get annoyed, I'll pass a new decree saying that 100 percent"
of these surplus profits are for "the oil's rightful owners" who are
the Ecuadorian people, he said, and recalled that according to the
constitution, the nation's natural resources are the property of the
Correa said on his weekly program that next Monday the government
will meet with representatives of foreign oil companies to discuss
the new contracts.
"If they complain, I won't give them even that 1 percent because this
is a concession we're giving them," he said with reference to the
tiny percentage of windfall profits from the surge in world oil
prices that he is granting foreign oil companies."
In an analysis penned for Monthly Review, Shawn Hattingh discusses
Correa's plan to "break the back of neo-liberalism" in Ecuador, a
sentiment which has "sent shudders through the US administration and
its corporate backers". According to Hattingh, Correa already
controls more than half the country's oil reserves after kicking out
Occidental Petroleum earlier this year, and now Alianza Pais plans
to take full control over mining rights and telecommunications as
well as banks and possibly some private media. In a sign of the
future, the Canadian company Ascendant Copper was recently denied
contracts to continue operating inside Ecuador because they had
broken the environmental and mining laws of the country. Nor is
Correa happy with Carlos Slim's plans to monopolize Ecuador's growing
wireless communications industry.
In an analysis for Reuters, Alonso Soto quotes a Goldman Sachs rep.
commenting on Correa's shock decison vis-a-vis big oil :
"Unquestionably, this represents a major deterioration of the
business and investment environment in the country and shows how
aggressive the government is prepared to be in dealing with the
private sector and in pursuing its nationalist inward-looking
strategy," and " "The sectors that in our view are now most at risk
are: wireless telephone companies, banks, media groups, and the
mining sector," he said.
Now we wait and see how Washington responds. Clearly, in Latin
America we are currently witnessing the peaceful yet no less profound
version of Che's one, two three, many vietnams.
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