Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador: The State of the Nation on the Eve of the Protest Movement

We inform you about some of the elements of the political scene of the country and the activity that our Party develops in this context.

  1. Last Tuesday, October 1, the National Government adopted a package of economic and labour measures that among other elements includes the following:
  2. The elimination of state subsidies to fossil fuels. The American gallon of diesel was raised from $ 1.03 to $ 2.30 (123%), and that of regular petrol from $ 1.85 to $ 2.40. With this measure, says the Government, there would be a saving of 1.3 billion dollars a year.
  3. To “protect those who could be affected by the measure,” it said, 300,000 families will be added to those who now receive the so-called Human Development Bonus (known as the Poverty Bonus), who will receive an additional USD 15 per month.
  4. Companies that receive an income over 10 million dollars a year will pay a special contribution for three years, which would raise USD 300 million, which would be “allocated to safety, health and education.”
  5. Elimination or reduction of tariffs for machinery, equipment and raw material; automatic returns of taxes for exporters; elimination of advance payment of income tax; Elimination of import taxes on technological devices such as cell phones, computers, tablets, etc. and reduction in half of the tax on the exit of foreign currency (ISD) for raw materials, inputs for capital goods
  6. Public company workers will contribute each month a day’s salary.
  7. In the labour field he announced:
  8. The sending to the National Assembly of a labour reform project that contemplates new forms of labour hiring, without the benefits that workers currently have in aspects such as stability. The trade union movement has denounced it as a counter-reform that pursues the precariousness of work.
  9. Occasional contracts in the public sector will be renewed with 20% less remuneration.

iii. The vacation period for public sector employees and workers is reduced from 30 to 15 days a year, as in the private sector.

  1. As can be seen, the measures adopted strongly affect the economy of the popular sectors, benefit the large entrepreneurs and, to cover their antipopular nature, incorporate the issue of the Human Development Bonus.

The first thing Lenin Moreno said in announcing his economic package is that he will not raise the Value Added Tax (today 12%) as expected by statements by officials of the same government.

The rising price of fuels has a strong impact on the cost of various services and products. Fuel up, everything up! It has been one of the aspects denounced and agitated upon in the mobilisations.

  1. The social response to the economic package was immediate. The guilds of the carriers announced a national strike, which began on Thursday, October 3. This declaration put the popular struggle on a new level: the repression of the masses came to the surface, the streets were taken over by the young people, the indigenous people, workers, women, residents of neighbourhoods and popular areas, merchants, and peasants. The government responded with threats and violent repression; On the first day there were about 300 detainees, several injured, a partner lost his eye due to the impact of a teargas projectile. The state of emergency was declared and the threats of the defence minister increased. The Army has taken to the streets and roads to carry out repression with the police.

The struggle did not stop. On Friday 4 massive actions of the indigenous movement took place in their territories (provinces) and the struggle, mainly of the youth, continued in the cities. The state of exception was overcome with the fight in the streets.

The demands which were  raised are summarised here:

  • Revocation of the decree that eliminates the fuel subsidy;
  • No to labour reforms (until today the government does not send the announced project to the Assembly, and says they continue studying it);
  • Rejection of the eventual increase in transport tariffs, due to the rise in fuel prices.
  • Then the repeal of the state of emergency and the freedom of detainees were incorporated.

In the midst of the protests, the National Strike, which had been decided  months ago by the United Workers Front (FUT) in response to the government’s neo-liberal and anti-popular policy, took hold. From Thursday we launched the slogan of General Strike NOW!

  1. The organised popular movement is acting together. The “National Unitary Collective of Workers, Indigenous, Social and Popular Organisations” (which organised and directed the struggles against the government of Rafael Correa) was reconstituted, in which the main trade union centres, the CONAIE (Confederation of IndigenousNationalities of Ecuador tr.) and its regional bodies, our teachers’ organisations, students, peasants, the Popular Front, and our headquarters.

The Unitary Collective  resolved: to call for general and permanent mobilisation; progressive actions of the indigenous movement, which would take force on October 14 and 15; the FUT would call a national protest day for October 9 and also participate on days 14 and 15; and then define the date of the strike.

 

  1. The development of the events raised the need to immediately call the strike. On Friday afternoon the Unitary Collective decided that the strike will be on Wednesday, October 9.

 

  1. On the same Friday afternoon, the leaders of the carriers lifted the strike based on an agreement with the government to raise the rates of urban, intercantonal and interprovincial transport. It was predictable that such an arrangement would occur. But at the moment, the stoppage of transport is no longer the element that people have on the streets: the fight continues against the rise of fuel prices, against the rise in transport tariffs, against labour reforms, against the policy imposed by the IMF … (At this time, Saturday at noon, the protests of the indigenous movement take place in several provinces with road blocks)

 

  1. From months ago, Correísmo tries to appear as an opponent of the government with supposedly leftist positions; however, its action focuses on the speeches in the National Assembly and some attempts to mobilise people on the street, but their capacity is not great. On Wednesday, October 3, Correísmo requested the resignation of Lenín Moreno and an early call for presidential and parliamentary elections, an approach that has no echo. We set out a slogan that is explained in the speeches and stirred in the streets: “Neither Correa nor Moreno: only the people can save the people.” We do not believe that at this moment we must ask for the resignation or departure of Moreno, there are no conditions for that to happen today.

 

  1. We are in the fight. Our militancy, the organisations we lead, the Popular Unity and the Party flutter their flags in protest. We seek to better position our organisations and mass leaders in these actions with our proposals, with our views. We raise an anti-crisis programme, which proposes to recover resources without affecting the people, with measures such as: the renegotiation of oil contracts, establishment of a 1% tax on the profits of large companies, renegotiation of contracts with private telephone companies, collection of the debts that the big businessmen owe to the treasury; the recovery of money stolen from corruption, both for the overvalued contracts and what was saved in their personal accounts. With measures like these, much more resources could be obtained than what is proposed with the economic package.

 

  1. We raise a unitary discourse, the call to all organisations and all the people to face government policy. We are organising our forces to make October 9 an important day of struggle, the previous days we will also be on the streets, with rallies, street and road closures, organising the banging of pots and pans (cacerolazos), etc.
  2. We have pointed out that the fight does not end with the strike of the 9th, we must continue, and we are discussing in each place how to continue the protest.
  3. Without losing sight of the fact that the main target of the struggle is neo-liberal politics and the Moreno government, along with the aspects mentioned above in the fighting platform, we incorporate in our speech:
  • That the Right has always been in favour of the elimination of fuel subsidies; now apparently they oppose its elimination for electoral calculations (the main heads of the right, Jaime Nebot, of the Christian Social Party, and Guillermo Lasso, of Creo say that other measures should be taken).
  • The repressive apparatus that has acted with brutality was assembled and trained during the Rafael Correa Government; the vehicles and the instruments used were also bought during Correísmo.
  • Condemn the declarations of the defence minister, his threats and qualifications to the protest as an action of criminal groups.

There is a new mood between the masses of workers and the people. As we pointed out at the beginning of this information, there has been an “uncovering” in this repression that has existed for years, in which people were afraid to fight in the streets because of the way in which Correism carried out repression. Today, thousands of workers, youth, indigenous people, women are fighting in the street, regaining confidence in their own organisation and struggle. We are glad that this is happening in this way, and that we have direct responsibility for the recovery of the popular movement. We are in the front row of the fight, fulfilling our political responsibility.

Central Committee Secretariat

Marxist Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador

Quito, October 5, 2019



Categories: Ecuador, International

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