Constitutional Politics in Ecuador: Correa and Gutierrez vs. the People.

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In the previous entry the result of the Ecuadorian referendum on Sunday, April 15, 2007, was covered and some implications or potential consequences were suggested. Business as usual was the message in that entry – deliberately clad in vulgar and ambiguous iconography (two wrongs make a left?).

The Two Pawns Sacrifice Line


Now the game commences – not much of a prediction, though, init?

We look to Al Jazeera for a comment….

“This assembly with broad powers could reform the legislative, judicial and even the executive branch,” said Correa.

“Let’s move ahead with this assembly to have a real representative democracy.”

Winning the referendum allows Correa to push ahead with initiatives such as ending the lease on a US military base, re-negotiating oil deals and restructuring the national debt.

In the past he has scared foreign investors with threats to stop making debt payments and promised to cut off contact with the International Monetary Fund.

But some economists predict that investors will welcome Correa’s victory, as strengthening the presidency would mean Ecuador’s leader will feel less pressure to maintain his approval ratings by implementing policies such as slashing debt payments and consequently push Ecuadorean bond prices higher.

Volatile politics

Critics of Correa say he is centralising power around himself and could become too powerful.

But Ecuador’s politics are volatile, the country has seen eight presidents in a decade, three of them toppled by public action, and the landscape could change again by September when another election will be held to select 130 members for the assembly.

Lucio Gutierrez, Ecuador’s former president who was toppled from power by massive street demonstrations in 2005, remains a political influence and has vowed to use the 130-member body against Correa.

“I will defeat him in the assembly,” he said on Ecuadorean television after the exit poll result.

Voting is mandatory for Ecuadoreans and Sunday’s turnout appeared as high as for last year’s presidential election.

Correa had staked his political career on the vote, pledging to resign if he failed to win emphatically.”

………………………………..So there we are, Rafael Correa has won the first round, forcing his opponent, Lucio Gutierrez, and all the wanna-be members of the Asamblea into a new game: constitutional authorship (and therefore control of the subsequent political interpretation power games).

Who can write it, who can make the best alliances with the prospective 130 people to rewrite the constitution. What is effectively possible – how far can the establishment be pushed before the Ghost of Pinochet (Tom Joad is long gone) returns?

It is beyond doubt that Correa is getting on well and pissing of the old elite and moving with the young and the hip (and the U.S. educated – recall Blair? Clinton?). He knows the score and won’t go all extreme, for Correa is a good Christian of the Left, he says. The IMF and the World Bank might have to come to terms with no more money from Venezuela, Ecuador and even Bolivia, but they will find other channels of involvement in the Latin American neo-socialist flavour of global capitalism. The losers, you guessed it! the people and the environment.

With a process promised to hand the power to the people already reduced to a question concerning who can take control of the 130 people assembly (which can only operate for a maximum of 8 months!! anyone who’s been involved with global level public policy processes “may bury your face most deep in your rag, for now is the time for your tears!“) it’s all gone tits up already.

Hate to say I told you so…… Anyway, we carry on….

From the poverty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks,
And the hoof beats pound in his brain.
And he’s taught how to walk in a pack
Shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide ‘neath the hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain’t got no name
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.


3 thoughts on “Constitutional Politics in Ecuador: Correa and Gutierrez vs. the People.

    Paulina said:
    Tuesday, April 17, 2007 at 04:01 (209)

    Comprendo el escepticismo frente una corriente nueva. Pero este artículo está lleno de menosprecio precisamente a la población ecuatoriana. Es indignante que se hable (y sin conocimientos) sólo de un sujeto visible, Correa, y se ignore todos los procesos de base que se llevan dando desde hace algunos años, y con más intensidad desde abril del 2005.
    Este artículo es predecible. Se queda en lo de siempre, en que los malos son muy malos, y que estamos condenados a títeres populistas por incapaces de transformar la realidad.
    Pues por más dificil que resulte creer, afirmo: Sí, en Ecuador sí se está dando una transformación DESDE ABAJO en la que participan los y las ciudadanas.

    […] the first critical comment – a great day for the blog! The same blog entry that brought the visitor number above 3000 also spawned the first critical, almost antagonistic […]

    Luis Davalos said:
    Saturday, June 30, 2007 at 01:41 (111)


    Saludos de el Conejo No pierdas tu tiempo tratando de satisfacer los pensamientos de unos pocos americanos de clase media muy educada. me da pena como no se dan cuenta de la manipulacion de la elite, que de paso no necesito mencionar. El imperialismo yankee esta….. de bajada sabias que su nueva enbajada tiene toda las oiuiffseguridades Imperio Que se jodan…..

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