Two steps forward, one step back – is that improvement in a nutshell? Half a revolution in Ecuador?

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The people of Ecuador, a diverse crowd of indigenous nationalities, communities, tribes, mestizos, colonos, and old fashioned gentlemen and lady’s with Panamas, yesterday voted overwhelmingly in favour of a constituent assembly – popularly called the asamblea constituyente:

Asamblea Nacional Constituyente Plurinacional y Popular


Quito, 15 de marzo del 2007

Nuestra declaración es una voz colectiva que recoge el sentir de las organizaciones sociales, de los movimientos políticos, de las mujeres y hombres comprometidos con la transformación social y la liberación de nuestra Patria. Expresa la convicción de que es la hora de construir una sociedad justa, libre y soberana.”

Early Sunday evening the result was beyond dispute:

“An exit poll by CEDATOS-Gallup showed that 78.1 percent of voters approved the election of a constitutional assembly while 11.5 percent rejected the proposal and 10.4 spoiled their ballots or cast blank ones.” (AP)

So far so good; and well done Correa & Co. Good choice!

With such wind in the sails, Correa announced that the IMF can stuff it! Two days ago Venezuela rejected an IMF report, and Correa joined in on the chorus:

Check out what he said….

On Wednesday he stated that the new Bank of the South, a regional fund being created with the joint efforts of Venezuela, Ecuador and Argentina, would end the region’s subjection to the control of the IMF and World Bank.

“They want to put us on our knees so that the IMF and the World Bank will give us funding,” said Correa. “That is the new way of subduing countries. Now they don’t need aircraft carriers or bombers, only dollars.”

Soon after the result was obvious Sunday night, the announcement began circulating that:

“In a news conference in the port city Guayaquil, Rafael Correa said it was a “happy coincidence” that Ecuador made the $9 million payment to the “international bureaucracy” the same week fellow leftist country Venezuela said it had paid off its remaining debt with the IMF and World Bank.

“We don’t want to hear anything more from that international bureaucracy,” Correa said, brushing off suspicions that “we are imitating brother nation Venezuela.”

When he took office three months ago, Correa, a U.S.-trained economist, vowed to renegotiate the country’s $16.4 billion foreign debt and direct resources to programs to help the poor.

Correa, a staunch ally of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, has frequently criticized the “unacceptable conditions” of IMF loans, and said Sunday that the institution has “been harmful for the country.”

Two steeps forward there for Ecuador and whatever potential that conventional democratic processes have.

But Ecuador remains in a backwards motion as well. Oil, more and more oil – the solution for Ecuador and a necessity for Brasil – and a general trend of the global market economy. The forest must die and improvement must be found in roads, airports and plastic factories.

Probably, then, leaving us only with one (is that two?) question(s): to which degree can the environmentalist networks of Ecuador’s civil society influence the constituent assembly, or can the “Collective Bio-Cultural Heritage” of the indigenous peoples be enshrined in Ecuador’s (hopefully to emerge) rewritten constitution?

What values and cosmovisions will be reflected in the document?

What practices will be codified, how will desires and struggles be articulated?

A vast set of socio-politically complex processes awaits the country and the delegates when they have been found through election.

Once there is a document it will be up to political scientists and bureaucrats to firstly analyse it, then interpret in their particular interest group’s favour. Round #2 of the scheming and pushing and shoving.

Perhaps then we’re back at square one? Political games and economic manipulation? In any case, there are lessons, useful ones, to be had – this is a revolution, not the kind that you might dream of where everything is turned upside down, –they might happen with a feudal King that you can kill and install anew– instead this is a revolution like the French one: a middle class and essentially capitalist revolution. Capitalism Light (TM). Revolution from above.

With a smile on my lips I sit back and envision a revolution from below………


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