Correa’s Idiosyncracies, Ecuador’s Collectivities & Pachamama at Winter Solstice

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There has been a lot of talk around the world and colonos even get emails from students studying the “very interesting environmental aspect” of the new Ecuadorian Constitution, which gives (human rights-like) rights to Pachamama, which is an Andean (and in some part of the Amazon) term for Mother Earth. (It is derived from Aymara and Quechua.)

Inside Ecuador, however, there is a growing resistance to the project of Correa’s government, largely due to a lack of environmental sensitivity as perceived by the social movements – the environment is systematically subordinated to capital interest – and a lacking recognition of collective rights. Indeed, the new constitution stresses the sacred nature of private property, as has previously been quoted in a post in this blog about the ways in which the constitution was presented in a misleading (half arsed) manner by The Guardian (which should be an autogenerated links below if we’re lucky!?).

In other words, there is a large discrepancy between how foreigners, especially opportunist socialists and social-democracts, perceive and, importantly, choose to represent the politrix of Rafael Correa and his government and how social movements, from peasants through urban anarchists to the people of Amazonia, perceive and resist the programmes of Correa.

As noted again and again – central to much of the criticism we’ve been on about all along – the new constitution also weds Ecuador to the IIRSA project, which is a World Bank project for the integration of infrastructures in Latin America to make it easier for global capitalism to move resources (out), goods (in), labour (around) and people (out if they complain) for the purposes of profit maximisation, asphaltation, bridge building hysteria and river way raping. The Ecuadorian part of IIRSA is first and foremost the Manta-Manaus/Manaos corridor or node in the IIRSA network of commodity trails that threaten to severely further disfigure the Andes and put an end to the world’s largest rain forest, the Amazon or Amazonia.

Anyway, there are a few current articles that make for interesting reading to keep up to date on the Ecuadorian developments, led by the idiosyncratic Correa:

According to several current and former officials, Correa often makes impulsive decisions in isolation and is reluctant to listen to dissenting views.

“This government is all about Correa and he has closed all space for debate, leading many of us no choice but to leave,” said a close ally who still supports Correa but quit a top post over policy disagreements. “He is ending up alone surrounded only by people who tells him what he wants to hear.“”

Another article deals with financial issues, such as dollarization and the price of oil and how it all hangs together from the perspective of (wanker) financial science:

“Ecuador needs an oil price of $95 to cover all the spending in its budget, according to Barclays. The government had a surplus of $508 million in the first half of the year, Correa said Sept. 20.

“Correa’s only choice for growing the economy is the public sector,” said Bernal at Bulltick. “The lower the price of oil goes, the more the need for Correa to deliver on the fiscal front. Ecuadoreans will only live with Correa as long as they have expectations of growth.”

Then a really useful overview of things provided by an uncommon bed fellow of colonos, Socialist Worker:

“A MORE serious conflict is developing over government environmental policies that benefit mining companies. To crack down on anti-mining protests, Correa has ordered the use of brutal military force, a move bitterly condemned by the social movements.

Even Correa own coalition, Alianza País, is having internal contradictions. Recently, he issued a warning by declaring that he will dissolve the party if more internal infighting continues. He also took the opportunity to define his political project as “an ideological project of the nationalist left.”

But Correa’s nationalism is in opposition to indigenous people’s conception of their own nation, one that stretches across national boundaries from the Amazon to the Andean region. To the extent that indigenous people assert their historic claims to their lands, they are seen as a political threat by both multinational corporations and Correa.

The stakes in this conflict were raised on October 12–Columbus Day, traditionally seen as day of resistance by the indigenous peoples of the Americas. In neighboring Colombia, indigenous groups staged a levantamiento (uprising) to protest government repression and demand more cultural and political rights. The uprising in Colombia inspired indigenous people and their allies throughout the region–including in Ecuador.”

There is also a short piece on Plan Colombia, which is part of the War on Drugs by the Evil Empire and therefore, one might hope, will face some sort of reforms under Obama bin Ltd., and, then, finally some sort of list by Reuter’s, who as usual has been pasting capitalistic-financial propaganda about all the horrible and out of order things anyone left of Henry Kissinger might dare to think or, God help it, act. Just read it in the inverse, as it were 🙂

Happy Winter Solstice!



6 thoughts on “Correa’s Idiosyncracies, Ecuador’s Collectivities & Pachamama at Winter Solstice

    z said:
    Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 07:02 (335)

    So what do you think of these types of projects,
    where outsiders acquire lands from the government rather than giving it back to the government? In the United States, the organizations buy conservation lands and then sell them back to the government (usually cheaper). There are private stewardship projects in the US too, which for hunting type folk could be considered collective and culturally specific…. What do you think the effects of these different kinds of projects could have in terms of their strategy when considering your interest in collective rights for indigenous peoples? If you find this boring, just disregard.

    z said:
    Tuesday, December 23, 2008 at 07:10 (340)

    I forgot to mention the funds rec’d by the government have to be used to strengthen biodiversity management. Do you have a problem with this type of outsider involvement in this issue? or do you think all intiatives should come from the people themselves?

    colono responded:
    Thursday, December 25, 2008 at 12:10 (549)

    This is an interesting question!

    It would depend a lot on the specific situation, sometimes it could probably be a good solution, but in general I think it is not a very good solution. There could be conditions attached to the land ownership that would prevent future changes (like conservation for 30 years and then a good offer comes along or some mineral is found and mining begins, for instance), which would make it a little more palatable.

    Our basic “belief” is that collective ownership of large pieces of land is the only sensible foundation for a solution, but it is far from a solution as such, since any collective can treat land worse than a single, private person, obviously.

    When it comes to conservation specifically – where we speak of large pieces of land (parks, valleys, mountains etc.) – it really is a collective issue, whether we treat it like that or not. Mother Earth belongs to all forms of life and all forms of life belongs to Mother Earth and the Universe.

    The idea that individuals can own large pieces of land (or many big houses) is absurd and ridiculous and a total insult to intelligence, but that doesn’t mean that an individual couldn’t do something good – and sometimes do – for and with the land.

    Ideals are one thing, reality is another, but they are not separate – in a way – it will always be important to try to configure reality so that it reflects ideals – and collective landownership of anything bigger than a little garden seems to be the only fair and sensible idea (ideal) to me.

    So, yea, I do have a problem with outsider involvement when it involves private ownership – and there are many other problems potentially with internal management forms, but in the end it depends a lot on the intentions and trajectories of the people and project in question.

    Hope that gives a little bit of an idea…. Thanks for your question! Ask again if this was insufficiently answered!

    Merry Winter Solstice,

    colono responded:
    Friday, December 26, 2008 at 00:14 (051)

    Or of course: no ownership at all

    Z said:
    Monday, December 29, 2008 at 03:59 (208)

    Thanks for answering my question. This is the blog of “the colonos” after all…..This internal management issue I find interesting….concerning plants, animals, people , the abiotic, etc….Concerning the case of the conservation easements for farmers or hunters…I can definately see how individual ownership could be problematic if this environmental stewardship role is overemphasized…For example, in my state conservation easements are seen as collective…..sometimes taxpayers pay for them and benefits are allocated collectively in terms of ecosystem services….however, there are no real solid policies except for housing developments for these “conservation” areas….often these plots are chosen due to their significance in mitigating some issue….however, often their significance is not envisioned comprehensively….there is no true stewardship other than preserving the rural lifeway of selling products to the paper plant which in turn sells to the city office…..sprawl might be stopped….but beyond that…it can always slip through the cracks..aldo leopold’s thoughts on stewardship have sort of been used by tree plantations for their benefit and profit in my state….so yeah you are totally right….and to think about indigenous peoples……collective costs seems to become an issue for them…in having to often choose so called new sustainable alternative incomes….building new types of hierarchies within its not really individual property or stewardship that is the issue its building “an ecological consicousness” and finding a way to do that considering the varied problems and circumstances the collective(s) finds…..would you say that there is a need for stronger biodiversity regulation in some areas? or do you find this problematic or a need for more adaptative policies/political restructuring?

    Carole Anne Carr said:
    Thursday, December 31, 2009 at 14:47 (657)

    Dear Colono,

    I am a children’s author, and am writing an adventure story set at the time of the Winter Solstice. I do admire the image you have on this page, of a wintery Green Man, and wondered if I could use this or if there is copyright involved?

    Sincerely, Carole.

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