Ecuador: The Criminalization of Social Struggle

Ecuadorian indigenous people protesting against the privitization of water on Sept. 30th, the so-called "police coup" or "coup in Ecuador" by Brezhnevites

One of the characteristics of the government of Rafael Correa is the criminalization of social protest, whose content comes from rules created during the military dictatorship in the 60’s and which are reinforced by a very close to the definition of terrorism expressed by the FBI, organism for which a person commits this crime or any organization interested in influencing state policies through any action that breaks the ordinary process of endless paperwork with which the State is able to stop any possibility of change. From that vision, the State appears as the alleged victim of an active social expression, even though the state supposedly represents the whole of that company or, as we say in the language of government, “the homeland and is for everyone.”

“Do not believe the romantic environmentalists, anyone who opposes the development of the country is a terrorist.” That sentence was pronounced Rafael Correa in a national strike in protest at Dayuma on December 1, 2007, at the beginning of his administration. The “development” is set as the indisputable objective, but: What development? Who decides? What for whom or what social class? This goes in the debate and break any sense of democracy, the government has put all key decisions in one person: the president. So, who does not think like the President, is someone who opposes the “development” of the country and therefore can be treated as a terrorist.

The legal basis to which the government has used is the Revised Penal Code by the military dictatorship in 1965. The reform of the dictatorship included a chapter “Crimes of sabotage and terrorism.” These crimes include the cessation of health services (imprisonment of one to five years), destruction, damage, cancellation, interruption or stoppage of public services (eight to twelve years), the affect the collection, production, transportation, storage or distribution of raw materials (imprisonment of one to three years), the terrorist attack against public officials or their property (three to six years) and the terrorist threat (imprisonment from three months to one year). This text was included in the 1971 codification made by the last dictatorship of Velasco Ibarra and remains until today, under the shadow of the National Security Doctrine imposed by imperialism in Latin American countries as a mechanism to suppress social dissent.

Moreover, the President sent to the National Assembly a draft penal code reform (trade DPR-O-10-81, July 9, 2010) posed to increase the penalty for traffic disruption to a minimum of two years (it was one) and a maximum of three years. Thus, social mobilization in the streets intended to be prevented and unknown as a means of expression and participation of broad sections of people who do not find ways of expression in the battered and reduced mechanisms contained in the Constitution and boycotting in practice, especially when the simple difference leads to attacks using even the national chains. With the government’s proposal, the same punishment he would close a road in a protest that a torturer, but Correa calls for expanding the penalties for torturers.

Such sanctions break a street demonstration to disrupt traffic, is more effective to have tens of years a state of emergency, such as those against the people fighting today in some Arab countries.

It is easy to see that all these measures were and are used against the popular sectors. Facto power groups have other mechanisms of expression and participation, which are “neither terrorism or sabotage, but are crucial to the life of a country like ours.

The government of Rafael Correa, also used Article 230 of the Penal Code and hardly had used other constitutional governments, even the most liberal. The offending article Merchandisers with threats, feigned or insulting the President of the Republic, an obsession that is expressed to the extent that the proper expulsion of U.S. Ambassador after the unveiling of the cables by Wikileaks, it argues more for the dignity of President and less for national dignity, which is what really matters from a perspective of sovereignty.

The government position is clearly visible in the very fact of having, according to various estimates, with about 286 accused of terrorist crimes (Vanguard magazine and sabotage, approximately 189 of them belonging to indigenous peoples, says the CONAIE. So far this year, the news has highlighted other facts in which mentioned only a few:

– Seven villagers of Cochapata Region Nabón have been convicted of terrorism and sabotage to 8 years in prison for opposing the open-pit mining in the county. This despite having received amnesty in the Constituent Assembly in 2008, it has not taken effect.

– The president of the FEUE, Marcelo Rivera, a political prisoner of the current regime, was illegally transferred to the prison in Lago Agrio in retaliation for the hunger strike the prisoners carried out, as a measure of opposition to the dismissal of the Director of Prison No. 2, Criminal Ex García Moreno. (March 11) and seeks to extend his sentence

– No files, despite ending time for the tax inquiry, the trial against the leader Lina Solano Ortiz, by the Corriente Resources mining company.

– The arrest on charges of sabotage and terrorism Acaro Pepe, Pedro Mashiant and Fidel Kaniras, leaders of the Shuar, who raised the indigenous movement in the country. Were released lego a judge declared that his detention was illegal.

– January 18, repression Mejía college students to protest against the announcement of unpopular economic measures and the police entered the school.

– Detention by the police to young people and Santiago Jairo Erazo Faris, NTU students who today Wednesday, March 30, were arrested for expressing their rejection of the use of university facilities for the President to proselytizing Si in the query.

– In Machala, Mark Sovenis Quinto, 31, claims to have been violently assaulted by the Presidential Escort because he said “fascist” at the head of state.

– Judgement authors of “Big Brother” started in March.

– Closure of Radio Canela Morona, in April.

All this expresses several contradictions in the discourse and practice of government: first, to the Constitution in Article 98 recognizes the right of resistance on the other, with Amnesty that the Constituent Assembly decided in March 2008 for about 600 fighters holding “that people have been prosecuted in the need to exercise the right to claim in defense of natural resources and to achieve a dignified life in an ecologically sound and free of pollution (…) and that mobilization actions and claims of communities are essentially political and social demands. ”

In this situation of terror and intimidation that comes from the executive, joins the bill to amend the rule on Public Security and State, and allows the armed forces to intervene in “internal security and maintaining control of order”, under the President’s command. Again, the aim is a permanent state of emergency but hidden under other laws.

A government that bases its legitimacy on state violence, the use of legal mechanisms to suppress and the Armed Forces in the streets, little can talk about democracy, let alone socialism. It is, however, a government seeking social discipline in terms of submission and obedience to the orders and official views.

If I could the government take over the judicial system (beyond the control now visible) through consultation, it is obvious to think that the situation for the popular sectors is difficult. And we must insist that it is for the popular sectors, because not one “hairy” is on trial for terrorism and sabotage.

Fortunately, history shows that Ecuador and measures do not stop the organized people who has victoriously faced dictatorships overthrown government and full implementation of the “state of emergency.” On the contrary, such measures raise the outrage and already we are seeing now that Rafael Correa rejections received in various parts of the country, despite the controls and security that comes with it.

Communist Party of Spain (Marxist-Leninist)

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