Communiqué from La Vía Campesina denounces the dissolution of democratic institutions in Ecuador, coupled with a recent decree on terrorism and the military supporting the President.
(Bagnolet, May 20, 2023) The peasant, indigenous, landless, women and workers’ organizations that are part of the international movement La Via Campesina around the world warn with great concern about the current context in Ecuador, marked by a serious political crisis, accompanied by a deep economic and social crisis, with high levels of violence by criminal groups, the State and the sectors of power that continue looting the people.
On Wednesday, May 17, the president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso signed executive decree 741, which establishes the dissolution of the National Assembly. This in the midst of the political trial opened against him for accusations of embezzlement. The decree also calls for early general elections within 90 days.
As La Via Campesina we are concerned about the fact that this mechanism known as “mutual death,” although included in the Constitution since 2008, received full support of the Armed Forces and the Police before there had been any official pronouncement from the Constitutional Court.
On the other hand, we raise the alarm about a serious threat to democracy, because although the mechanism of “mutual death” is a constitutional tool, its implementation in a scenario of anti-democracy can be dangerous.
As peasant organizations we demand that for as long as this process lasts, president Lasso refrains from deepening Neoliberalism, extractivism, the privatization of basic services, the handover of natural goods — oil, mining, the radio-electrical spectrum — to transnational corporations. We need decrees that address the urgent demands of working-class urban and rural sectors instead of catering to corporate groups. We strongly reject every type of concession and privatization of public assets.
As a movement present worldwide, we call on our member organizations, allies and multilateral institutions to remain alert to the events in Ecuador. We must ensure transparent elections, stand in defense of democracy in the country and the continent, denounce the imperialist and interventionist practices of the US and demand all proceedings are executing according to the law.
We call to:
- Respond immediately to the serious social crisis that Ecuador is also facing, with high rates of hunger and malnutrition in children, poverty, migrations, unemployment of almost half of the population, lack of investment in health and education and an out of control level of violence and insecurity due to criminal gangs.
- Pay special attention to the peasant sector, those who feed the country, the montubio people, Afro-descendants and indigenous people, as well as the artisanal fisher-folk who are indebted to the banks, slaves in their territories, who also suffer assault, kidnapping, extortion and assassinations, coupled with the complete disregard of the State. All the while, the corporate, agribusiness and banking sector, aligned with the Lasso administration and other political sectors, enjoy shamefully high profit rates as the main beneficiaries of the corruption that plagues Ecuador.
- Respect the political rights of the progressive members of the National Assembly, acknowledge the militant and political trajectory of comrade José Agualsaca and offer him our support, as historic leader of the FEI – Confederación de Pueblos y Organizaciones Indígenas Campesinas del Ecuador and current assembly member who already several months ago had offered his seat in defense of the governance of the country.
- Endorse the democratic processes of indigenous, student and workers’ organizations, respecting the freedom of assembly and association to launch local assemblies, in the understanding that democracy is at its core the people, organized and fighting for their rights.
- Ensure a transparent electoral process that does not censor the participation and candidacies of any sector; demand that the National Electoral Council restructure the Provincial Electoral Boards for a more democratic conformation and that intermediate, provincial and national computing centres are audited.
- Coordinate a progressive and popular process of unity, engaging all the sectors of the left, parties, organizations and movements in Ecuador for the elections called for August 2023; a process able to address the most affected sectors of society as indicated in the 2008 Constitution and its humanistic and anti-capitalist spirit; a Constitution that also acknowledges the peasantry as a subject of rights, a priority in public policy, and Food Sovereignty as a strategic objective of the State for a true revolution in rural areas.
We call to join the national collective work to rebuild a multicultural, fair and sovereign Ecuador!
Photographs National Strike Ecuador, June 2022. Edu León.