Ecuador government flees angry anti-IMF protests
Ecuador’s president, Lenín Moreno, and the rest of the government has fled the capital of Quito to the coastal city of Guayaquil.
The president said that allies of his predecessor Rafael Correa had infiltrated protests against increases in fuel prices in a bid to topple his government.
“They are the ones behind this coup attempt,” Moreno said, without providing evidence. “The looting, vandalism and the violence show that here there is an organized political intention to destabilize the government and break the democratic order.”
In a tweet, Juan Guiadó, Venezuela’s self-proclaimed interim leader, accused a “group financed by [Nicolás] Maduro’s accomplices” of fuelling unrest, echoing conspiracy accusations against Guiadó’s socialist rival for the Venezuelan presidency made by Moreno.
The reasons for the angry protests are extremely simple - the people are rebelling against the IMF takeover of their government that Moreno agreed to without any popular input.
Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno has declared a national state of emergency following mass protests across the country against his neo-liberal economic reforms.
Many believe that the harsh reforms are a direct result of Ecuador's $4.2 billion loan deal with the IMF. pic.twitter.com/MbiUWAGzKc
— redfish (@redfishstream) October 4, 2019
The IMF agreement requires the government to make sweeping cuts the federal budget – equivalent to about 6 percent of GDP over the next three years, and that's just the start.
The resulting IMF loan agreement not only structurally undermines labour protections for the most vulnerable workers in Ecuador (see Observer Spring 2017), but also side-lines our democratic and participatory institutions constitutionally mandated to deal with these crises.
Cuts in public spending were also announced, with mass public-sector lay-offs planned. Did they really think the people of Ecuador would take this lying down?
As a stooge of the IMF, Moreno has responded with an iron-fist.
Faced with a backlash to these elite-friendly measures, Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno decreed a state of emergency that suspends the constitution for 60 days, removes the right to free assembly, allows for the censoring of the media and employs the armed forces to maintain order.
Then, neoliberal assaults on living standards created such political volatility that seven presidents came and went in just 10 years. A number were forced from office by powerful street protests.
Stability only returned to Ecuador when socialist Rafael Correa became president in 2007. His progressive alternative not only ended the economic crisis and achieved incredible reductions in poverty and inequality but secured 14 consecutive election victories.
That success was achieved by ripping up the IMF rule book. A regular theme in Correa’s speeches was that “people must prevail over capital and society must prevail over the market.”
This was Ecuador just two years ago.
First Moreno invented a bunch of bogus charges against Correa.
Then came the IMF loan.
This was followed almost immediately by betraying Assange.
Then came the drastic austerity.
Now the people are saying that they've had enough.