The IMF's re-invasion of Latin America
The announcement by the government of Ecuador that Julian Assange was going to be expelled from their embassy caught some people by surprise.
But if you were following Ecuadorian news, you would have expected something like this based on an important event that happened just three weeks earlier.
Ecuador’s passionate re-embrace of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) offers one of the clearest and most dramatic signs that the country’s leadership is dead-set on shedding any vestiges of the “post-neoliberal” era it was said to have entered a decade ago during former President Rafael Correa’s Citizens’ Revolution.
The warmth displayed by authorities over the past month to visiting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and a team from the IMF, respectively, further proves that Ecuador is melting back into the arms of international financial interests. Yet, despite authorities’ almost apologetic attitude toward foreign capital over the spats and breakups of the past, the people of Ecuador appear destined to suffer further abuse at the hands of the domestic and transnational capitalist interests that inflicted such grievous harm on it in the past.
Pence’s visit to the Andean nation last month to meet with President Lenin Moreno offered one such occasion for the groveling attitude the once-proud government of Ecuador has adopted toward the U.S. and IMF. It comes amid the rolling reversal of fortunes faced by the wave of left-nationalist social democratic governments that rose in response to the devastation wrought by U.S.-dictated neoliberalism.
To get $4 Billion in loans, Ecuador agreed to "tax reductions and exemptions for foreign investors for up to 15 years, as well as exemptions for all new investments on paying the tax on currency sent abroad." The measure insures austerity for the poor.
Former President Rafael Correa had a few choice words about the IMF loan.
But the former head of state said he later took the real measure of the “betrayal,” when members of Alianza Pais were probed on corruption charges, governing and using “political power to favor private interests” while “taking away subsidies for the poorest.” “This is the real corruption,” he added.
As for the economic policies, Correa said they were “a disaster.”
If it was just Ecuador that would be one thing, but the IMF is doing a full-court press against any non-neoliberal policies in South America.
It all started with Honduras in 2010.
After the Coup d’état (June, 2009) and in the government of “Pepe” Lobo (2010-2013) the IMF signed a programme of economic adjustment for 18 months, basically oriented to stabilizing public finances, and reactivating the country’s economy.
Among the actions framed in this neoliberal model supported by the IMF, the following stand out: a) The approval of the Law of Hourly Employment, that makes work more precarious and weakens social conquests and union organizations; b) A new Law of Education that crushes teachers’ organizations, freezes the achievements of the Teachers’ Statute and facilitates the process of privatization of education in Honduras; c) The Law of Public-Private Alliances (APP) that facilitates the surrender of goods, services and resources of the State to the private sector, without clear benefits of such deals.
In recent years the IMF has admitted that these neoliberal policies don't work.
And yet the IMF continues to force neoliberal austerity on nations.
It's as if the objectives of the IMF aren't economic progress and development at all. That maybe their objectives are simply to obey the ruling elite while they pillage and exploit working class people around the globe.
If there was still any confusion, check out Argentina (again).
Thousands have taken to the streets in Argentina to make their voices heard during a visit by Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who is in Buenos Aires attending a meeting of G20 finance ministers.
They are protesting austerity measures by the government of President Mauricio Macri.
They fear the economic situation will deteriorate further as the government tries to fulfil the terms of the $50bn loan it took from the IMF.
The people of Argentina know what an IMF loan means. So, like clockwork, the Argentinian economy collapses with neoliberal policies.
Argentina’s economy shrank 5.8 percent in May versus the same month last year, government statistics agency Indec said on Tuesday, the second straight month of declines in a sign of looming recession and a possible GDP contraction in 2018.
Just like in 2001, the IMF cash comes flooding in, and the wealthy immediately send that money to overseas tax havens.
The debt of the IMF loan remains on the working class.