rn: Rebellion against IMF in Ecuador!


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

Here is important news we are unlikey to get via the mass media. It's the
first I have heard of this uprising, so I will want to get more news in
order to understand better what it is all about. 

In the meantime, I would like to quote to you a UNICEF figure, which shows
us how serious things are in what the West calls the "Third World":

"In 1981, the net transfer of resources from rich to poor worlds was over
$40 billion. By 1985 the position had been almost reversed." I am not sure
what the figures are now, but I am quite, quite sure that the net transfer
would still be in the bank/corporate/"First World"'s favour.

all the best, Jan
PS For those who would like more information, there is a message in French
and Spanish which I could forward to them.
From: •••@••.•••
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 19:11:59 GMT
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: (en) Equador -- Revolta contra FMI / against IMF
Cc: •••@••.•••, •••@••.•••, •••@••.•••,

From: "Nathan Newman" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: FW: Insurrection in Ecuador -- first news
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 

Doug, I received this, so I'm forwarding it. -- Nathan


Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2000 4:41 PM
Subject: Insurrection Against Neo-Liberalism in Ecuador

PGA Action at WTO Seattle - http://members.aol.com/pgacaravan

-- please spread widely --

Dear All,

I just received this fwd message coming from Ecuador saying that there are
currently mass protests going on against the dramatic situation in a
country that has suffered neoliberal exploitation and that "the revolution
is starting".

I was sceptic, so I picked up the phone and phoned an organisation called
"Accion Ecologica" whose phone number I had just received recently. I had
the chance to speak to someone who is the representative of this
organisation at the alternative parliament who is currently debating a
strategy for the coming days. He said that the mobilisations have started
progressively in the last days already and that several cities are already
"taken". He said the large mobilisation for Quito (the capital) is going to
be for Monday and Tuesday. He said at least 40.000 indigenas are expected
to come into the city, but the mobilisation involve many sectors of
society. He said also that international observers are expected to come in
the next days and that they hope that from then on the news will be spread
internationaly. So far the state controlled media has been promoting non
stop lies about how wonderful the neoliberal policies have been in the last
years. Nobody believes it anymore. As I asked him if this was a struggle
for power, for taking control of the governement, he said no, it's a
Poeples Power, there is a Poeples assembly who works in a complicated
system of representation [I didn't understand everything in this short
phone call].

Infrastructure for communication is being set up, there is a press
commission that has been created (comision de prensa) by the Peoples
Assembly. I asked him also if they were afraid of repression and he said he
hoped the international support would be able to avoid it.
We are likely to get more information in the next days and clarification on
what kind of "revolution" this is. So stay tuned ! Most of the information
is likely to be in Spanish, so if there are people willing to help doing
spanish-english translations (or spanish to any other language) please
contact me:

and also


Hasta la victoria !!  Our resistance is as transnational as capital !!


The following is - a fwd letter sent by Spanish students currently in
Ecuador. This is a rough translation I did, feel free to correct the
English.  - an pasted article from August 99 which gives a good insight
into the situation in Ecuador

To everyone getting this information:

This is a text that was fwd by companher@s from Barcelona which are
currently in Ecuador for motives related to their studies and are currently
assisting to probably one of the most encouraging news of the millennium.
Please distribute this message as wide as you can and organise yourself to
find ways of supporting peoples struggle in Ecuador.


Dear companher@s

Ecuador is very close to a national revolution y it is currently necessary
to do solidarity actions in support of this peoples movement who aims to
put an end to neoliberal economic exploitation which has lead to the
current crisis.
We are some students from UAB (university) in the country y we see the
urgent necessity to create a platform of international support in order to
prevent a indiscriminate repression of this popular movement.

We ask you:
1.- to spread this information through as many ways as possible
2.- that you send us contacts for the spreading of further communiques  to:
3.- That people take initiative to coordinate platforms at continental and
national level  4.- it is necessary to create a network that will reach
mass media and alternative media. It is possible that United States may
react with repression in case this popular movement succeeds in his attempt
to overthrow the power
5.- We are currently waiting for a document with the strategy that is
discussed at the Parlament of Ecuatorian People (a rebel parlament), which
will be a document of international strategy addressed to all movements of
the world, NGOs etc. We ask you to create the necessary conditions for such
a network to function.

General Situation in the Country

The economic, social and political crisis that Ecuador has been going
through in the last years has been worsening dramatically in the last

As a matter of fact since Jamil Mahuad came into power, the sucre (national
currency) has only been losing acquisition power compared to the dollar:
the price of the dollar has doubled since 1999 (is it 25000 sucres for a
dollar now)
For the minority of people, those who have acquisition power and a bank
account, this means that their bank accounts have been frozen. They cannot
withdraw money from their accounts for the banks not to collapse.

And for the majority of people who live in misery, this means that basic
good of consumption have become very expensive. Besides that the social
conditions have never been so restricted, there is basicaly no kind of
social service. As a response to this situation the government of president
Mahuad opted for a dollarisation of the economy.

Peoples reaction is lead by the movement of the indigenous people and
several unions [and students - editor] that want a total change in the
structure of the State. They want to get rid of the three powers of the
State and put a Peoples Governement in place (Gobierno Popular).

There has been a call to popular insurrecion and a national strike which
will start on the 15th January with a take over of Quito (the capital).
Meetings in the Parliament of Ecuadorian Peoples have been going on for
three days.

This alternative parliament includes representatives of many (not all)
social movements of the country (indigenous movement, church, unions, etc.)
and is currently defining a new policy for the country in all fields.

They pretend to reinitiate national production, cancelling the external
debt and stop the neoliberal exploitation of the resources, etc..
end of message
The following website willbe available for more information



Four Hundred Arrested, Thirteen Shot: IMF and Ecuadorian government provoke
violent reaction

Four months after a crisis provoked by an IMF inspired structural
adjustment plan, the country is again in the grips of the multi-lateral
organisation. This time the social convulsions, which were provoked by a
another rise in fuel prices, have been confronted in repressive fashion.
Five more people were shot yesterday as they tried to march from
Guallabamba, a small town 40 kilometres north of Quito, to the capital to
protest the impacts of the economic measures introduced during the past six
months. In Latacunga, a town of about 500,000 one hour to the south of the
capital, indigenous groups which had been closing roads, charged a military
vehicle full of troops on Saturday night. The vehicle turned tail and fled.
On Sunday the native people were not so lucky, eight were shot as they
confronted the military attempting to keep the road open. One later died.
The protests and the indigenous uprising have been brought about by the
severity of the economic measures taken to supposedly pull Ecuador out of
its economic plight. The now discredited IMF recipe of provoking inflation
and removing subsidies in order to balance the budget has been applied
without relief since the effects of the global economic crisis hit Latin
America late last year. The dollar has risen by almost 100% against the
local currency, the Sucre, since beginning of the year, food costs have
risen by about 70%, gas, electricity, gasoline, diesel, and water costs
have all risen substantially, and all this before the latest round of
transport fuel cost rises, provoked by indexation to the dollar. In the
meantime the basic salary (a form of minimum wage) has been raised by an
insulting 30%.

The taxi drivers hit back first, blocking roads and demanding that fuel
prices be reduced to their pre- June levels and frozen for two years. They
blocked roads and brought the cities to a standstill. Indigenous groups
throughout the central mountain region have joined them in an uprising
which has blocked roads, occupied state electricity offices and taken
control of communications towers. Indigenous areas are amongst the poorest
in the country and the native population, which has been badly affected by
the privatisation and globalisation agenda, is calling their actions a
fight for life, and against hunger.

Meanwhile, teachers and medical workers who have not been paid in months
have also joined the strike, along with banana workers, bus and transport
workers and even informal sellers. Whole neighbourhoods have taken over
roads in an attempt to convince the government to change course. And in the
latest of a series of actions, the offices of the Catholic Church,
criticised as pro-government, have been occupied by a number of social
groups intent on emphasising their demands that the neoliberal policies
being applied to the country be changed. Ironically, the police, charged
with repressing the demonstrations, also find themselves unpaid and without
funds to ward off their own creditors.

Part of the government's answer has been to declare a general state of
emergency, endowing the President with extraordinary powers to control the
state budget, and to order military intervention wherever and whenever he
pleases. Congress, in which the government does not have the majority, is
outspokenly opposed and will probably fight the measure, although it should
be pointed out that the majority of members are also neo-liberals (or at
best the more apologetic Blair style third wayers) and simply jockeying for
power.  The other part of the strategy has been to create diversionary
tactics. Jailing a corrupt banker and paying the people whose savings were
locked up in the now officially bankrupt bank (one of Ecuador's largest).
On the other hand an overwhelming silence has surrounded the accusation
that the majority of high government officials took their money out of the
country (apparently some $200 million) a little while before all bank
accounts were frozen in March of this year.

Whether these officials, and other corrupt bankers, will ever be
investigated and brought to trial is a major question. But perhaps more
important in the long run, both for Ecuador and other countries in the
region, is whether it will be possible to find a way out of the neoliberal
export lead growth trap in which Ecuador finds itself, given that this
model favours the governing elite which controls almost all political
parties. The fact that it needs to is not in question. The country has only
gone backwards in economic terms since the debt crisis of the early
eighties, and finds itself porting increasing amounts of primary material,
only to watch prices fall or at best fluctuate wildly on markets over which
it has no control. The cost in terms of concentration of land, power and
wealth is huge. The cost in terms of the environmental and social impacts
related to finding and pumping more oil, growing more flowers, farming more
shrimp, and growing more bananas are devastating a country which is defined
by its cultural and natural diversity. (spanish)


From: •••@••.•••
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000  Subject: Re: Ecuador

As far as I can see off the Reuters, the country is in a pretty bad way,
but not very much worse than Mexico in '94 and certainly not as bad as it
got in Asia (Russia is another matter).  This is exactly the sort of time
when the government ought to be keeping its head when all around it are
losing theirs, and agreeing a deal -- any deal -- with the IMF, to try to
get some sort of finance and let the external balance take the strain.

Instead, they seem to be going ahead with a mad dollarisation plan -- does
anyone know if Steve Hanke is in the area?  The PetroEcuador strike seems
to be related to this plan, which is not exactly calculated to help the
worst-off in society.  They're demanding the president's resignation, but
if Mexico is a precedent, they'll settle for money.

The thing that seems mad to me is that Ecuador has announced reserves of
US$1.28bn (up 2.5%).  As an import cover figure, I'd have thought that was
about 3 or 4 months -- as a money supply for the whole country, it looks
woefully inadequate.

On the other hand, assuming that they manage to do a deal with PetroEcuador
that keeps the oil flowing, this could very well be the lowest ebb which is
the turn of the tide -- Camdessus has just been on the wire saying that the
dollarisation idea, while mad, won't jeopardise the EFF.  The protests
could get nasty, as they are basically organised by the indigenous
population, so they can't expect anything like fair or even sane treatment
by the police.  But in macroeconomic terms, I don't see them as a force.

The boys chatting on "bradynet.com" don't seem to be worrying unduly, and
indeed don't think that dollarisation will happen: