Social Movements Denounce Violent Repression In Ecuador, Support General Strike

Above photo: Edu Leon/CON, Latin Content Editorial, Getty Images.

NOTE: The Open Letter below is being delivered today to the presidency, vice-presidency, Ministry of the Interior and the National Assembly in Ecuador.

Statement Concerning the National Strike in Ecuador

To the government of the Republic of Ecuador and the national and international community:

We sign this statement to express our deep concern for the events occurring in Ecuador. As professors, students, investigators, artists, activists and companions of diverse social processes, we reject the state of exception and, specifically, the militarization and disproportionate use of police and military force across the country, since the 3 rd of October, 2019. The violence used in social repression has been excessive. Military forces are using rubber and conventional bullets, as well as tear gas. Hundreds of Ecuadorians are wounded, more than 490 have been detained, 12 are missing, and at least two people have died, to-date (October 7th).

Consequently, the Office for South America of the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights has reminded the Ecuadorian government that “the use of force must be applied in exceptional cases.” Popular protest, in the face of drastic economic measures declared by the government, do not enter this category.

We also express our deep concern for the possibility of increasing violence in the following days, which will increase the number of those injured, arrested and killed. These consequences will stem from decisions of President Lenín Moreno to intensify repression all over the country. The militarization of rural territories and the recent entry of war tanks to the city center of Quito indicate that the present situation will only worsen.

As citizens of the world who recognize the principles of universal human rights, we demand that the government of Lenín Moreno halt the state of exception and stop police and military violence. This measure violates the right to protest, as well as the right to gather and transit guaranteed in article 98 of the Constitution. We also demand that the Constitutional Court of Ecuador re-evaluate its decision about this measure.

We reiterate our support for social protest expressed in the streets by diverse popular, indigenous, women, worker, peasant, student, feminist and ecologist organizations and movements confronting neoliberal measures imposed by the government, violating social and labor rights and threatening the economy of popular and middle classes.

Finally, we express our deep solidarity with the families and loved ones of those who have been lost in these protests.

Collective signatures:
Alternautas Blog
Solidaritas Perempuan, Indonesia
Struggle La Lucha, USA
Partido Socialista por la Unidad/Socialist Unity Party, USA
Mujeres en Lucha/Women in Struggle

Individual signatures:
Ndivile Mokoena – South Africa
Alessandra Mezzadri – School of Oriental and African Studies, United Kingdom
Emilie Dupuits – Universidad Internacional del Ecuador
Dinda Yura – Solidaritas Perempuan, Indonesia
Barbara Goldstein- Birkbeck College, University of London
Krystian Szadkowski – Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań Poland.
Alexandra Delgado, Ed.D student University of Liverpool
Tracey Osborne, University of Arizona, USA
Flora Lu, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
Brent Metz, University of Kansas, USA
Rosaleen Howard, Newcastle University, UK
Leslie Salgado, Friends of Latin America, USA
Theresa Reuter, Baltimore, MD, USA
Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance, MD, USA
Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance, MD, USA
Sharon Black, Peoples Power Assembly and Struggle La Lucha, USA
Miranda Bachman, Youth Against War and Racism , USA
Gibrán Cruz-Martínez, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Spain
Alia Reynolds, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
Diana Garcia, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
Berta Joubert-Ceci, Tribunal Internacional sobre Crímenes EUA en Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico
Isadora Cardoso – GenderCC – Women for Climate Justice e.V., Germany
Malu Tello – GenderCC – Women for Climate Justice e.V., Germany
Cheryl LaBash, Washington DC
Linda Flood, University Of California Santa Barbara, USA

Public Statement By Comunalisis on the Current Situation in Ecuador

Amidst the current economic, political and social turbulence in Ecuador, we write to inform the national and international community that the Ecuadorian government has violently repressed nation-wide strikes against the new neo-liberal reforms it announced last Thursday as mandated by its recent agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). These reforms include widespread layoffs in the public sector, reducing the health budget, slashing subsidies on gas prices, further flexibalising and precarising the labor market, as well as other measures that favor national and multinational corporations.

In response to the massive demonstrations against these measures, as well as calls for an indefinite nationwide strike, the government of President Lenin Moreno has violently repressed students, workers, women, peasants and indigenous peoples who have unanimously raised their voice in protest. We denounce the brutality displayed by police and military forces yesterday and today (October 3rd and 4th), the illegal arrest of more than 200 people, and the injuring of many others, some of whom now find themselves in serious medical conditions.

We denounce the State of Emergency decreed by President Moreno on the entire national territory, which gives the police and military exceptional perogatives in order to “reestablish public order”. This measure represents a threat to democracy – most notably, suppressing the freedom of association and freedom of movement. We denounce the national media’s lack of impartiality as it reports on ongoing developments: the strike does not only concern the unions and organizations in the transportation sectors; the strike is being carried out by the general public against the economic measures announced by the government.

We denounce the fact that these measures seek to comply with the IMF’s directives, which stem from the March 2019 agreement and which openly favor national corporations and international capital. We denounce the complicity of parts of the conservative oligarchy and its representatives, as well as the opportunitistic declarations coming from certain representatives in the National Assembly and supporters of former president, Rafael Correa. During his time in office, Correa efficiently repressed and dismantled popular organizations and resistance movements – often with violent force similar to the kind we are currently witnessing.

Finally, we denounce the extractivist policies that Moreno’s government continues to pursue, which also directly parallel those promulgated by former president Correa. The huge extractive projects in mining and energy, which are currently under development, dispossess communities and indigenous peoples, destroy their territories and the environment, all while amassing millions in profits for national and international elites.

Comunalisis is a collective of academics, journalists, and activists seeking to connect and make visible diverse struggles in the defense of territories, bodies, and lives. Our labor is committed to resisting the extractivist plunder of lands and peoples, which is part of a capitalist, patriarchal, and colonial system of dispossession and accumulation. Our work in research and communication aims to reveal the socio-ecological impacts of extractive industries as well as their financial, institutional, and political allies.

Michelle Baez
Maria Susana Robledo
Ana Maria Morales
Romano Paganini
William Sacher
Andrea Sempertegui
Emilio Vargas
Maria Isabel Perez
Sofia Carpio
William Callison
David Urbina