By: Atilio A. Borón / Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / February 4, 2018
It was foreseeable for the right wing government that rules Ecuador to get away with it. They have just won an important battle that aims to reinstitute the decrepit and unfair social order of past times while counting with the full powers of the Carondelet Palace. But, how did they win? And, have they won the war?
They won by violating the current regulation that demands the Constitutional Court to certify that the public consultation complies with all the legal precepts established in the Constitution of Montecristi. President Lenin Moreno, possessed by a suspicious urgency, didn’t want to wait the constitutional times, and, with a manu militari move, called for an illegal and unconstitutional consultation that was never part of his plans. During his presidential campaign of 2017 (and the runoff round in April) he never mentioned the necessity of this consultation nor did he manifest any interest to discuss the issues that were a subject of consultation yesterday. Therefore, there is a degree of illegitimacy which will be the source of harsh disputes in the years to come.
However, the right wing block, which Moreno has joined in exchange of who knows what, also attacked the most elemental conditions that a democratic election requires. During the campaign, former president Correa wasn’t invited to any public or private television program, national radio nor was he interviewed by any newspaper. The newspaper of the national government, El Telégrafo, completely excluded him in an irreverent gesture to who used to be the president of the Republic. It did find a place in its columns for the corrupt usurper of the Brazilian presidency, Michel Temer. It is no secret that without democracy in the public space, especially in media, there can not be electoral democracy. Under these conditions we only have a simulated democracy and nothing else. And that is what happened yesterday in Ecuador, despite the pompous intentions of the government to label it as a “citizen consultation”. It would have been a miracle for Correa to reverse the electoral situation when he was ignored by all the media. Not only that: the media oligarchy and the right didn’t spare any words to defame the figure of the former president and denying his right to reply. In fact, the public opinion was bombarded with all types of slander and infamies against Correa, to please the government and its rulers.
How robust is the triumph of the right? And we say ‘the right’ because the propaganda apparatus will grant the victory to the enemies of Correa, to those he constantly defeated through 10 years and not to Moreno, relegated to the background and who won’t be allowed to get on the podium. He was given the dirty assignment, and he carried it out, but there is no way this will turn him into the leader of the restored block. If we do a simple arithmetic exercise, for example in the crucial second question of the consultation -which forbids a second re election-, and we subtract the percentage achieved by Guillermo Lasso in the runoff election of April 2017 (49%) to the NO votes of the consultation (65%), the result is that Moreno only got a 16% in the NO against the 35% of Correa’s YES. This is why the right will claim that the victory is theirs and not of the government.
Having said that, will Ecuador forge its path towards the “post-Correa-ism”? It is hard to foresee, but the recent Ecuadorian history reminds us that the 10 years of political and social stability of Correa’s time were a virtuous lapse in a recent history marked by over a decade of plebeian insurgencies and popular insurrections. Preventing the former president from exercising his right as a citizen to present himself as a candidate in elections can be the trigger of new commotions.
Because it doesn’t only ostracize a figure of continental dimensions like Correa, but it also indirectly outlaws a political force considered individually as majority since it counts with at least a third part of the valid votes, casting doubts on the future stability of the political system. With his mission accomplished, Moreno, who doesn’t have a parliamentary majority, will be prisoner of the right wing blackmail. The bankers, the business oligarchy, the “embassy” and the corrupt media power will impose their restorative and counter-reformist program by fire and sword, and the current president may suffer the same destiny of Jamil Mahuad, who had to flee Carondelet and seek shelter in the American embassy for applying to the bankers’ program. To sum it up, Moreno and his handlers have decided to play with fire. They won a battle but it doesn’t take much to notice a people who in the period of 10 years have taken down three presidents and provoked the overthrow of many others and who may remember their former achievements and decide before the barbarism that comes, an unmasked dictatorship of the capital, decide once again that it has to take its destiny in its hands and shake off the yoke of their oppressors and of those who betrayed the emancipatory project of the Citizen Revolution.