New Government in Ecuador
January 21, 11:50 PM

Ecuador: A Junta of National Salvation is Installed

A few minutes ago, in the Presidential Palace, a meeting between the Joint Command of the Armed Forces and the Government Junta formed in the morning by Colonel Lucio Gutierrez, Antonio Vargas (President of the CONAIE) and Dr. Carlos Solórzano C. (former President of the Supreme Court of Justice) ended.

The result has been an integration of the Armed Forces around the Junta. Colonel Gutierrez has resigned his nomination and his place has been taken by the Chief of the Joint Command, General Carlos Mendoza. This has been the result of various days of struggle carried out by the popular movement in Ecuador, that has been grouped in two trends: the CONAIE and its Parliament of the Peoples, and the Patriotic Front. That struggle in many provinces achieved full levels of unity that were manifested in powerful actions that recalled the fall of the government of Bucaram, four years ago.

Today, with support of a sector of the Armed Forces that has separated itself from the institution, formed by Colonels and young officers, the CONAIE took the Congress and later the Supreme Court, actions which had the support of the popular organizations and parties of the left grouped in the Patriotic Front.

In the provinces, the popular movement grew. Several governors= offices were taken and, in some cases, later ousted. In the process, some progressive or left-wing personalities were named as governors by the people in the streets. In Azuay, a Civic Junta was formed that includes all the sectors, headed by Mons. Alberto Moon, bishop of Cuenca, the Rector of the University, a representative of the Popular Front and a representative of the Coordinator of Social Movements. In Guayaquil, where the militants of the Patriotic Front that had taken over the Governor=s office were ousted, hours later this was taken over by colonels who supported the uprising and they received popular support. Similar situations have taken place in Esmeraldas, Carchi, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Sucumbíos and many other provinces and localities.

The uprising continues, and so the action of the people in the streets is necessary to guarantee the permanence of the new government in the face of the threats of oligarchic sectors to overthrow the Junta of National Salvation.

The struggle has had its share of dead and wounded. In Manabí Professor Saltos, a member of UNE and the Popular Front, died of a bullet from the Police. In Guayaquil, three members of the Patriotic Front were wounded by bullet of the bodyguards of Alvaro Noboa when the masses rejected him and forced him to retire, this banana oligarch who appears evident on the list of the hundred biggest millionaires of the world and who tried to appear as a leader of the popular struggle. Another citizen was struck down by a vehicle of Noboa. That has been the tenor of the confrontations, despite the fact that the temporary division of the Armed Forces prevented the repression from acting with the expected force.

The agreement reached by the sectors in struggle in the Armed Forces makes possible a peaceful solution and the defense of army=s institutions. These were objectives of the high command and of the 150 superior officers who otherwise would have left the Armed Forces.

The biggest losers of the past days are the right-wing government, the big bourgeoisie and imperialism. The oligarchy spoke constantly for the defense of the institutional order and they sought a constitutional solution, leaving power in the hands of the former Vice-President of the Republic. In the same sense, numerous calls were made from the White House the OAS, the European Union and governments of Peru, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia and others. From the Department of State, Yankee imperialism threatened to apply to Ecuador similar measures of an economic blockade applied against the heroic people of Cuba, if in Ecuador Constitutional order broke down.

It is obvious that the reactionary forces will not remain quiet. Already they are saying that the new government does not have legitimacy and express their contempt for the popular sectors, especially the Indians, participating in a government of the country. The struggle is not yet over nor can it already be considered irreversible. It is the people in the streets and naming the new authorities, who will determine where this will lead. The Patriotic Front and the parties of left that form it continue to express in the streets their support for the Junta of National Salvation. Their objective is not to be part of the Junta, although the development of the events may change that fact, but what they want is the consolidation of the new government and that it take measures in favor of the people. For its part, the Patriotic Front insists on the application of the Program of Patriotic Government and of National Unity. That support, manifested in the popular struggle and the seizure of the governors= offices, is also above the exclusivist current of the CONAIE that wants to exclude the forces of the Patriotic Front.

In this sense, the members of the Patriotic Front in unity with the CONAIE and other popular forces of the provinces, will continue in each locality consolidating instances of provincial and local government that have a clear popular element and that give support to the Government Junta.

The people have given their full support as well to the fact that the former president Mahuad and other officials of his government be prevented from leaving the country. Mahuad is detained and surely will be judged for causing starvation and corruption.

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