News service of the newspaper En Marcha
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador
February 20, 2002

Important Actions in the General Strike of the People in Ecuador
Top Military Leaders Resign

This was the first day of the 48-hour General Strike of the People, called by the Popular Front, the Patriotic Front and the United Assembly of the Peoples. The actions carried out reflect a convergence of the wills and struggles which have taken place since January 2 throughout the country, called by the Patriotic Front and their affiliated organizations and parties of the left. This is the first general action in which practically all the popular sectors are participating, with the exception of the national leadership of the CONAIE which, although it announced yesterday that it would take part in the activities of the struggle, was the main one absent.

As can be seen in the partial report attached [not included in the translation], the struggles took place on the Coast, the Sierra and the Amazon region. The main events have been demonstrations and marches, blocking of highways, and attacks on banking and other establishments.

The demonstrators in their slogans rejected the privatization proposed by the government, whose immediate objective is the electric company; they demanded that the Yankee troops and the IMF get out of our country; they demanded the punishment of the police and military chiefs involved in various cases of corruption and the setting up of a plan of popular and anti-imperialist measures.

The united attitude was also characteristic. In the marches the banners of the popular organizations and parties of the left they were mingled, and the members of the different groups discussed the future of the struggle and the need to participate in a joint way in the next electoral process. The PCMLE and the MPD, in particular, have insisted on the need for a program of transformations, clearly of the left, to push that unity. They insisted that this should be the axis of a left front and not the naming of possible candidates.

The most noticeable thing is that the struggle put the electoral question in second place, thus what is important now is the increase of our action to stop the privatization and to punish the corrupt ones in all spheres of bourgeois power. In this direction, the lack of credibility of the chiefs of the repressive forces is total at the moment since there took place, one after the other, various documented accusations of corruption, various resignations from the ranks of the military and police. The main ones refer to the close relation between high-ranking police officials and drug dealers; the lack of punishment in cases of torture and the death in cases of the so-called military "baptisms"; the purchase of obsolete missiles; a fraudulent purchase of airplanes for the Navy; the exorbitant prices for insurance for the air fleet of the country; and the kickbacks from these insurance companies.

The popular protest forced President Noboa (who is also corrupt together with his close relatives) as an extreme measure to save the " institutional honor" of the Armed Forces, to demand the resignation of the chiefs of the Armed Forces. The people look suspiciously at the resignation of the military chiefs, but this does not assure a real trial much less punishment. At the moment, the trials of this corrupt group are taking place in the military courts, they are being defended by the lawyer of the Armed Forces (that is to say with State money) and their accusers are being persecuted and punished. Therefore, although what has happened is important, it is also certain that the resignation of the corrupt chiefs does not change the institutional character or the tradition of lack of punishment for the military culprits. In this sphere as in other, the struggle continues.

Josť Izquierdo

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