Out with the IMF and its Latin American Puppet Governments!
By Anisio Garcez Homem
CURITIBA, Brazil — Gathered at the Casa da Resistencia (House of Resistance) on October 14 to express our solidarity with the struggle of the workers and people of Ecuador, we have decided to write this Manifesto to inform the political, trade union, and popular organizations to which we belong about our political stance in support of the struggle of our Ecuadoran sisters and brothers.
The economic austerity package decreed by President Lenin Moreno on October 1 was aimed at crushing the rights and gains of the Ecuadoran workers and people by increasing the price of fuel by 123% (with the end of fuel subsidies and the deregulation of the price of gasoline), reducing the annual vacations of public servants by 15 days, slashing the salaries of temporarily hired civil servants by 20%, confiscating one day’s salary per month of all civil servants, and committing to a profound labor “reform” to make the labor force even more precarious. All this was decreed so that the government could pay off a credit contracted in February 2019 with the IMF to the tune of US$4.2 billion.
At the same time that President Lenin Moreno was sinking Ecuador in debt and dependence on the IMF, he granted the big economic consortiums in the country a tax pardon of US$987 million and a tax relief of US$4 billion dollars, practically the same amount requested by the IMF. In other words, it was the workers, the youth, and the indigenous farm workers who were called on to pay with their sweat and blood the bill for this policy of transferring wealth to the coffers of the large corporations and banks.
The Ecuadoran people gave their firm response to the government by rejecting this austerity package in a massive general strike and in street mobilizations that lasted 12 days. The brutality of the repressive forces — with five deaths and hundreds of injured and imprisoned, if not more — did not discourage the people, especially the indigenous people, from continuing their struggle. The people have vowed to remain in the streets “until the IMF leaves Ecuador.”
The government moved its headquarters from the capital city of Quito to Guayaquil, where it took refuge in a city controlled by the economic oligarchy of the country. The government was scared away by the popular fury, by demonstrators who were now chanting, “Quien se va de Quito, pierde su banquito” [meaning, “He who leaves Quito relinquishes his right to govern,” thus expressing the widespread sentiment of “Out with Lenin Moreno!”
Feeling cornered by the intense mobilizations, the government called on the indigenous leaders to negotiate. This resulted in the repeal of Decree 883, which had called for an end to the fuel subsidies and an increase in fuel prices.
The repeal of the decree was celebrated as a temporary victory in the struggle of the Ecuadoran people. However, the new official document that revokes Decree 883, in its Article 2 stipulates that new cost-cutting measures may be needed to compensate for maintaining the fuel subsidies to the indigenous people. At the same time, the government has made no commitments to reviewing, let alone overturning, the other items of the austerity package that attacked the wages and working conditions of the workers.
We salute the courage of the workers and people of Ecuador who rose up to fight against the policies of the IMF and its puppet government — and we add names to those who are demanding that those responsible for the deaths and injuries of the demonstrators be brought to justice. Likewise we call for the immediate release of all prisoners and an end to political persecution.
We will continue to monitor the unfolding situation.