Right wing forces, incapable of recognizing the electoral victories of popular governments, consistently resort to violent action, as is currently happening in Ecuador. After the failure of a general strike called for August 13, the opposition here launched another adventure, blocking roads - including the Pan American Highway – burning vehicles and tires, in an attempt to lay the groundwork for a coup d’etat against President Rafael Correa and the Citizens’ Revolution.
Police have quickly re-opened roadways and detained rioters attempting to pressure Rafael Correa with these maneuvers, which began this past June as supposed protests against proposed tax laws regarding inheritances and earnings. It soon became clear that the issue was a pretext for disrupting the government, in hopes of precipitating a coup, but the opposition has reaped few political dividends.
On the contrary, despite the opposition’s counterrevolutionary flag-waving, the population supported Correa’s policies with demonstrations August 13, without going on strike, while messages of solidarity arrived in Quito from political and social organizations across the country.
Normality reigned in Ecuador’s principal cities on the day of the attempted general strike, much to the chagrin of the opposition, led by well-known members of Ecuador’s elite who depend on a few leaders of Pachakutik, a faction within the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie) and the Workers United Front.
Pachakutik arrived in Quito with a small group of indigenous who support figures like the mayor of Guayaquil, Jaime Nebot; onetime candidate for the Presidency and banker Guillermo Lasso; and the capital’s mayor, Álvaro Noboa – who represent those who have always exploited the indigenous population – and continue to push forward with plans to destabilize the country and overthrow Rafael Correa’s Alianza País government.
The President warned that Latin America’s elites, “are no longer dispersed,” but rather linked nationally and internationally, with articulated plans and the “shameless complicity of the press,” emphasizing that these adversaries intent on carrying out “soft coups” in the region can not be underestimated, Correa spoke to a crowd at the 2015 Latin American Progressive Encounter of Youth, held in Quito, where he asserted, “Since they can no longer carry out coups so brazenly,” they now have a “new strategy of soft coups” against left wing governments in the region.
In the city’s Plaza Grande, Correa rejected the blocking of roads meant to pressure authorities, at the same time that thousands of Ecuadorans had gathered to cheer on their President and express their support for the Citizens Revolution.
Accompanied by Ernesto Samper, secretary general of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), he noted that the strike had been a fiasco, and that the opposition would continue to fail, challenging his opponents to try and collect the signatures required to convoke a recall vote. Regardless, he said he was ready to confront them in the 2017 elections – a scenario the right wing would much prefer to avoid, well aware that their chances of success at the polls are slim.
He referred to opposition marches in which indigenous peoples had participated saying, “The indigenous world should not be mystified… There are indigenous on the left and the right, honest and dishonest indigenous,” recalling that the small number of participants were protesting the reform of taxes which they do not pay.
Regarding the possibility of dialogue with the opposition, Correa was emphatic, “It is impossible to converse with persons who do not respect the country’s institutions, or democracy, who consider themselves independent, because they call themselves ancestral,” Correa said. His supporters assembled in front of Carondolet Palace to express their commitment to the Citizens Revolution told reporters they would not leave, and were prepared to defend the elected government against any coup attempt.
Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño, in an interview with Telesur, stated that the opposition had been given a clear demonstration of their weakness, noting that responding to the call for a general strike were “Some 250 indigenous from the country’s south and a dozen workers, mostly doctors.”
Describing the opposition as “extremely violent”, Patiño recalled that the brief 2010 coup attempt, barely a few hours long, damaged the democracy which had predominated for eight and a half years, while the Correa government honors the constitution, and is currently focused on a broad discussion with the vast majority, to define what kind of society Ecuadorans want to build.
He reaffirmed that the opposition is not seeking the people’s support, given their repeated failure; since no one supports them, they resort to violence, Patiño said, adding that the police would keep the streets unobstructed.
A serious incident occurred when Interior Minister José Serrano attempted to dialogue with leaders of the Cotopaxi Indeginous and Campesino Movement, who were interrupting vehicular traffic on the southern Pan American highway which links this area with Quito.
Serrano sought to speak with the demonstrators who, he said, “were disrupting the security of a state which has given them everything.” He was turned back by a group which attempted to attack him with rocks and sticks, and a brawl with police ensued.
Member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Peoples Trade Agreement (Alba-TPC), called for a world-wide tweet in support of the Citizens Revolution, during the Political Council’s 4th Extraordinary meeting held in Caracas, August 10.
Following the event, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez announced that Alba-TCP - which includes Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, Ecuador, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Cuba, and Venezuela - would immediately put into action a plan to confront current counterrevolutionary attacks on the peoples and governments of Ecuador and El Salvador.