Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ecuador Elections: give it back to the Indians

David Seaton's News Links

If you were trying to find some common factor that defines our era, it is the previously silent finding voice. The new, inexpensive communication systems put those with common language and values into comfortable contact with each other across formidable physical obstacles. Thus Muslims around the world, combining Arabic, the Koran and the Internet, are in the process of forming a common Islamic consciousness, much to the discomfort of non-Muslims. Language + shared values + similar economic conditions X Internet = trouble for those in charge. In Spanish America all these ingredients exist: common language, colonial past and downtrodden Indians. Unlike North America, all the South American rivers run in the wrong direction and all the mountains are in the wrong place and this has kept the different peoples separated. The white settlers of one Latin American country are not interested in the white settlers of the other countries, looking only toward Europe and especially to the USA which is seen to guarantee their position economically and if necessary militarily. Fluid communication between the impoverished Indians of the different countries, or even communication between the Indians of any one country was science fiction until the very recent past. All this has changed in only a few years. All the ingredients being in the pot and the heat turned up, the smells from the kitchen are wafting through the house. DS
Ecuador Elections: This eruption is irreversible - The Guardian
Abstract: The red tide sweeping through Latin America, checked in Peru and Mexico, has achieved another memorable record this week in Ecuador. The substantial electoral victory of Rafael Correa, a clever, young, US-educated economist and former finance minister, marks a further triumph for Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and his Bolivarian revolution, which has long sought to ignite Latin America's "second independence".(...) Unlike most US-trained academics in Latin America, Correa is an economist of a radical persuasion. He has been an outspoken critic of the neo-liberal economics of the globalised world, and an opponent of the so-called Washington consensus that has imposed this ideology on Latin America in the past 20 years. He cannot be easily dismissed as a caudillo or a populist, but was the intelligent choice against his absurdly rightwing millionaire opponent, Álvaro Noboa, whose electoral bribes were too outrageous to be effective. Yet significantly, both candidates stood outside the existing party system. The Correa victory marks a seismic explosion in Ecuador's traditional politics. During the past decade, a series of popular demonstrations, military coups, and temporary governments have given clear warning of changes to come. Similar shifts occurred in Venezuela and Bolivia, where the termites of bureaucratic incompetence and corruption hastened the collapse of the old order. Nothing was left but an ineffective opposition that has proved leaderless and demoralised. Correa, like Chávez and Morales, will move swiftly towards establishing a constituent assembly to give a more representative voice to the country's indigenous majority.(...) Whatever the psephological details, the wave of popular feeling aroused in Ecuador, as in Bolivia earlier this year, clearly indicates the irreversible shift in power. The peoples subdued by Cortés and Pizarro 500 years ago are beginning to rebel against white settler rule. Simón Bolívar, after travelling through Colombia, Ecuador and Peru during the independence wars in the early 19th century, recorded his impression in 1825 that "the poor Indians are truly is a state of lamentable depression. I intend to help them all I can: first as a matter of humanity; second, because it is their right; and finally, because doing good costs little and is worth much." READ IT ALL

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