The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Ecuador: doors open to change

People ratify their support for the changes announced by Correa

BY MARINA MENENDEZ—Special for Granma International

ONCE again in Latin America, the people have spoken out for a constitutional revolution with an awareness that is the outcome, in the first instance, of the social depredation brought about by neoliberalism, and the undisputed sign of the failure of a model that, inevitably, is impelling people to change.

The change has been the course announced by Alianza País and President Rafael Correa in Ecuador, and the way is virtually clear after their landslide victory on September 30 in the third electoral vote in that country in less than 10 months.

In addition, the general lines of the new nation, symbolized in the initials of the governing Alianza Party PAIS; ‘Homeland Proud and Sovereign’ are now clearer, giving faith to the aspirations of independence, self-determination and social justice proposed in order to return their dignity to Ecuadorians.

If the majority that gave the presidential victory to Correa last January basically represented a punishment vote to the old party democracy and its corruption, the resounding ‘Yes’ that opened the doors to the Constituent Assembly in April, and now the widespread support for government candidates to draft the new constitution, validate popular backing for these changes, better outlined and clearer precisely during these few months of the Correa mandate. Without beating about the bush, the president has announced the construction of 21st century socialism, and Ecuadorians have voted for it.

Although the official results will be announced in a few weeks, surveys at the polls just before stations closed on September 30, threw up a majority for the Alianza País aspirants, who were given 65 to 80 of the 130 seats in the Assembly. That confirms a consensus in favor of the constitutional precepts essential to sustain the pillars of the new nation, without discounting the possibility of maneuvers by right-wing Assembly members or those self-titled ones of the center left, who represent the old politics that have to be abolished. Sociedad Patriótica, of former President Lucio Gutiérrez, will have taken 7.17% of the vote and the Renovación Institutional (PRIAN) Party of banana magnate Alvaro Noboa, 6.7%.

Thus, the next step could be defining the rules for the labors of the Constituent Assembly to approve each one of the modifications, while it is being reiterated that 50% plus one is sufficient to approve each change. The Assembly itself will decide that.

In any event, the definitive thrust is underway, as Correa acknowledged on commenting on the results of the polls: “The people have won in the mother of all battles.”

One sign of his confidence in the people, but also of his transparency, is that he submitted his own leadership to the Constituent Assembly which, in possession of all its faculties, has the power to revoke it. But its probable most immediate step will be to suspend a Congress whose validity alongside the Assembly is considered by many to be inadmissible from the constitutional point of view and whose prestige, moreover, is in tatters.

Representative of the traditional parties and embezzlers who converted Ecuadorian politics into a reflection of the unjust economic power to date, the Ecuadorian legislative not only boycotted the actions of other presidents who wanted to follow a good course but its efforts to immobilize everything turned the convening of the Assembly into a veritable Odyssey and even forced the people into the streets at the beginning of this year in order to win the popular referendum that endorsed the Constituent Assembly in April.

The Assembly’s principal directions are for the state to take back many of the prerogatives handed over to transnational capital with privatizations; the right to education and health; a breaking with the international financial agencies; and regional integration. The people have already approved them. Within one month, the Constituent Assembly will begin to lay the legitimate bases that will sustain that majority wish.

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