Neoliberal Democracy

By Ángel Guerra Cabrera September 9, 2020

The ruling banning Evo Morales from being a candidate for senator and the sentence of 8 years and a lifetime ban from politics for Rafael Correa, which both occurred on September 7, confirm that the neoliberal elite play at democracy only until they begin to lose elections.  I am referring, of course, to formal democracy since neoliberalism is the antithesis of substantive democracy which is participatory and creates peoples’ power, and which is the form utilized in Cuba and Venezuela.

Gigantic examples of this incompatibility are the imposition in supposedly democratic countries, such as, for example, Chile during the period from 1990-2010 of “Concertación de Partidos por la Democracia”  – enthusiastic inheritors of the economic policy of Pinochet – and also Mexico in the “democratic transition” period, both of which had Free Trade Agreements with the United States imposed upon them.  These were clearly contrary to the interests of the people and aimed at increasing the dependence and subordination of our peoples to the empire. Due to the Free Trade Agreements and the privatizations, the tyranny of the market was strengthened as never before over millions of people,  from whom the media mafia hid the impoverishing consequences of these policies for their lives, and who were never consulted as these policies affected their lives.

I will not use this small space available to present arguments against the legal inconsistencies of the spurious judgments imposed on Evo and Correa by venal or intimidated judges.  These catastrophic and ridiculous judgments are part of the same family of coups d’etat against Presidents Zelaya (Honduras 2009), Lugo (Paraguay 2012), Dilma Roussef (Brazil 2016), and Evo Morales (Bolivia 2019).  All of these were explained away by the mass media of the hegemony,  and in many cases promoted or approved by parliaments and even validated by the authorities of the administration of “justice” as occurred in the case of Brazil.  They also have a close relationship with the media onslaught against Kirchnerism in Argentina and opened the door, to a great extent, to the looting government of Macri and the judicial cruelty against Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her family.

Furthermore,  the disgraceful farce of Judge Moro who blocked the presidential candidacy of Lula,  a judgment that paved the way with gold for the privatization of the rich undersea oil deposits and the incursion of Bolsonaro.  These actions, when the apparatus of administration of justice intervenes to persecute or incapacitate those politicians with roots in the people’s movement, have been repeated so often that they have given rise to the English word “lawfare” to describe them.  Certainly one scandalous case was the attempt to impeach Lopez Obrador.  But it should remain clear for us that lawfare is only one line of action, very important, doubtless among the repertory of the abuses that the right-wing has been perfecting to block the processes of change and make sure that candidates who support these changes are prevented from getting to or returning to government.

Paola Pabón, Virgilio Hernández and Christian González, distinguished members of the Movement of the Citizens’ Revolution in Ecuador, are an absolutely typical example of judicial persecution for political reasons.  The three were accused of armed rebellion due to the great uprising of Indigenous Peoples in Ecuador in October of 2019, which left more than 1000 prisoners and 11 dead.  They were identified with the demands of that movement but did not participate in the organization and called for their claims to be heard and discussed via the political processes of the National Assembly.

The “proofs” presented against the three of them are merely tweets – one of these from Paola calling for not using violence – and in all cases with content well within the legal right to dissent.  Paola, the elected representative of the province of Pichincha, was arrested in the early morning and brutally removed from her home.  The three were sentenced to preventive detention in prison, until, on December 25, this was commuted to other arrest measures: weekly reporting to the Prosecutor’s Office and placement of an electronic monitoring device.  This commutation was due to the pressure exerted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The accusation was reduced from “armed rebellion” to simple rebellion and this also put the judges in a tight spot.  But the court proceedings have continued and now Paola is required to report to the prosecutor three times a week instead of once, while the investigation proceeds. In an extraordinary interview, in which Paola demonstrates the fortitude and convictions she is made of, Paola affirms that , “Here there are also trans-national interests that … are not comfortable with our progressive governments, and the United States Embassy has played a role in these processes that we have called the New Plan Condor. So, now it’s not just the case of Paola Pabón, nor just of Lula, of Rafael Correa.  The problem is that we are not dealing now with democratic governments; in time to come when people speak and write about this period they will describe the actions of the authoritarian neoliberal regimes of this period in Latin American history.”

Source: La Pupila Insomne, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau