Ecuador: Facing a False Choice between Progressivism and the Indigenous Agenda

By Ollantay Itzamná on February 10, 2021

Under the umbrella of the term progressivism the different ideological-political tendencies that emerged in the last decades, were and are in government in some countries of Abya Yala are categorized. Their positions are: post neoliberalism through the revision of privatization contracts and strengthening of states, social redistribution of economic surpluses, repudiation of the North American imperial presence in the region, and commitment to regional integration. This is, according to the promises, the Arauz-Rabascall binomial’s commitment (Moreno was also elected with the same promise, but ended up doing the opposite).

The proposal of the Pérez-Cedeño binomial, with an aura of ecology, communitarianism, water spirituality, etc., promises to review privatization contracts although it does not mention any nationalization. He promises to leave mining and hydrocarbon deposits underground in order to preserve ecosystems and water basins, but does not explain where he will get the money to revive the country’s economy. He promises to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, although it is not known if he will do it through new state-owned companies or if he will wait for the kindness of private investment.

In the speeches and attitudes, up to now, it is clear that Arauz, who is neither taking up, nor representing the agenda of the indigenous peoples, is evidently consistent with his proposals. Although nobody knows if he will do the same as Lenin Moreno.

Yaku Perez, ideologically is quite “mysterious”. Although he publicly confessed that for Ecuador he would prefer a government of a banker (Guillermo Lasso) than of a progressive/correista. He unreservedly attacks President Maduro and the Venezuelan process, and all the anti-imperial struggle that Venezuela represents. He supported, together with members of his current team, the coup d’état and the de facto government in Bolivia. Even on the eve of the last elections, the banker Guillermo Lasso (currently in third place in the electoral results) declared that if Perez went to the second round he would not hesitate to support him to prevent progressivism from returning to Ecuador.

Does Yaku Perez represent the political agenda of the people of Ecuador?

Nearly 14 distinct indigenous peoples living in Ecuador, which according to the official census represent about 7% of the total population of the country, are mostly in the condition of impoverishment and material misery, invaded and violently assaulted by neoliberal agents. These peoples do not live from the “idyllic” idea of “leaving the commons in the ground” (so that tomorrow the new owners can plunder it). To assist them materially, and urgently, the State needs (whether we like it or not) money. The native peoples are not against the use/exploitation of Mother Earth’s goods. We are against neoliberal extractivism that takes the wealth and leaves us with misery and pollution.

Our agenda/aspiration as native peoples, due to our subaltern situation, is essentially socio-political. Therefore, the demand for the restitution of ancestral territories and self-determination in our territories is essential. If an indigenous struggle does not incorporate this central demand, it is simply not a peoples’ agenda, and perhaps it could be multiculturalist folklore. But it is certainly not an indigenous political agenda.

The self-determination of indigenous peoples necessarily requires redefining or rethinking the bicentennial states in Abya Yala. It is impossible to exercise indigenous self-determination in centralist states, or creole nation-states.

In the Political Constitution of Ecuador, the declaration of a plurinational state was incorporated, but without the self-determination of the peoples. That is why this plurinationality, confused with interculturality, did not go beyond a declaration during the progressive government. The autonomies will guarantee, to a large extent, that the peoples, by their own will, will undertake their destinies towards the longed-for collective welfare.

In the government program of Yaku Perez nothing of this agenda appears. Although you may not believe it, check his government program. Minimally, in a neoliberal mestizo Creole State, an indigenous candidate of an indigenous movement such as PACHAKUTIK, should propose, even if only as rhetoric, the urgent need to make structural changes at the level of the State, through substantial changes to its legal system. But, in this case, there is no such thing.

On the contrary, Yaku proposes that all the goods of Mother Earth be reserved underground for tomorrow’s capitalist agents, in their fourth wave of planetary invasion, to plunder. We are tired of being the impoverished guardians of the “natural resources” so that tomorrow’s capitalists will expel or murder us in order to plunder those goods.

This quick look at the program of Yaku Perez indicates that the eco-communitarian “narrative” of the presidential candidate of PACHAKUTIK is nothing more than a “Trojan Horse” that, now, the neoliberals bring to Ecuador to foist/distract/demobilize the native peoples who fight for their emancipation as peoples. And they do it through their international cooperation agents and their Pachamama fashion or neoindigenous fashion discursive crutches.

It is unfortunate to say, but after the coup d’état in Bolivia, followed by indigenous massacres, encouraged and supported by many environmentalists, ecologists, feminists, neoindigenists, ecocommunitarians, it is impossible to swallow the “bitter draught” that the emissaries of the Trojan Horse in Abya Yala want to force us to drink.

Source: Ollantay Itzamna blog, translation by Internationalist 360°