In the previous issue of this journal we published a resolution of the Movement for Popular Democracy of Ecuador which indicated the reasons why it had participated in a democratic government with patriotic positions and then withdrew from it as it began a slide to pro-imperialist positions after a period of six months. The following interview with a member of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador gives further insights into these significant developments.
On the PCMLE and MPD’s support for Lucio Gutierrez:
Our party and movement supported the project of Lucio Gutierrez because at that time he emerged as a figure symbolic of the popular consciousness of the people in Ecuador for change.
Lucio Gutierrez came out of the military during the insurrection of 2000 to support the people. If he had not come out nobody would have known who he was. He was democratic and also patriotic so we thought we could reflect our own vision of the future through his project. Our problem was that we did not have our own candidate and had to use someone else to reflect our programme.
We did not support Lucio Gutierrez as a person but his project which is called New Ecuador which was a democratic proposal. It was not even anti-imperialist but it was anti-crisis so we thought it was important to support it. For the first time in Ecuador we had a candidate for Presidency, with a chance of winning electorally, who was not a candidate of the bourgeoisie or the imperialist parties but a candidate coming out of the people, so it was important to support the consciousness of the people.
The groups of the bourgeoisie were a little afraid of what was going on with Lucio Gutierrez because our movement supported him with 200,000 votes. After the first round of elections (which did not result in outright victory for any candidate, forcing the elections on to the second round) the bourgeoisie did not see their interests reflected in any of the candidates so they started working on Lucio Gutierrez.
In the Gutierrez government we had one minister of environment but we were working both within and outside the government, mobilizing the people.
On the current left position against Gutierrez
After six months of the Gutierrez regime we declared ourselves independent of his government and opposed them. We started mobilising the teachers, farmers, indigenous peoples, when the Lucio Gutierrez government changed its stated policies. People had voted for the democratic, anti-imperialist project and not for Gutierrez as an individual. He changed and followed the line of neo-liberalism that Ecuador had before and also started negotiations with the IMF.
Now we are calling on the people to carry out an insurrection against the government and take power into their own hands. Lucio Gutierrez now considers us his biggest enemies.
We were always conscious about what was going to happen. Gutierrez went to the School of the Americas and was trained there. So we were working both within and outside the government and continued with our work outside.
On the PCMLE record vis-à-vis electoral politics
PCMLE is not a legal party, so we put up candidates through another political formation called the Movement for Popular Democracy (MPD). MPD is not a Communist Party on its own and only a means of expressing the goals of the PCMLE – it is a democratic and patriotic party. It is legal and anyone can join it.
Through the MPD, we always had our own candidate for Presidential elections since 1978. In 1986 our candidate was the fourth out of eight candidates for presidency.
The MPD has passed the 5 percent of votes required, more than 200,000 votes, to be a recognized political party in Ecuador and we have three deputies in parliament. At the local level we have over 160 councillors in various cities. To give some context about the electoral situation in Ecuador you must know that the largest party in the country receives only 12 percent of the votes and we have 5 percent.
Within the PCMLE we don’t think we can get power through peaceful means. We participate in the elections but not to get power, it is only a step in that direction. ‘Popular power cannot be constructed step by step – it has to be taken forcefully. We want to make a big front against neo-liberalism. One way is through the MPD.
We are also seeking to create the conditions for armed struggle. We are not calling for a socialist revolution but a democratic and anti-imperialist one. It is not possible to go for socialist revolution in the first step.
Ecuador is too dependent and the technology is not developed enough to have a socialist revolution. But the final goal is socialism.
From: ‘Liberation’, February, 2004, pp. 33-34.
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