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Lenin ‘Judas’ Moreno – Ecuador’s Story of Betrayal and Resistance

By Joaquin Flores | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 27, 2019

On October 3rd, countless tens of thousands of Ecuadorian citizens began a general strike and occupation of public spaces, throughout the country but targeting the capital of Quito. President Lenin Moreno has made himself one of the most hated men in the history of the country in the course of his rule, and was forced to flee as a consequence, and re-establish the capital in Guayaquil. In addition, facing a larger and wider revolution all together, Moreno was forced to rescind Decree 883 – the new law which appears to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back in Ecuador.

But this is far from over, and Moreno’s continued existence as head of government threatens to see the expansion of this newly awakened movement. Internationally too – for it is Moreno who also betrayed Julian Assange, after Raphael Correa offered him protection.

Media are accurately reporting the obvious, but in limited context: Moreno enacted Decree 883, which brought an end to the popular fuel subsidies. As the story goes, this was part of an austerity agreement made with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in return for a loan. Decree 883 threatens the country’s most vulnerable and historically marginalized cross-sections of Ecuadorian society, indigenous communities in particular. These indigenous communities, along with labor and citizen’s group, were at the forefront of these protests and the general strike, leading and organizing them. Moreno accuses his popular predecessor Correa for planning and executing the protests, with assistance from Cuba and Venezuela. The ‘random Soros guy’ from Brazil, Juan Guaido, has echoed Moreno’s accusation.

The Looming Econocide which Decree 883 Threatened

Beyond this, however, is the real story of Decree 883 and the recent history of Ecuador, and the real betrayal represented by Mr. Moreno – a visceral hatred he has earned for himself, which extends far beyond Decree 883.

Mr. Moreno baffled the public when he announced that the subsidies policy introduced in the 70’s, which if accounting in a very narrow and segregated way, appear to ‘cost’ the government some $1.3bn annually, were no longer affordable. But what macroeconomists and the public both understood, and what was particularly outrageous, was this: these subsidies, based on Ecuador’s socialized gas industry, in fact made possible all sorts of economic activity; risk taking and opportunity making, and consumption in other sectors of the economy – not possible without such a subsidy.

And so the ripple effect of Decree 883 would result in pessimism and a bearish national economy, all around. The cognitive and theoretical deficiency of believing that one can shore up nominal debts that exist under certain conditions of subsidy, by eliminating an economy enhancer like an energy subsidy, without this in turn deleteriously effecting overall GDP indices, to in turn qualify for a loan which would in all obvious reality create further balance of payment and debt problems, is itself either negligent, criminal, or both.

The real consequence would be that it would place the Ecuadorian economy further in debt, which means in further reliance on the IMF, which means further loans will be needed, which means further austerity, and ultimately privatization of the public weal. Upon such a cycle, creating permanent servitude and insolvency, the final aim on the part of the IMF cannot be simply a vicious debt cycle, (as this is ultimately unpayable) but the total private and foreign ownership of Ecuador, with some sort of mass impoverishment, even genocide of its indigenous people, as an obvious – if not wanted – consequence. At this point it becomes perhaps secondary to note that none of these ‘IMF loans’ will be used to develop the country’s physical economy – the only real signifier of wealth building for a whole society, if viewed scientifically and rationally as an organic unit with mutually interrelated symbiotic components.

There are few words to describe such aims as Decree 883 without delving into deep, profound, philosophical and theological questions about the nature of the forces of good and evil in the world. Questions which force us to ask what universal principles give meaning to our lives as human beings, and what really and fundamentally motivates those with such a blatant misanthropic agenda.

But at any rate, it is more than obvious how this move by Moreno, in the name of Decree 883, had led to the near toppling of the Ecuadorian government – leading to Moreno declaring a state of emergency.

A success so far for the people has been the apparent repeal of Decree 883, but why Moreno is so very much hated deserves our attention, as this is only the beginning. During his tenure, Moreno has gained himself the nickname among the opposition ‘Judas’: a name necessary as it distinguishes that he is ‘no Lenin’.

What Moreno has done has resulted in the largest popular uprising the country has seen in many years. After years of working to reverse the progress and stability brought by the noble and just government of Raphael Correa, Moreno brought about a condition of instability and ignobility. Within months of assuming office, he disavowed Correa who had brought him where he had arrived, and began to work under the orders of Washington to undo Correa’s social and legislative reforms that had been aimed at deepening the strength of Ecuador’s civil society, labor, and justice. Under Correa, poverty would see a 30% decline.

Despite this obvious reality, this obvious truth, Moreno doubles-down on his contempt for reason and rationality, by accusing the protestors of being agents of Correa, even of Maduro (!). This affront to the wisdom of the people of Ecuador is comparable to blaming the blood for the wound, or for blaming the wound for the accident which causes these.

The gas itself is largely owned by and for the people, through EP Petroecuador

The latest affront to dignity and fairness, in the form of yet another IMF sell-out from Moreno, came in the form of the elimination of gas subsidies for people most in need. And one cannot offer any real logic or reason for ending these subsidies, for the gas itself is largely owned by and for the people, through EP Petroecuador, the state oil firm.

But this deep-seated scorn is not simply related to contempt for his policies, but much more profoundly for his betrayal. Because we might expect such austerity from a centrist or right-wing candidate, given the history of politics in Latin America – there is something honest in this; they deliver what they campaign on. But given that Correa had essentially groomed Moreno, and Moreno in turn endorsed the policies of Correa – we encounter the crux of the matter, and how Moreno turned from Lenin to Judas.

To wit, it was Raphael Correa’s broad plan to rescue Ecuador from the predatory claws of the IMF, by fomenting a public campaign, a brilliant simulacrum strategy of sorts, borrowed from Venezuela, that an entire program of socialist revolution was underway, such that it had the effect of lowering the value of Ecuador’s bonds, owned by foreign interests. This made it so that Ecuador was able to succeed in buying back some 91% of these bonds, and made possible Ecuador’s thumbing the IMF and not taking on new debt. This was done by intelligently weaponizing Ecuador’s apparent weakness in not having its own real national currency, as this was dollarized by corrupt national leaders in 2000, using the excuse of the damage caused by Hurricane ‘El Niño’, to eliminate Ecuador’s monetary sovereignty. It had been widely believed that without a national, sovereign currency, that Ecuador could have no sovereign monetary policy – Correa proved this wrong by turning expectations and dynamics on their respective heads. While this dictum is true in the long-term, Correa used the dollarized nature of Ecuador’s currency values in a gambit to buy-back Ecuador’s bonds.

When Correa was elected president of Ecuador, it had come as the result of years of struggle by the popular forces of resistance, against all odds, and overcoming a particularly unstable and disastrous period were Ecuador had seen come and go some ten presidents in the period of just eleven years.

Correa would go on to serve for a decade, and continued to build popular support, and this had signaled the realization of an even broader dream of social and economic justice in Ecuador, but also a visionary long-term plan to integrate the Latin American economy into a single civilization-wide economic bloc.

The history of modern Ecuador is one of tragedy, hope, and never lacking in contradictions. During the time of Correa he was faced with the strongest opposition from the most intransigent and short-term thinking, narrowest in scope and vision, of the country’s billionaire class.

And it only so happened to be that this same class, who had been responsible for the years of instability and rampant poverty, were also those closest to Washington DC and New York City – placing the country at the hands of the Washington Consensus – the IMF, City Bank, JP Morgan Chase, and the rest of the “usual suspects”.

Rejecting this, in February 2007 that Correa’s economy minister Ricardo Patiño stated: “I have no intention […] of accepting what some governments in the past have accepted: that [the IMF] tell us what to do on economic policy.” “That seems unacceptable to us,” Patiño concluded.

The U.S and the IMF hated this, and hated Correa for this. Correa confused many –at first seeming to be a center-leaning social-democrat reformist. His biography and optics were misleading: young and well groomed, with waxed hair and Spanish features, he appeared very much like the kind of candidate historically installed by Ecuador’s wealthy comprador class. His credentials in governance had come about through being Ecuador’s finance minister under the prior neo-liberal government of Alfredo Palacio. And yet Correa was a man of the people and once in office quickly became allies with the Castros of Cuba and also Chavez, and then Maduro of Venezuela.

Correa understood he would be termed-out eventually, under Ecuador’s constitutional provisions, and had worked early on to groom a successor.

Again, the biography and optics were misleading: this successor was Lenin Moreno, the son of a communist teacher; Moreno inspired empathy with his soulful eyes, reminiscent of Iran’s Ahmadinejad, and being wheelchair-bound, he inspired sympathy.

The people had expected that a man who inspired such sympathy and empathy, would himself be capable of tremendous sympathy and empathy for the people in turn.

And yet the people were wrong. Instead, what lurked in the heart of Lenin Moreno was so dark, so depraved, so shallow and so selfish, that it exploded the left’s understanding of character.

It would turn out that Nietzsche’s dictum that weakness lays at the root of evil, and strength at the root of good, was true. If the apparent meekness of Moreno would allow him to inherit the world of Ecuador, then it was his cruelty and hatred, his resentment born of weakness, for those healthy and happy people, even if poor, that would threaten to destroy it.

The government of Moreno has been a betrayal so monumental and significant to the living history of Ecuador, that it has indeed earned him the name ‘Judas Moreno’, an allusion both to Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus Christ to the wishes of the Sanhedrin, and also to Leon ‘Judas’ Trotsky, who is believed by mainline communists internationally to have conspired to betray the Russian Revolution through his alleged conspiracy with the forces of Fascism in Europe.

And this leads us to the real heart of our investigation, for the apparent revolution that Judas Moreno has betrayed was the popular democratic, electoral ‘revolution’ of Correa. And this is why Moreno is so hated, and lacks any mandate. And this is also why his power decreases by the day, as his legitimacy in question after his first months in office, and his actions against the people – the repression, arrests, and persecutions which have heightened in the last ten days of protests against his regime, are only but the culmination of several years of the same.

Now there are dead, martyrs in this struggle, murdered by Moreno’s security forces.

Decree 883 may have been repealed, but coming about on the precipice of a broader revolution, the coming weeks and months only promise more conflicts, surprises – and we should expect yet another betrayal from Judas Moreno, and another explosion in response.

October 27, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | 3 Comments

Ecuador’s Mobilisation Against Moreno’s Invitation to US and IMF Interference

By Ramona Wadi | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 16, 2019

In Ecuador, the recent indigenous revolt against President Lenin Moreno’s neoliberal policies was instrumental in the repealing of a law which would have terminated fuel subsidies and plunged the most vulnerable into additional deprivation. The Ecuadorean government’s announcement, however, must not be misread as victory. It is the beginning of a long struggle which the people will face as Moreno maintains his commitment to the $4.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, granted as he waived Julian Assange’s right to refuge at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

US influence at the IMF must not be underestimated. It owns 17.46 per cent of shares in the institution. Yet under the pretext of the institution being allegedly “governed by and accountable to the 189 countries that make up its near-global membership,” the US has another platform it can monopolise when it comes to foreign intervention tactics. Then, it can substantiate its IMF role with the country’s official foreign policy, as evidenced by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s press statement over Ecuador’s violent repression of the recent protests: “The United States supports President Moreno and the Government of Ecuador’s efforts to institutionalise democratic practices and implement needed economic reforms.” In the words of Andres Arauz, a former Ecuadorean Central Bank official, “what the IMF does in Western hemisphere is US foreign policy.”

To safeguard his complicity with the US and the IMF, Moreno declared a national state of emergency, pitting the police and the military against Ecuador’s civilians. Thousands of protestors were met with state violence and an indigenous leader, Inocencio Tucumbi, was killed by government forces. An official statement brings the injured toll to 554 and 929 people were arrested. CONAIE President Jaime Vargas’s count of injured, killed, detained and disappeared, however, exceeds what has been reported by the government.

In typical dictatorial attitude, Moreno has inflicted several rounds of human rights violations upon the people: targeting the weakest sectors with price hikes due to the removal of subsidies and punishing rebellion with state repression to cement allegiance with the IMF. Within the international arena, where the IMF enjoys its privilege, any talk of preserving human rights is unlikely to make the correlation between Moreno’s violence and his monetary bondage as part of his neoliberal legacy.

The mobilisation at grassroots level by the indigenous communities and the workers is part of a wider historical context in Ecuador’s anti-neoliberal struggle. In the 1980s indigenous communities in Ecuador clamoured for land and cultural rights, while denouncing neoliberalism. The protests brought indigenous communities together as a unified voice and soon mobilised to demand bilingual education and agrarian reform, placing the indigenous at the helm of mass mobilisation. As a result, CONAIE established itself as a political party.

For now, the mobilisation at a national level has forced the government to repeal its initial declaration. According to the UN Representative in Ecuador Arnaud Peral, Moreno’s decree will be replaced by a new draft with the input of indigenous movements and the government, also with the input of the UN and the Catholic Church.

While celebrating this initial victory, caution is required. It is unlikely that the new bill will repudiate the onslaught of repercussions as a result of Moreno coercing Ecuador into IMF allegiance. For the time being, Latin America is indeed in the clutches of right-wing leadership. Yet the people are facing similar struggles and the possibilities for regional unity are endless. This accelerated phase of neoliberal exploitation, in Ecuador and elsewhere, is igniting a movement which is taking the struggle right to its roots – to the people. Moreno will not back down from his policies, yet the people of Ecuador have equally displayed their resilience.

October 16, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , | Leave a comment

Protests over fuel prices escalate in Ecuador, oil facilities seized

Press TV – October 8, 2019

Hundreds of people in Ecuador have clashed with security forces as they marched toward the country’s capital of Quito to protest soaring fuel prices.

Riot police and military forces used tear gas to disperse the protesters on Monday after they blocked roads with burning tires and other barricades in the town of Machachi on the outskirts of Quito.

Chanting anti-government slogans, the protesters also attempted to force their way into the National Legislative Assembly in the capital.

Thousands of indigenous people are due to converge on Quito for a protest on Wednesday.

“More than 20,000 indigenous people will be arriving in Quito,” said Jaime Vargas, the leader of the umbrella indigenous organization CONAIE, which was key to driving then-president Jamil Mahuad from office during an economic crisis in 2000.

The protesters, some armed with sticks and whips, hail from southern Andean provinces and are heading to the capital aboard pick-up trucks and on foot.

Meanwhile, Ecuador’s Ministry of Energy said in a statement on Monday that activities in three oil fields in the Amazon region had been suspended “due to the seizure of the facilities by groups of people outside the operation,” without identifying the groups responsible.

The seizures affected 12 percent of the country’s oil production, or 63,250 barrels of crude per day, according to the ministry statement.

The Latin American country has been rocked by days of mass demonstrations since increases of up to 120 percent in fuel prices came into force on October 3.

President Lenin Moreno scrapped fuel subsidies as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to obtain loans despite Ecuador’s high public debt.

The Ecuadorian government says the protests have so far left one civilian dead and 77 injured, the majority of them security forces. A total of 477 people have also been detained.

In a radio and television address on Sunday, Moreno blamed the deterioration in the country’s finances on his predecessor, Rafael Correa, also accusing him of an “attempted coup” and of “using some indigenous groups, taking advantage of their mobilization to plunder and destroy.”

The Ecuadorian president called for dialog with the indigenous community to alleviate their grievances.

“I am committed to a dialog with you, my indigenous brothers, with whom we share so many priorities,” Moreno said in his address. “Let’s talk about how to use our national resources to help those in the greatest need.”

But his plea was met with harsh opposition from Vargas, the indigenous leader.

“We are sick of so much dialog… There have been thousands of calls, thousands and thousands of calls, and until this point, we have not brought out our response,” he said.

Moreno declared a state of emergency in indigenous areas on Thursday, allowing the government to restrict movement and to use the armed forces for maintaining order as well as censoring the press.

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , , | 1 Comment

Israel Will Begin Training Ecuadorean Military Units

teleSUR | September 16, 2019

Ecuador’s minister of Defense Oswaldo Jarrin confirmed Thursday that ‘elite’ units of Ecuador’s military will begin training in Israel. Jarrin made the announcement as he hailed a new era of close Israel-Ecuador relations, a turn away from the approach of leftist former President Rafael Correa who cut military ties in 2010, in solidarity with Palestine.

The cooperation will be to ‘modernize’ Ecuador’s armed forces and to take ‘counter-terrorism’ courses, given by Israel’s military. Details also emerged about US$30 million worth of weapons that Ecuador has purchased from Israel in the last year alone.

Israeli officials have told Ecuadorean media that there is now a ‘flourishing relationship’ between the two countries.

Jarrin said this is because there is “now an environment of international cooperation that did not exist before”, in reference to the breakdown in relations that took place under the previous government of Rafael Correa.

During Correa’s period in office, he joined other leftist leaders in the region and formally recognized a Palestinian state and established diplomatic ties. There was also a long period of tension during that time, in 2010, Correa put an end to military cooperation with Israel and stopped the purchase of weapons.

Relations hit their lowest point in 2014, following Israel’s 50-day military campigan against Gaza in which over 1,500 Palestinian were killed. In protest, Ecuador, along with a number of Latin American countries, recalled their ambassador in Israel.

However, under current President Lenin Moreno, there has been a sharp turn in foreign policy. The country has begun a thawing of relations with the U.S. and Israel. The country has also joined in regional attacks on former allies of Ecuador, especially Venezuela, with President Moreno joining the so-called ‘Lima Group’ aimed at isolating Venezuela on the international stage.

Many analysts have also said this rapprochement with U.S. foreign policy interests, along with a new multi-billion-dollar IMF loan, were the driving forces behind Moreno’s decision to hand Julian Assange over to British authorities, where he is currently in prison and faces possible extradition to the U.S. to face charges related to his work exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | 2 Comments

Ecuadorian Court Orders Pre-Trial Detention for Former President Correa

Sputnik – August 9, 2019

Ecuador’s National Court of Justice has ordered pre-trial detention for former president Rafael Correa, who served as the country’s president from 2007-2017 over an alleged corruption scheme, a statement from the country’s prosecutor said.

“The judge of the National Court of Justice, Daniella Camacho, accepted the measures requested by the Prosecutor’s Office and issued pre-trial detention for former President Rafael C.”, the statement said.

Former vice president Jorge Glas and several other high-ranking officials are also on the detention list.

According to the prosecution, the former head of state is involved in the bribery and corruption case in the largest political party in Ecuador, PAIS Alliance, which he founded. The prosecutor’s office says that he refuses to cooperate with the investigation.

In response, Correa stated that the case was launched in order to prevent him from participating in the upcoming elections.

“The judicial proceedings against me are intended to prevent me from returning to the country and prevent my possible participation in the [2021] elections. They know that the polls show that we are doing very well. Do not underestimate hate. Some people live only for the sake of hate and I believe that this feeling is stronger than love. Some people live to hate me”, he said.

The ex-president is currently outside Ecuador. November 2018, the media reported that Correa allegedly requested asylum from Belgium, where he lived with his family, but the politician denied this information.

In the meantime, Correa called the request of the country’s prosecutor for his pre-trial detention merely a political show in an interview with Sputnik. He added that the case would not prevent him from continuing his career in Ecuador in the future.

August 9, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment

Ecuador: Galapagos Islands Will Now Serve US Military as Airfield

teleSUR | June 12, 2019

Ecuador’s right-wing government has agreed for the United States (U.S.) to use the airport of San Cristobal, in the Galapagos Islands, as an airfield for U.S. air force and navy Pacific ocean operations, according to the Minister of Defense Oswaldo Jarrin.

“Galapagos is Ecuador’s natural aircraft carrier because it ensures permanence, replenishment, interception facilities and is 1,000 kilometers from our coasts,” he assured, explaining that now U.S. military planes will also have access to it based on “cooperation” agreements signed under Lenin Moreno’s administration to “fight drug trafficking.”

On September 2018, a Lockheed P-3 Orion intelligence-gathering plane from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency began to operate from Ecuador. While a Boeing 707 aircraft from the U.S. air force, carrying a long-range radar surveillance and control center (AWAC), will now also be “patrolling” the Pacific. Both operations are reminiscent of those made by the U.S. government from the Base in Manta from 1999 to 2009.

“A base means permanence, there will be no permanence of anyone, the P3 and Awac will meet periods no longer than a week,” Jarrin argued. Yet he himself said on Aug. 27, 2018, that “the important thing is to recognize that everything that the base did in its time, can now be done by just one plane, because of the advance of technology.”

Despite the technicalities of such “cooperation” any presence of foreign armies in Ecuadorean territory is unconstitutional. According to article five of the 2008 Constitution, Ecuador declares itself as a territory of peace, where “the establishment of foreign military bases or foreign installations for military purposes will not be allowed. In addition, it is prohibited to cede national military bases to foreign armed or security forces.”

No, Mr. Minister. Galapagos is not an “aircraft carrier” for the gringos to use. It is an Ecuadorean province, world heritage, patriotic ground.

In what seems like an attempt to appease critics, the defense official, emphasized that the readjustments to the airfield will be paid by the U.S. Yet once again history warns that this is no sort of “assurance.”

In 1942, as the U.S. was just entering World War II both in the Pacific as the western front, another right-wing government in Ecuador allowed the U.S. army and navy to use the Island of Baltra, in the Galapagos, as an airfield. An airstrip was constructed, houses, barracks, movie theaters and dining halls for the armed personnel and families, all paid by the U.S.

However, in 1946 as the U.S. left they bombed and destroyed everything leaving nothing behind for the Ecuadorans.

June 15, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Facebook Removes Page of Ecuador’s Former President on Same Day as Assange’s Arrest

By Elias Marat | The Mind Unleashed | April 11, 2019

Facebook has unpublished the page of Ecuador’s former president, Rafael Correa, the social media giant confirmed on Thursday, claiming that the popular leftist leader violated the company’s security policies.

In a statement republished by Ecuadorean newspaper El Comercio, a company spokesperson said:

“Protecting the privacy and security of people is central to Facebook [and] we have clear policies that do not allow the disclosure of personal information such as phone numbers, addresses, bank account data, cards, or any record or data that could compromise the integrity physical or financial of the people in our community.”

The move comes on the same day that Ecuador’s government allowed British security personnel to enter their embassy in London to arrest journalist and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been sought by U.S. officials for years due to his role in releasing scandalous information implicating Washington in a range of crimes, including war crimes.

April 12, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

Who is Lenin Moreno and why did he hand Assange over to British police?

Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno Garces addresses the UN General Assembly. © Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
RT | April 11, 2019

US-backed Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno reneged on asylum agreements made with naturalized citizen Julian Assange, leading to his arrest on Thursday, but how exactly did relations with the whistleblower end up here?

Moreno won a narrow victory in 2017 to become president of Ecuador, having served as vice president under his predecessor Rafael Correa from 2007 to 2013 as part of the center-left PAIS Alliance. Much like Assange, Moreno was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012, for championing the rights of the disabled (he is the only world leader who uses a wheelchair).

When he rose to power Moreno quickly locked horns with Assange, eventually revoking his internet access in March 2018 while also reducing the security detail at the embassy as a result of their ongoing spat. Moreno alleged that Assange had installed electronic distortion equipment in addition to blocking security cameras at the embassy. Their deteriorating relationship culminated in Moreno’s withdrawal of asylum granted to the whistleblower on April 11, 2019.

“Today I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr Julian Assange; the hostile and threatening declarations of his allied organization against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable,” Moreno said in a video statement shortly after Assange’s arrest.

The writing had been on the wall for a long time, however.

Following his 2017 election, Moreno quickly moved away from his election platform after taking office. He reversed several key pieces of legislation passed under his predecessor which targeted the wealthy and the banks. He also reversed a referendum decision on indefinite re-election while simultaneously blocking any potential for Correa to return.

He effectively purged many of Correa’s appointments to key positions in Ecuador’s judiciary and National Electoral Council via the CPCCS-T council which boasts supra-constitutional powers.

Moreno has also cozied up to the US, with whom Ecuador had a strained relationship under Correa. Following a visit from Vice President Mike Pence in June 2018, Ecuador bolstered its security cooperation with the US, including major arms deals, training exercises and intelligence sharing.

Following Assange’s arrest Correa, who granted Assange asylum in the first place, described Moreno as the “greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history” saying he was guilty of a “crime that humanity will never forget.”

Despite his overwhelming power and influence, however, Moreno and his family are the subject of a sweeping corruption probe in the country, as he faces down accusations of money laundering in offshore accounts and shell companies in Panama, including the INA Investment Corp, which is owned by Moreno’s brother.

Damning images, purportedly hacked from Moreno’s phone, have irreparably damaged both his attempts at establishing himself as an anti-corruption champion as well as his relationship with Assange, whom he accused of coordinating the hacking efforts.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Corruption | | Leave a comment

The Persecution of Rafael Correa

By Joe Emersberger | CounterPunch | July 9, 2018

An Ecuadorean judge has issued an arrest order for former President Rafael Correa. Correa is accused of having masterminded an attempted kidnapping of the right wing former legislator, Fernando Balda, in 2012. Balda was in Colombia at the time evading a prison sentence in Ecuador for libel. The kidnapping was foiled within a few hours by Colombian police and the perpetrators were captured. Months later, Balda was deported to Ecuador where he served two years in jail.

As explained in other pieces for CounterPunch (here, here, and here) in 2017 Lenin Moreno was elected on a platform of continuing the policies of his left wing predecessor, Correa, who was first elected in 2006. Immediately after taking office, Moreno shifted very hard to the right and has therefore made it his main priority to accuse the government he was part of for ten years of being corrupt.

A week before the arrest order for Correa, I spoke with Virgilio Hernandez who was a member of the National Assembly while Correa was in office. Part of the interview was updated after the arrest order came out. A key point Hernandez makes is that the “Transitional” Citizens Participation Council whose members were hand-picked by President Moreno (details here on the reasons the body is unconstitutional) has sweeping powers over the judiciary and other authorities.

JOE EMERSBERGER: Could you please explain the various legal and constitutional problems with the way Correa is being pursued over the Fernando Balda case?

VIRGILIO HERNANDEZ:The obvious thing about the Balda case is its political functionality, the determined effort to prosecute the former president Rafael Correa for anything at all. The case is in its early stages but the prosecution has already perpetrated a series of irregularities, a series of violations of the institutional norms and of the rule of law that makes it absolutely clear that justice is not their goal. They are not pursuing a credible investigation of the facts. They are basically pursuing political objectives through the prosecution of Rafael Correa on frivolous grounds.

The first irregularity is that, according to our constitution, authorization to prosecute the ex-president should have been received from the National Assembly. In fact, it was requested by Judge Camacho on June 11. Unfortunately, a majority that exists in the assembly is an alliance between the Alianza País party [that Correa and his allies resigned from after they broke with President Moreno] and the Social Cristiano party [right wing legislators] and what did they do? On June 15, they voted through [by simple majority] a resolution saying that the assembly is not competent to respond to the judge’s request. Regrettably, the judge then disregarded her own authority, ignored the Organic Law of the Judicial Function, and followed through with a hearing to move the case forward when what she was supposed to do was demand that the National Assembly comply with her request – to vote on whether or not they authorize the prosecution of former president Rafael Correa [a 2/3 vote in favor is required for the prosecution to proceed]. Here is the first thing that that reveals political animosity, that the rule of law is not respected, that due process and the constitution are not respected.

Second (and this explains a huge blunder that was perpetrated in contextual terms) one must understand why the prosecution of the former president had to be authorized by the National Assembly. It was because the events to which he is being linked happened while he was president. The law says that for prosecution to proceed presidential immunity must first be removed for events that took place while he was in office. That’s the second irregularity.

A third irregularity is that in general a whole slew of authorities in our country are acting illegally. The acting attorney general was appointed by the “Transitional” Citizens Participation Council that has been overhauling the justice system by appointing interim prosecutors and an interim Judicial Council. The acting prosecutor has not been sworn in before the National Assembly as mandated by the constitution. Their authority is completely illegitimate.

A fourth irregularity is that the arguments used to link Rafael Correa to the Balda’s case [the attempted kidnapping] are utterly weak and confirm that there is a political vendetta being pursued against the former president. Let’s quickly go over those arguments.

First, the simple fact that he was president is used to argue that he was criminally responsible. Criminal responsibility is something very personal. It cannot be established that he has criminal responsibility for all acts perpetrated while he was in office. That’s a legal absurdity.

Second, the former president is linked through hearsay, from what other people have claimed, or by remarks attributed to the ex-president saying he wanted to see Balda (who was a fugitive from Ecuador’s justice system at the time) captured. Balda was also engaged in electronic espionage and a permanent destabilization effort against the government. There is not even anything documented that proves what Correa is claimed to have said about the case. It is all second hand.

Third, there are letters from people who are being prosecuted who say they alerted the former president about a kidnapping attempt, but it has been shown that these letters never reached the hands of the president. It’s another argument that turns out to be completely weak. There were people in government expressing interest in bringing Balda back to Ecuador but through legal processes – by getting him deported from Colombia [which he ultimately was]. In Ecuador, Balda had a criminal sentence to serve. The prosecutor goes after Correa even though the only thing that has been demonstrated is that Balda’s legal deportation from Colombia was being pursued. Moreover, former President Correa wasn’t even pursuing it. That was up to the authorities who were in charge of the internal and external security of the state. It’s another of the prosecutor’s arguments that are easily answered. Then there are a number of details having to do with checks that were issued and testimony by one “Raúl Ch”that are dubious, contradictory and undermine the prosecutor’s case.

In short, the arguments the acting prosecutor is using to pursue former President Rafael Correa are absolutely feeble. The judge disregarded the feebleness of those arguments, but additionally the case should not have even been allowed to proceed [without National Assembly authorization] but what they did next is worse. The judge, when determining pretrial conditions for Correa, established measures beyond what the prosecutor himself requested. The prosecutor requested that as a precautionary measure – given that the former president has collaborated with the investigation – that he appear regularly before the Ecuadorean consulate in Belgium. The judge responded in a very questionable way. First, she asked the acting prosecutor to reformulate his request for precautionary measures when that is the prosecutor’s job. She was clearly looking for the prosecutor to request pre-trial detention by arguing that the consulates do not have the competence to receive a person who appears by court order. This argument the judge made is absolutely false since the Foreign Service Law establishes that the consulates can comply with this kind of order from a judge. The penal code itself states that if a judicial authority establishes provisions, authorities of the state in general have to comply. Judge Camacho’s claim that the Foreign Service Law does not give consulates that capacity is completely cynical. It reveals political animosity.

And when she asked the acting prosecutor to reformulate his request – clearly looking for harsher pre-trial conditions – the persecutor reminded her “You have the authority to set them. This is what the Comprehensive Organic Criminal Code says and therefore, if you so order that the consulates are obliged to accept this order you give them “. In the end the judge ordered that Correa must appear periodically [every 15 days] before a court here in the city of Quito even though it is common knowledge that he lives in Belgium. She made the legally inadequate claim that he has two addresses and therefore must periodically appear Quito. Everyone knows he lives in Belgium as he said repeatedly he was going to move to Belgium [where his wife is from] for several months before he finished his final term as president. The judge set an obvious trap for the former president not to appear and thus have an excuse to order pretrial detention.

JE: On social media I noticed that many of Correa’s detractors were totally enraged that judge Camacho requested National Assembly authorization and called for her to be sacked. Do you think she became more extreme in response to media and other pressures? [Moreno’s handpicked “Transitional” Citizens Participation Council appointed an interim Judicial Council which has announced that it will be evaluating all judges and dismissing those who “fail”.]

VH: All these arbitrary acts are possible because, as Noam Chomsky might say, the media has worked hard to “manufacture consent” for the idea that one way or another Correa must be indicted. It is very clear that the media play a central role. This persecution would not be possible without the big media networks and the use of media power.

Both the actions and the aversion shown by the acting prosecutor and the judge during the bond hearing clearly reveal that there will be no objective handling of the case – and also that the context that we live in Ecuador, when there are authorities that are hand-picked without any constitutional legitimacy by the “Transitional” Citizen Participation Council, sets up a scenario of political persecution. We are without a doubt living through “lawfare” here in Ecuador and it is directed towards Rafael Correa and the main leaders of the Citizens Revolution.

Now, what we feared has in fact happened. Correa appeared at the consulate in Belgium, but the judge ruled that this was a violation of his pre-trial conditions and replaced the order to appear in Quito with an order of pre-trial detention. She did all this in one hearing disregarding a requirement for 72 hours’ notice before changing the pre-trial conditions. Her stated justification for doing that was based on “procedural economy”, but in criminal matters one cannot invoke procedural economy if it violates rights as has now been done with Rafael Correa. All these arbitrary acts against the Citizen Revolution are perpetrated with the complicity of the media whose silence over unconstitutional actions are aimed at ending what they call “correísmo”

JE: There was a news article I read in El Telegrafo (a government run newspaper) that basically argued that prosecuting Correa is fine because former President Jamil Mahuad was also prosecuted (in a case that was initiated years before Correa first took office in 2007).

VH: When the judge asked for authorization to prosecute Rafael Correa, she cited the precedent that had previously been used to prosecute Jamil Mahuad. Authorization had also been requested by the national congress of that time. And although the Congress also said that it was not competent, let’s not forget that this decision was made with 2/3 of its members and not as in this case that is taken by a simple majority.

Mahuad’s defense team has argued that his case be dismissed on those grounds [of not being authorized].

JE: Looks to me like they have a valid argument, not that anyone should defend Mahuad’s disastrous policies.

VH: Yes and in fact and that was cited by the judge herself. The organic code of the judicial function is clear that authorization from the assembly is required in this case. It does not allow the judge to accept, as she did in Correa’s case, that the National Assembly returns her request saying it is inappropriate. According to what our legal regulations say, the National Assembly cannot assess whether or not a request from a competent authority (in this case a judge of the national court) is appropriate. It has to comply with what the judge requested. If that is not done, it violates the autonomy and authority of the judiciary if a judge’s order is disregarded.

JE: Do you think Mahuad’s case should have been halted on these grounds? 

VH: I don’t want to go into the details of something that I do not have very clear in my memory. My concern is relating what is happening at this time with the case of former President Rafael Correa.

JE: You were heavily involved with protests by indigenous groups like CONAIE during the 1990s against neoliberal economic policies. I’ve personally noticed since the 2010 coup attempt against Correa that they’ve become quite reactionary. They recently publicly “recognized” Cesar Trujillo, one of Moreno’s key handpicked members of the “Transitional” Council of Citizens Participation.

VH: Since about the end of the 1990s and the beginning of this century I would say what is evident in CONAIE is that a current became dominant that we’d call a “conservative indigenist” current that has put everything into what they call the “ethnic cause” and left aside the causes of social movements and the left in the country. That explains not only what you describe (these tributes to people like Cesar Trujillo) but also that in the last presidential campaign they openly supported the candidate of the oligarchy and the banks, Guillermo Lasso. It is very clear for almost two decades they lost course and have been useful to the oligarchic groups that have always rabidly opposed Rafael Correa and the Citizens Revolution.

JE: How is the new party the movement is working on organizing going to correct the errors that led to people like Lenin Moreno being in positions of leadership?

VH: The first thing we have to do now is to overcome the political blockade. The political persecution we face is seeking to dismantle all the laws and norms of the Citizens Revolution. Second we have administrative persecution that goes through an “acting” comptroller who also works illegally. They persecute many of the leaders of the Citizen Revolution that way. Third, there is a judicial persecution of former President Rafael Correa. The fourth element of persecution that must be identified clearly is the political blockade. So far they are preventing us from being able to organize ourselves politically even though it is a constitutional right. Therefore, before thinking about self-criticism and the mistakes we should not commit, at this moment our main priority is to break the political blockade. We seek legal recognition to be able to participate in the democratic arena. This will allow voters to continue supporting Citizens Revocation against this ongoing persecution we face.

JE: I am going to make a comment and you can tell me if you agree. I would say to Rafael Correa that he not be a martyr, that he seek political asylum so that his voice is not silenced. I think his ability to speak out, even if from afar in a limited way through social media and other venues, is crucial to overcoming the one-sided media landscape Moreno has established inside Ecuador.

VH: Actually, today, in a meeting of the national coordinators the movement – the group of legislators [who remained loyal to Correa] Andean parliamentarians, councilors of the city of Quito and other authorities of the movement – we have asked Rafael Correa not to come to Ecuador. We said conditions for a fair trial do not exist, conditions for due process do not exist and that therefore that he should not come and that he should seek international assistance to protect his security and freedom. We agree with your position and we have publicly expressed one like it.

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Ecuador judge orders arrest of ex-president Rafael Correa

RT | July 3, 2018

The National Court of Justice of Ecuador has ordered the preventive detention of the country’s former president Rafael Correa and requested that Interpol apprehend him for extradition.

The request for Correa’s detention was filed by the country’s chief prosecutor on Tuesday. The prosecution is accusing Correa, who served as the president of Ecuador from 2007 to 2017, of being involved in the kidnapping of Fernando Balda, a former opposition lawmaker, in 2012 in Colombia – charges that Correa vehemently denies.

Balda himself was charged with orchestrating a foiled coup attempt in 2010. The charges were filed when the lawmaker was in Colombia, from where he was eventually deported to Ecuador in 2012 and served a year in prison for endangering state security.

Correa, who is living in Belgium with his family, is up in arms over the court’s ruling, arguing on Twitter that the request to put him in custody was made without “a single piece of evidence.” He believes the extradition does not stand a chance at the international level.

“How much success will this farce have at the international level? Don’t worry, everything is a matter of time. We will win!” he added.

In a string of tweets, Correa thanked his followers for the outpouring of support he received after the news on the international warrant for his extradition broke. “I thank everyone for their solidarity in the face of this new and serious abuse of justice and my rights,” he tweeted, adding that he doesn’t believe Belgium will comply with the request.

“They will seek to humiliate us and make us have a hard time, but such a monstrosity will NEVER prosper in a State of Law like Belgium,” he wrote.

One of the milestones of Correa’s foreign policy became granting asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2012, who has since been holed up in the country’s embassy in London’s Knightsbridge. The move drew anger from the UK and the US, who sought the whistleblower’s arrest.

Correa was replaced in power by his former ally Lenin Moreno in April last year, after a close-call election. At the time, Correa welcomed Moreno’s victory as a “triumph of revolution.”

However, the two have since fallen out, with Correa branding Moreno a “traitor” and “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” after the latter proposed a constitutional referendum to limit the number of presidential terms, thus barring Correa from seeking re-election in 2021. The referendum held on February 4 ended in a victory for the Moreno government, with the majority of Ecuadorians voting to introduce the changes.

Moreno has signaled there will be a U-turn in the South American country’s foreign policy from Correa’s anti-American posture after he signed a security agreement with the US in April of this year.

The new president also took a tougher stance on Assange, calling him “more than a nuisance” and a “hacker,” which is more in line with the rhetoric coming from Washington. Although Moreno agreed to extend Assange’s asylum, the WikiLeaks founder’s Internet access and visitor rights were restricted over what the Ecuadorian government sees as his controversial online political activity.

Since February, Correa has been a host of his own show ‘A Conversation with Correa’ on RT Spanish, where he has interviewed prominent guests from Latin American political circles and beyond. Among those who sat down with the ex-president on the show were Brazilian ex-Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, former Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, Argentina’s ex-leader Cristina Kirchner, American author Noam Chomsky and others.

July 3, 2018 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

Ecuador and Assange

By Craig Murray | January 12, 2018

It is for the government of Ecuador, not the UK, to determine who is an Ecuadorian citizen. It is for the government of Ecuador, not the UK, to determine who is an Ecuadorian diplomat.

It is not in the least unusual for Julian Assange to become an Ecuadorian citizen. Having been granted political asylum, and having lived for over five years under Ecuadorian jurisdiction, naturalisation is a perfectly normal step. There are a great many refugees in this country who are now naturalised UK citizens. Julian appears suitably proud of his new citizenship, and rightly so.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office appears to be putting out a story that it has refused to accredit Assange as an Ecuadorian diplomat. As the Guardian reports:

“Earlier this week the UK’s Foreign Office revealed that Ecuador had asked for Assange, who was born in Australia, to be accredited as a diplomat. The request was dismissed.”

I have no knowledge that the Ecuadorian government ever notified Assange as a member of diplomatic staff of its mission. But it has every right to appoint Assange, now an Ecuadorian citizen, as an Ecuadorian diplomat if it so chooses. Ecuador cannot tell the UK who may or may not be a British diplomat, and the converse applies.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations – to which the UK and Ecuador are both party – is the governing international law and determines the obligations to respect diplomatic immunity. It is crystal clear (Article 4,1) that the need to obtain agreement in advance of the receiving state only applies to the Head of Mission – ie the Ecuadorian Ambassador. For other staff of the mission the sending state (in this case, Ecuador) “may freely appoint” the other members of the mission, (Article 7), subject to provisos in Articles 5,8,9 and 11. Plainly the only one of these which applies in the Assange case is Article 9. Julian Assange is persona non grata – unwelcome -to the UK government. That is a legitimate reply to notification, but comes following the appointment; it does not pre-empt the appointment.

Here is the key point. A member of staff below head of mission can already have entered the country before appointment, and their diplomatic immunity starts from the moment their appointment is notified, and NOT from the moment it is accepted. Article 39 (i) could not be plainer:

1.Every person entitled to privileges and immunities shall enjoy them from the moment he enters
the territory of the receiving State on proceeding to take up his post or, if already in its territory, from
the moment when his appointment is notified to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or such other ministry
as may be agreed.

So to summarise.

There is no requirement for prior approval before arrival of staff below Ambassador, and it is just a notification regime (Article 10). If the FCO is telling the truth and Ecuador notified the UK of its appointment of Julian Assange as a member of diplomatic staff, the UK can only have refused by declaring Assange persona non grata. That does not remove his diplomatic immunity which started the moment he was notified. It continues until he has been given the chance to leave the country in “a reasonable time”. (Article 9.2, and 39.2).

The immunity of envoys has been universally regarded as essential to inter-state relations for thousands of years. The reasons why that immunity must start at notification are obvious if you think it through. The FCO bragging about refusing the alleged Ecuadorian request has been carried in virtually the entire neo-liberal media. Not one article, anywhere, has reflected anything approaching the applicable legal arguments. I am again left wondering whether mainstream media journalists are simply entirely incompetent, or deeply corrupt.

I suppose both.

January 12, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | 5 Comments

Bolivia’s TIPNIS Dispute: How Liberal-Left Alternative Media Becomes a Conveyor Belt for US Regime Change Propaganda

Chicago ALBA Solidarity / November 30, 2017

As has become a standard operating procedure, an array of Western environmental NGOs, advocates of indigenous rights and liberal-left alternative media cover up the US role in attempts to overturn the anti-imperialist and anti-neoliberal governments of Rafael Correa in Ecuador[1] and Evo Morales in Bolivia.

This NACLA article[2] provides an excellent example. Bolivia’s TIPNIS (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Secure) dispute arose over the Evo Morales government’s project to complete a road through the park, opposed by some indigenous and environmental groups.

As is NACLA modus operandi, the article says not one word about US and rightwing funding and coordination with the indigenous and environmental groups behind the TIPNIS anti-highway protests. (This does not delegitimize the protests, but it does deliberately mislead people about the issues involved).

In doing so, these kinds of articles cover up US interventionist regime change plans, be that their intention or not.

NACLA is not alone in what is in fact apologetics for US interventionism. Include the Guardian, UpsideDownWorld, [3] Amazon Watch, so-called “Marxist” Jeffery Weber,[4] Jacobin, ROAR, [5] Intercontinentalcry, Avaaz, In These Times, in a short list of examples. We can add to this simply by picking up any articles about oil drilling in Ecuador’s Yasuni during Rafael Correa’s presidency, or the protests in Bolivia’s TIPNIS and see what they say about US funding of protests, if they even mention it.

This is not simply an oversight, it is a cover-up.

What this Liberal Left Media Covers Up

On the issue of the TIPNIS highway, we find on numerous liberal-left alternative media and environmental websites claiming to defend the indigenous concealing that:

  1. The leading indigenous group of the TIPNIS 2011-2012 protests was being funded by USAID. The Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of the Bolivian East (CIDOB) had no qualms about working with USAID — it boasted on its website that it received training programs from USAID. CIDOB president Adolfo Chavez, thanked the “information and training acquired via different programs financed by external collaborators, in this case USAID”. [6]
  1. The 2011 TIPNIS march was coordinated with the US Embassy, specifically Eliseo Abelo. His phone conversations with the march leaders – some even made right before the march set out — were intercepted by the Bolivian counter-espionage agency and made public.[7]
  1. “The TIPNIS marchers were openly supported by right wing Santa Cruz agrobusiness interests and their main political representatives, the Santa Cruz governorship and Santa Cruz Civic Committee.” [8] In June 2011 indigenous deputies and right wing parties in the Santa Cruz departmental council formed an alliance against the MAS (Movement for Socialism, Evo Morales’s party). CIDOB then received a $3.5 million grant by the governorship for development projects in its communities.
  1. Over a year after the TIPNIS protests, one of the protest leaders announced he was joining a rightwing anti-Evo Morales political party.[9]
  1. The protest leaders of the TIPNIS march supported REDD (Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). The Avaaz petition (below) criticizing Evo Morales for his claimed anti-environmental actions also covered this up. As far back as 2009 “CIDOB leaders were participating there in a USAID-promoted workshop to talk up the imperialist-sponsored REDD project they were pursuing together with USAID-funded NGOs.” [10]

REDD was a Western “environmental” program seeking to privatize forests by converting them into “carbon offsets” that allow Western corporations to continue polluting. That REDD would give Western NGOs and these indigenous groups funds for monitoring forests in their areas.

  1. These liberal-left alternative media and environmental NGOs falsely presented the TIPNIS conflict as one between indigenous/environmentalist groups against the Evo Morales government. (e.g. the TIPNIS highway was “a project universally[!] condemned by local indigenous tribes and urban populations alike”)[11] Fred Fuentes pointed out that more than 350 Bolivian organizations, including indigenous organizations and communities, even within TIPNIS, supported the proposed highway.

CONISUR (Consejo de Indígenas del Sur), consisting of a number of indigenous and peasant communities within TIPNIS, backed by Bolivia’s three largest national indigenous campesino organizations, organized a march to support of the road. They argued that the highway is essential to integrating Bolivia’s Amazonia with the rest of the country, as well as providing local communities with access to basic services and markets. [12]

The overwhelming majority of people in the West who know about the TIPNIS protests, or the Yasuni protests in Ecuador, where a similar division between indigenous groups took place, never learned either from the liberal-left media or the corporate media, that indigenous groups marched in support of the highway or in support of oil drilling.

  1. The TIPNIS conflict is falsely presented as Evo Morales wanting to build a highway through the TIPNIS wilderness (“cutting it in half” as they dramatically claim). There are in fact two roads that exist there now, which will be paved and connected to each other. Nor was it wilderness: 20,000 settlers lived there by 2010.[13]
  1. Anti- highway march leaders actually defended industrial-scale logging within TIPNIS. Two logging companies operated 70,000 hectares within the national park and have signed 20-year contracts with local communities.[14]
  1. They often fail to note that the TIPNIS marchers, when they reached La Paz, sought to instigate violence, demanding Evo Morales removal. Their plot was blocked by mobilization of local indigenous supporters of Evo’s government.

If we do not read Fred Fuentes in Green Left Weekly, we don’t find most of this information. Now, it is true that some of the media articles did mention that there were also TIPNIS protests and marches demanding the highway be built. Some do mention USAID, but phrase it as “Evo Morales claimed that those protesting his highway received USAID funding.”

Avaaz Petition Attacking Evo Morales over TIPNIS

The TIPNIS campaign, which became a tool in the US regime change strategy, was taken up in a petition by Avaaz. It included 61 signing groups. Only two from Bolivia! US signers included Amazon Watch, Biofuelwatch, Democracy Center, Food and Water Watch, Global Exchange, NACLA, Rainforest Action Network.[15]  Whether they knew it, whether they wanted to know it, they signed on to a false account of the TIPNIS conflict, placed the blame on the Bolivian government, target of US regime change, and hid the role of the US.US collaborators in Bolivia and Ecuador are painted as defenders of free expression, defenders of nature, defenders of the indigenous. The US government’s “talking points” against the progressive ALBA bloc countries have worked their way into liberal-left alternative media, which echo the attacks on these governments by organizations there receiving US funds.  That does not mean Amazon Watch, Upside Down World or NACLA are themselves funded by the US government – if it somehow exculpates them that they do this work for free. Even worse, much of this propaganda against Evo and Correa appears only in the liberal-left alternative press, what we consider our press.

The USAID budget for Latin America is said to be $750 million, but estimates show that the funding may total twice that. [16] Maria Augusta Calle of Ecuador’s National Assembly, said in 2015 the US Congress allocated $2 billion to destabilize targeted Latin American countries.[17]

This information, how much money it is, what organizations in the different countries receive it, how it is spent, ought to be a central focus of any liberal-left alternative media purporting to stand up for the oppressed peoples of the Americas.

Yet, as Fuentes points out:  “Overwhelmingly, solidarity activists uncritically supported the anti-highway march. Many argued that only social movements — not governments — can guarantee the success of [Bolivia’s] process of change…. with most articles written by solidarity activists, [they] downplay the role of United States imperialism…. Others went further, denying any connection between the protesters and US imperialism.”[18]

Why do they let themselves become conveyer belts for US regime change propaganda?

Why did this liberal-left media and NGOs let themselves become conveyer belts for US propaganda for regime change, legitimizing this US campaign to smear the Evo Morales government?

Some of it lies in the liberalish refusal to admit that all international issues can only be understood in the context of the role and the actions of the US Empire. As if conflicts related to countries the US deems hostile to its interests can be understood without taking the US role into account. Some liberal-left writers and groups do understand this, just as they do understand they may risk their positions and funding by looking to closely into it.

It seems easier to not see the role the Empire plays and simply present a liberal-left “critique” of the pluses and minuses of some progressive government targeted by the US. That is how these alternative media sources end up actually advocating for indigenous groups and environmental NGOs which are US and corporate funded. They even criticize countries for defending national sovereignty by shutting down these non-governmental organizations, what Bolivian Vice-President Linera exposes as “foreign government financed organizations” operating in their countries.

Some of it lies in the widely held anti-authoritarian feeling in the US that social movements “from below” are inherently good and that the government/the state is inherently bad. The reporting can be informative on social movements in Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia where the people struggle against state repression. But when these social movements in Ecuador or Bolivia were able to win elections and gain hold of some real state power, reporting soon becomes hostile and misleading. “Support social movements when they struggle against governmental power; oppose them once they win government power,” they seem to say. Their reporting slides into disinformation, undermining our solidarity with other struggles, and covering up US regime change efforts. UpsideDownWorld is an excellent example of this.

Some of it lies in what many who call themselves “left” still have not come to terms with: their own arrogant white attitude they share with Western colonizers and present day ruling elites: we know better than you what is good for you, we are the best interpreters and defenders of your socialism, your democracy, your human rights. They repeatedly critique real or imagined failures of progressive Third World governments – targets of the US.

Genuine solidarity with the peoples of the Third World means basing yourself in opposition to the Empire’s interference and exposing how it attempts to undermine movements seeking to break free from the Western domination.

Some of it lies in deep-rooted white racist paternalism in their romanticizing the indigenous as some “noble savage” living at one with nature, in some Garden of Eden. Providing these people with schools, health clinics, modern conveniences we have, is somehow felt not to be in their best interests.

A serious analysis of a Third World country must begin with the role the West has played. To not point out imperialism’s historic and continuing exploitive role is simply dishonest, it is apologetics, it shows a basic lack of human feeling for the peoples of the Third World.

A function of corporate media is to conceal Western pillaging of Third World countries, to cheerlead efforts to restore neocolonial-neoliberal governments to power. However, for liberal-left media and organizations to do likewise, even if halfway, is nothing other than supporting imperialist interference.

[1] https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/16/propaganda-as-news-ecuador-sells-out-indigenous-tribes-and-the-environment-to-china/

[2] https://nacla.org/blog/2017/08/22/why-evo-morales-reviving-bolivia%E2%80%99s-controversial-tipnis-road

[3] http://upsidedownworld.org/main/bolivia-archives-31/4864-bolivias-conamaq-indigenous-movement-we-will-not-sell-ourselves-to-any-government-or-political-party

[4] https://mronline.org/2011/08/20/separating-fact-from-fantasy-in-bolivia-a-review-of-jeffery-r-webbers-from-rebellion-to-reform-in-bolivia/

http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2012/03/28/the-morales-government-neoliberalism-in-disguise/

[5] https://roarmag.org/essays/bolivia-authoritarianism-mas-elections/

[6] Fred Fuentes, Bolivia: Solidarity activists need to support revolutionary process; Rumble over jungle far from over http://links.org.au/node/2611

[7]   http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2012/09/26/end-to-usaid-spying-looms-in-latin-america.html

[8] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2012/03/28/the-morales-government-neoliberalism-in-disguise/

[9] http://www.la-razon.com/nacional/Pedro-Nuni-lideres-regionales-proyecto_0_1946805357.html

[10] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2012/03/28/the-morales-government-neoliberalism-in-disguise/

[11] http://www.coha.org/corrupted-idealism-bolivias-compromise-between-development-and-the-environment/

[12] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2012/03/28/the-morales-government-neoliberalism-in-disguise/

[13] Linda C.  Farthing, Benjamin H. Kohl Evo’s Bolivia: Continuity and Change (2014: 52)

[14] http://links.org.au/node/2611

[15] http://amazonwatch.org/news/2011/0921-appeal-to-bolivian-president-evo-morales-protect-the-rights-of-the-indigenous-peoples-of-tipnis

[16] http://www.globalresearch.ca/usaid-spying-in-latin-america/5306679

[17] http://www.hispantv.com/noticias/ecuador/37659/eeuu-destino-$2000-millones-para-desestabilizar-america-latina

[18] http://links.org.au/node/2611

November 30, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Environmentalism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment