Last Sunday, a landslide hit Alausí, a city in the Andean region of Ecuador after heavy rains. According to the media, 17 have died and 72 remain missing. At least 650 people were affected by the disaster, and 57 houses have been reported as destroyed. Additionally, the drinking water resources have been contaminated.
El Frente de Defensa de las Luchas del Pueblo of Ecuador [The Front for the Defense of People’s Struggles] issued a statement denouncing the crimes of the state towards the people. They write that the local people in Alausí had multiple times contacted the mayor’s office, prefecture and state agencies which monitor accidents and catastrophes about their concerns regarding the instability of the ground. All these concerns were ignored until it was too late. Additionally, the media reports that the Alausí risk management office had issued a report which noted cracks on the ground and uprooted vegetation, and noted a high risk for a massive landslide. However, the office only recommended further study of the issue.
After the loss of lives, the president of Ecuador, the banker Guillermo Lasso, hesitantly visited the city. The masses protested the visit, surrounding the presidential vehicle as he was escorted to a meeting. “People had to die for you to come!” they shouted and demanded solutions and answers. The police answered with tear gas and beating up the protesters. Lasso could only make empty promises and say that “this is not the time to establish personal responsibilities” to dodge the blame.
El Frente de Defensa de las Luchas del Pueblo states: “The relatives of the victims of the disaster stayed in Alausí without their loved ones, with many dead to bury, other victims to find; with their properties totally destroyed, but also humiliated and repressed by a criminal police trying to defend the integrity of a miserable banker whose life has no more weight than the feather of a vulture.
How much pain for our people! How much misery! All to sustain the vanity of a comprador bourgeois who, in addition to being corrupt, a delinquent linked to drug cartels, he has become a murderer by omission and complicity.
The Front for the Defense of People’s Struggles expresses all its class solidarity to the masses of Alausí in the face of the critical situation they are going through.”