We publish an unofficial translation of the article published in A Nova Democracia, found here.
On 9th of August, Fernando Villavicencio, presidential candidate of Ecuador, was shot three times in the head when he left a political rally at Anderson College in Quito. According to the Ecuadorian press monopolies, around 30 gunshots were fired and around nine people were injured in the attack, including the presidential candidate and two police officers. Last week, Villavicencio denounced threats from the “Los Choneros” cartel, whose dissident group, “Los Lobos” [Translator’s note: means The Wolfs] claimed responsibility for the attack against the presidential candidate.
The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, in a statement made at the dawn of this Thursday, 10/08, decreed a state of exception in the country and stated that the elections will take place in a normal way on 20th of August and that the execution of Fernando Villavicencio is “the best reason to vote and defend democracy”.
Guillermo Lasso, on 17th of May of this year, dissolved parliament and called for new elections in an attempt to prevent his impeachment, whose reasons are serious accusations of embezzlement. Lasso was accused of embezzlement of public money to benefit oil transport contracts. Facing a serious political crisis in Ecuador, Lasso is disapproved by 80% of the population and, with the possibility of being removed from the presidency, he used a measure called “cross death”, which allows the president to govern by decree until the calling of new elections. In other words, a serious political and institutional crisis has settled in Ecuador in recent months. By means of a decree, Lasso approved the reactionary “tax reform” which as in Brazil, does not represent the interests of the popular masses, but represents the guarantee of economic stability to the ruling classes.
This political attack, within such a complex framework of economic, political, institutional and military crisis, is not exclusive to Ecuador. In fact it is a symptom of the accelerated decomposition of the system of exploitation and oppression in whole Latin America.
In the subcontinent, hunger increased by 13.2 million people, reaching a total of 56.5 million in 2021, according to the report “Regional Panorama of Food and Nutritional Security in Latin America”, produced by the United Nations (UN) for Food and Agriculture (FAO) and released at the beginning of the year. Furthermore, more than 131 million people cannot afford to eat in a healthy way. The Latin America and Caribbean region’s total debt rose to $5.8 trillion – or 117% of GDP in the whole region over the past year. During the pandemic, public debt increased to more than 70% of GDP in Latin American nations.
The crisis of imperialism in the subcontinent does not stop here. In data from the 2022 Preliminary Balance Sheet of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean, released by the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean [Translator’s note: Comisión Económica Para América Latina y el Caribe – CEPAL], the deceleration of the economy in Latin America is estimated that will reach a rate of 1.3%. In addition, this year the projected GDP growth rate released by the World Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean will reach 1.4% and inflation will reach 9.9%.
With the deepening of the economic crisis, the political and social crisis in Latin America are growing. The survey released this year by Latinobarómetro analyzed the political situation in 17 countries and concluded that Latin America is experiencing a “democratic recession”, pointing to indexes of political instability and the increasing of far-right regimes. In a report, the organization points out that among these 17 countries, 21 presidents were convicted of corruption and 20 did not complete their terms. Other presidents, by applying measures of greater political centralization in the Executive wanted to continue in the government but actually they deepened the political instability, for example in the case of Lasso in Ecuador.
According to the survey, dissatisfaction with the so-called “democracy” affects around 69% of people who answered the survey, while aversion to coups and military regimes affects around 61% of Latin Americans and 63% of Brazilians. For this reason, in the last ten years there have been explosions of violent popular uprisings in Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Brazil (2013). Reality and data clearly shows that the political system cannot maintain the stability of the old order.
Such situation explains the degree of general economic and political crisis that has devastated the world today, especially in Latin America, which emerges as one of the weakest links in the chain of imperialism’s domination. We are not living in times of world peace and democracy, and cases like the murder of Villavicencio, a presidential candidate, prove this.