Picture by Charlie Perez and used with permission under Creative Commons.
Ecuador is much more than just a country with beautiful scenery and delicious food and drink. It also has its share of problems, and unfortunately the image of the country is falling the eyes of some. There is still hope, and as blogger Pedro Freile of Dentro de Tus Llagas [es] points out, Ecuadorans dream of a different country:
Entonces, discúlpenme si soy tan… digamos, negativo. Pero quisiera un país como el que soñaron Maldonado, Espejo, García Moreno. No este puñado de vulgaridades y peleas intestinas. Un país católico, un país de hermanos.
So excuse me if I am so … let's say, negative. But I want a country like that dreamed of by Maldonado, Espejo, García Moreno. Not this handful of vulgarities and intestinal fights . A Catholic country, a country of brotherhood .
These thoughts followed the events that took place in the city of Guayaquil this past week when the Mayor of Guayaquil called for all people living in his province to come out and protest against the new tax reform recently approved by the National Constituent Assembly. Critics called the reform a marvel of 21st century socialism. Juan José Malo, is the Chief of the Ecuadorian-American Chamber of Miami and writes about this confusing situation involving the tax reform [es]:
Esta Asamblea ahora redacta leyes, como la anteriormente expuesta, y se apresta a redactar otras, que inevitablemente surgirán de un proceso viciado que tarde o temprano podrá anular lo actuado, ya que son leyes emitidas sin estudio previo a su efecto en la sociedad, generando más caos y profundizando el limbo jurídico en el que ahora se desenvuelve nuestra patria.
This Assembly is now drafting laws, as set forth herein, and is preparing to write another, which inevitably arise from a flawed process that sooner or later may cancel the proceedings, because these laws are issued without prior study of its effect on the society, generating more chaos and deepening the legal limbo in which it operates right now our home country.
On January 24th, along the Avenue 9th of October in the principal port of Guayaquil, Ecuador, nearly 100 thousand people congregated to asking for an Autonomous Guayaquil [es]. Many attended because they wanted to be there, but others were asked to come because they worked for businesses associated with Guayaquil's Mayor Jaime Nebot and therefore, were required to be there. Rafael Mendez Meneses [es], who is a blogger living close to Guayaquil, in a small city called Naranjal, writes:
…No olvide ir a la marcha socialcristiana en la que empieza la lucha contra la autonomía (la otra marcha fue finalmente usada para otros fines, y no se sorprenda si esta también) favor llevar banderas grandes para que en las fotos aéreas no se vea vacía la calle.
…Do not forget to go to the Social Christian march, which begins the fight against autonomy (the other march was eventually used for other purposes, and don't be surprised if this will be, as well) Please, carry large flags for the aerial pictures so that the streets do not look empty.
Ecuadorans are divided along three well-marked cultural territories. One is the coasts for people living next to beaches and with temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius, the Sierra with people living away from the Ecuadoran coast and containing very cold climate and finally, the Orient dedicated mainly for those in jungle region. Most presidents in Ecuador have been elected from Guayaquil or Quito, and very few from other provinces. What's going on now is that Guayaquil's mayor and Ecuador's President are from the very same city and have a lot in common. The government's counter-march contained approximately the same quantitiy of people present. Humberto Cholango [es] from the Ecuarunari organization, calls to support the Constituent Assembly and on behalf of his fellows indigenousm he writes and says:
La oligarquía ecuatoriana con ayuda internacional ha iniciado el ataque y agresión al proceso de cambio social y amenaza a la Asamblea Constituyente con la marcha de hoy en la ciudad de Guayaquil. Detrás del discurso “prudente” del Alcalde Nebot,… se esconden los represores y torturadores del gobierno de León Febres Cordero, los responsables de la crisis bancaria de 1999 que se robaron más de 7 mil millones de dólares de los ahorristas, los que se aprovecharon y siguen aprovechando de las privatizaciones petroleras, agua y de las concesiones mineras…
The Ecuadorian oligarchy with international assistance has initiated the attack and aggression on the process of social change and threatens the Constituent Assembly with the march today in the city of Guayaquil. Behind the “prudent” speech of Mayor Nebot, … the oppressors and torturers of the government of Leon Febres Cordero hide, who are responsible of the banking crisis of 1999, when they stole more than 7 billion dollars from the savings accounts of many, they exploited and continue taking advantage of oil privatization, water and mining concessions…
Galo Lara [es] is an Assemblyman for the Constituent representing the province of Los Rios. In his blog, he also mentions the progression of events in Guayaquil:
Si el bloque oficialista, y el mismo Gobierno se imaginaron, que Ecuador entero los respalda, la Marcha de Guayaquil les dice a todos ellos, que los actos que estàn cometiendo no van a quedar en la impunidad
If the official block, and the Government believe that they have the support of the entire country, then the march of Guayaquil said that the acts they are committing are not going to remain with impunity
One of the bloggers who happend to live near the site of the march, the Avenue 9 of October, tells his very own story about the manifestations. He concedes, all people living over this avenue will have to get accustomed to these kind of events. Guillermo Sornoza of El Ecuador de Hoy [es] writes:
Muchos que estuvieron tampoco están de acuerdo con las fundaciones oscuras. Un tanto más no les cae bien Nebot, pero peor les cae Correa. Sea cual fuere la convicción, el hecho es que hay que notar que todavía el presidente, y sobre todo, su carácter y comportamiento, genera rechazo.
Many of who were at the march were not in agreement with the dark forces. Even if they do not like Nebot, they like Correa even less. So whatever their beliefs, the fact remains is that it must be noted that even the President, and above all his character and behavior generates rejection.
But not everyone supports the Mayor and his political party “List Six” or supports President Correa. There are people who prefer neither side, and declare themselves in favor or against any of these two politicians: Trying to get her off course, Fatima Ifegenia [es] for example, in her personal blog says she's not against the goverment but neither against the List 6, political party of Jaime Nebot. She admits the ‘reasons’ why she was present at the demonstration:
No soy anticorreista consumada, de hecho, considero que el gobierno ha tomado algunas medidas correctas. Tampoco soy pro Social Cristiana (¿existe todavía ese partido?). Sin embargo, estuve ayer en la marcha de apoyo a Nebot y de oposición a Correa. ¿Por qué? Porque me ofrecieron un puesto en el Municipio.
Totalmente falso, fui porque quise ir, sin ninguna presión de ninguna clase, solo la de mi indignación.
I am not consummately Anti-Correa, in fact, I believe that the government has taken some correct steps . Nor am for the Social Cristians (Does that party still exist?). However, I was at the march yesterday in support of Nebot and in opposition to Correa. Why? Because I was offered a job in the municipality.
Totally fake. I went because I wanted to, not press at all, the only press was my anger.
From northeastern part of Ecuador, Phantom pokes fun at and laughs about what's going on in the political arena [es] and asks:
Y hablando de panzones con aires de grandeza ¿no les cabrea la “medición de fuerzas” entre Nebot y Correa?. A la mayoría sí, nos cabrea, pero también hay harta, hartísima gente (de acuerdo a las multitudinarias marchas de lado y lado) que apoya a uno o al otro.
And speaking of fat cats with their arrogance: Don't you get angry with “the testing of might” between Nebot and Correa? The majority yes, we're angry, but there are also too, a lot of people (according to the countless demonstrations side-by-side), which supports one or the other.
We are going to conclude this round up, with the thoughts of an intellectual working for the SUNY at New York who has a great blog and doesn't miss a single event related to his country. Fernando Iturburu [es], says that not all politicians fight as the lords in the UK Congress. The Ecuadorians are thoughtful and love to show off with their language. He extensively explains:
Nosotros, tan acostumbrados a creernos superiores, seguramente pensamos que nuestros ex-abruptos corresponden a las finezas verbales de los lores ingleses, que discuten en el Parlamento en medio de risas y hábil manejo retórico en forma de punteo-contrapunteo verbal. Pues no, lo siento: NO somos así. Lo nuestro es más brutal, más ciego, más autoritario, más vulgar e ignorante. Y eso es un problema que los líderes hacen cada día mayor.
We are so used to think of ourselves as superiors, certainly we think that our behaviour corresponds to the finest of England's Lords, who discuss in Parliament amid laughter and skillful management in the form of rhetorical verbal pointing and counterpointing. Well, no, I am sorry: we are NOT like thatl. Ours is more brutal, more blind, more authoritarian, more vulgar and ignorant. And this is a problem that the leaders become worse and worse.