Ecuador: Promises that Taste like Lies and the Myth of a False Midas

By Liset García on September 19, 2022

Guillermo Lasso

There is a popular saying in Ecuador, naturalized since current President Guillermo Lasso was Minister of Economy in 1998 and 1999 during Mahuad’s government, that the banker bankrupts everything he touches, like the mythical King Midas, but in the opposite direction.

At that time, Lasso was blamed for the banking mess that sank the country, since in his first performance as a banker he was among the main protagonists that forged the bankruptcy of the private financial system and, above all, of the public institutions.

This seems to be the tone of his government: to break the most essential public services in order to hand them over to the private sector and strip Ecuadorians of their rights.

Among the topics of dialogue that indigenous sectors have been holding with the government since last July, this week they have already reached those related to education, health, collective rights and national security, after exceeding in four technical tables the economic issues, the main issue that triggered the protests, the marches to the capital and the national strike that lasted 18 days in June, led by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE).

As scheduled, these roundtables will address in a maximum of 12 days the main problems that have been unresolved for years, aggravated by pandemics.

There are plenty of testimonies of people waiting for surgeries, of elderly people with diseases on their backs, subjected to standing in early morning lines to get a medicine, which they almost never get; men and women clamoring for attention of basics, without getting it, as recently described by journalist Thalia Flores, in

The Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security (IESS) seems to be reaching a terminal stage, pushed by the power groups headed by President Lasso, who seem more interested in causing its bankruptcy by throwing it into the abyss of private hands. The hardship and precariousness of the most disadvantaged sectors continues, including indigenous people, pensioners and others who see their pockets shrinking every day.

The IESS crisis is diagnosed, but the president has not taken any measures to alleviate the situation. Since 2017, the alert was launched that the Health and Pension Funds, would be in ruins in the coming years, so it is difficult to forecast what will happen after that in terms of medical services and monetary income.

In the midst of such panorama, the dialogue between the indigenous peoples and the government continues its agenda, as a result of the Act for Peace signed last June 30, which ended the 18-day national strike, demanding social and economic improvements, but nothing seems to be coming of it in terms of concrete agreements after almost two months of talks.

Indigenous leaders have warned that they will respect the time established for the negotiations, but will resort to new actions if at the end of the agreed upon period concludes without the solutions promised by the Lasso administration.

Meanwhile, at the negotiating tables that have been in operation since last week, they have touched on issues of intercultural bilingual education, self-determination of the peoples but the government seems to be dug in against improvements to the issues that brought people into the streets in June.

What appears to be going on are acts of politicking, false promises, robbery of public funds and blatant lies, with the undisputed leadership of President Lasso, and his proven ability to bankrupt everything he touches, except his own coffers, in an effort to implement neoliberal policies for the benefit of a few, who are “coincidentally” those who have the most.

Liset García is a Cuban journalist and contributor to Resumen Latinoamericano.

Source: Cuba En Resumen