HAVANA TIMES — Two years ago, Ivette Sosa Frutos and I co-wrote a text which sketched out a balance of Ecuador’s “Citizen’s Revolution.”  In it, we acknowledged its important achievements – the handling of macroeconomic issues, its public administration and social policies – while warning of the authoritarian and populist tendencies of Rafael Correa’s leadership. For better and for worse, time has proven both our perspectives right.
Because of the professional and civil background of its bureaucracy, Correa’s leadership has been infinitely superior to other progressive movements – and to Cuba – in terms of its “administration of things.” In terms of “governing human beings,” however, and without (yet) having reached anything comparable to what we see among its regional allies, Ecuador appears to be moving towards the undermining of rights and institutions that are basic in any democracy: the right to associate, demonstrate and express one’s opinions. We are not referring to the “rights of the Right” exclusively, but to a curtailment of social autonomy and the right to protest.
Today, the same indigenous, environmental and urban movements that once faced up to neo-liberal governments are rallying in Quito and several other regions of the Andean country. In addition to repressive measures and the Ecuadorian government’s refusal to engage in talks, they are meeting with the simplistic and complete dismissal of a segment of the regional Left (which portrays them as agents of imperialism) and local mass media (including Telesur). Others, including renowned figures and academic institutions addicted to post-colonial and allegedly emancipatory rhetoric – simply remain quiet.
One is tempted to ask the “comrades” and colleagues who maintain these postures the following: how long will you go on believing that repression is reprehensible only when (regrettably) practiced by the Right? Why do you continue to announce that, after decades of failed guerrilla movements and bloody dictatorships, you have truthfully accepted the value of democratic culture? What moral authority do we have to condemn Latin American oligarchs when, in a little over decade of progressive leadership, the means of exercising power have been as uncivil as those of the fascists and bankers?
The Left – through its struggles, projects and hopes – is needed to push a continent replete with State and market authoritarianism – as well as people who have been deprived of their rights, from Ayotzinapa to San Cristobal, through the streets of Havana to the mines of Peru.
Not everything is lost, as revealed by the stance of the largest network for Latin American studies in the world before the threat to deport academic and activist Manuela Picq,  or by the solidarity shown by prestigious progressive intellectuals in light of the threats leveled at renowned NGOs by the Bolivian president.  The truth, freeing us from dogma and complicity, is finding its way. That is why I believe there is no reason to abjure or be ashamed of our left-wing ideas about democracy, progress and social justice.