4 February 2001


In light of the events precipitated by the recent measures that were adopted by the government, the Civil-Society Network participating in the SAPRI initiative has made the following statement. 

1.       The economic model implemented over the last 20 years is neither technically nor politically viable.  A study of the effects of adjustment policies carried out by the SAPRI initiative -- to which the Government of Ecuador and the World Bank are also party -- showed that the application of adjustment policies in our country had truly disastrous consequences on the living conditions of the population, on production and on employment. 

2.       In light of this evidence and the ever greater resistance that the implementation of these policies generates, the majority of social sectors in Ecuador have proposed to government authorities that a broad-based discussion begin in order to analyze the possibility of establishing and implementing economic policies that ensure national development under conditions of equality for all Ecuadorans. 

3.       Recent governments have ignored offers of alternative ideas to overcome the crisis, as well as repeated calls for dialogue.  Throughout 20 years, without any creativity or inventiveness, they have continued to apply adjustment measures, such as those recently implemented, by imposition with the support of the International Monetary Fund and the lone backing from ever smaller business circles.  This explains the profound political isolation in which recent governments have found themselves. 

4.       Certain chambers of commerce, actually very few, request and demand "a hard hand" to repress the indigenous peoples and all those who have been mobilizing.  While they speak of violation of the Constitution and the laws of the country, one should ask with what right they do so, as it is publicly known that many of these sectors consider themselves above the Constitution and the country's laws.  Many of these same sectors have benefited from the application of the neoliberal policies they like to defend, and many are linked to the largest and most scandalous pilfering of the state's resources.  No one is unaware that in Ecuador it is some of these sectors which, when the government does not please their every wish, threaten to separate Guayaquil from the rest of the country, foster discontent and promote mobilizations such as that of the "black ribbons"[1]. 

5.       No where in the world have repression, prison and crime been shown to be effective in containing the discontent and anger of the people.  One need not go far to confirm this, as evidenced by what occurred in Paraguay and in Peru, and what we see occurring daily in Colombia where institutionalized crime has not stopped the historic struggle of the Colombian people. 

6.       This can be an historic opportunity for the government to show sensitivity toward a people who have been hard hit by 20 years of economic adjustment packages.  Nothing would help overcome the current crisis more than a manifestation of comprehension by the government for the demands and aspirations of all the population.  The only real solution to the current political crisis is to convene an open dialogue on the future of Ecuador. 

7.       Our network is committed to contributing so that this dialogue can develop based on reasoning and national interests.  To design and implement a proposal for an alternative national economic program is a long-standing aspiration toward which we and many sectors have been working.  We invite President Gustavo Noboa, Finance Minister Jorge Gallardo and other government authorities to join in this effort.  The challenge is posed.  

On behalf of the Civil-Society Network

Rodrigo Collaguazo, CONFEUNASSC

Fernando Rodriguez, FEDEBAS - G

Byron Coral, Red Sociedad Civil Manabm

Nidia Solis, Federacisn Nacional de Trabajadores Universitarios y Politicnicos del Ecuador


Luz Haro,  Coordinadora Polmtica de Mujeres de Pastaza

Andris Carvache, Comiti de Desarrollo de las Comunidades Fronterizas de Esmeraldas

Ivan Cisneros,  IEDECA


[1] Translator's note: This refers to a demonstration organized in early 1999 by certain business sectors in Guayaquil to demand a bail-out of the banking system.