Ecuador: workers caught in bosses’ crossfire

03 February 2024 231 hits

Ecuador, January 31—Workers in Ecuador have found themselves caught between a turf war between drug gangs led by Jose Adolfo Macias, known by the alias “Fito” and the Ecuadorian state headed by new president Daniel Noboa. Workers of course have been the victims of the attacks by both sides of this fight. Gunmen hired by the Cartels have taken hundreds of hostages. They have also taken over a TV station during a live broadcast (an event which has been widely viewed over the internet), killing at least 14 people, and threatening to execute more workers and soldiers.

In response, the government has the country on lockdown, has instituted a curfew, and  seeks to have workers in Ecuador pay for these wars (Reuters, 1/12).  All this, while terrible economic conditions wreak havoc on Ecuadoran workers.  Twenty-five percent of Ecuadorian children lack access to proper nutrition (Institute for Human Rights, 7/9/23).

Ecuador gangs a symptom of capitalism in crisis
The appearance of the government defending its citizens from gangs hides the true essence of the conflict: bosses vying for control of decreasing profits during a crisis of capitalism. Ecuador’s oil-dependent economy is on the decline and its government, like many of the countries who do not benefit as much from imperialist plunder, is not powerful enough to defeat rival non-state capitalists such as the drug gangs. That will not stop capitalist governments like the one in Ecuador from trying to institute higher levels of fascism, while exposing workers to more violence.

In fact, Ecuador’s plans to build new high-security prisons and institute harsher legal penalties for drug possession were inspired by El Salvador’s own recent war on drugs. That war on workers has resulted in 60,000 people being imprisoned in a country of six million, with one in six estimated to be innocent (San Fernando Sun, 3/22/23).  

Bosses in the Philippines have waged their own “war on drugs” since 2016 which resulted in the deaths of 12,000 mostly poor urban workers.

This conflict also shows how the United States and Europe are struggling to maintain order in the countries under their sphere of influence. U.S. ally Ukraine has failed to repel the Russian attacks despite billions of dollars in weapons, Israel continues its genocide of workers in Palestine despite a weak U.S. pressure to reign in the conflict. Recently, China has surpassed the United States as Ecuador’s top trading partner (Al Jazeera 12/19/22).

Communsim is the only solution to imperialist war and violence
As crises of capitalism such as drug violence continue to get worse, and the inter-imperialist rivalry between the United States and China heats up, workers will continue to be exposed to more violence and fascism at the hands of their bosses. The only thing that will save all workers from drug gangs, state gangs and imperialist war is communism, where workers not capitalist war-mongerers actually run society. Join the Progressive Labor Party and let's lead this revolution together!