One of the critiques of the FLOK transition process is it association with the government in Ecuador. While no country or government is perfect and without contradictions, it has to be pointed out that this particular government has specific social achievements on its account, that are quite exceptional in a comparative perspective. Following a discussion on this topic, IAEN researcher Ricardo Restrepo compiled some of the more remarkable statistics on the achievements of the government that was issued from the Citizen’s Revolution in 2007, under the presidency of Rafael Correa:
The government of the Citizens’ Revolution (2007-present) found great social problems to attend in the state it inherited, in what can be characterized as a neoliberal minimal democracy (1981-2006), characterized by systematic “upwards redistribution” of the resources that guarantee rights from the poorer to the most affluent. During this period there was:
Rising poverty rates, reaching 64% in 1999, according the UN ECLAC.
Rising inequality. Below is a graph of GDP distribution by year which shows this, with data from the World Bank.
Fuente: Banco Mundial
QUINTIL 1 (MÁS POBRE)
QUINTIL 5 (MÁS RICO)
The homicide rate, the extreme form of rights violations, constantly rose from 6.4 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in 1980 to 17,79 in 2006 (UNDOC, 2012; Ministerio Coordinador de la Seguridad, 2013; Fundar, 2005). This means that between 1980 and 2006, la the homicide rate rose 178%.
Banking interests had a significant control and ownership of the state and the media (Checa Godoy 2012).
50% of the banks had recently collapsed and bankers had fled with the people’s money.
Some of the lowest public approval and trust ratings of public institutions in the hemisphere. For instance, by 2005 trust of government was only 24%, of the president 14%, 10% for Congress and only 14% of the people is satisfied with democracy (Latinobarometro).
The years 1997-2007 had seen three elected presidents overthrown by massive popular uprisings, and 11 heads of state, including a short lived military junta.
The government of the Citizens’ Revolution found great challenges to fulfill its mandate to pay the “social debt” left by last governments, since its coming to hold elected state power, including the following:
Massive illegal and illegitimate foreign debt obtained by passed administrations.
Oil contracts whose terms benefited foreign companies instead of the state on a 7 to 1 ratio.
Massive tax evasion.
Critical sovereignty threats raised by coopted sectors of the security forces, and the Manta US military base.
The means of communication where controlled and owned by bankers who had just taken over an additional 10% of the country’s wealth, limiting the voices of the oppressed and the social organization against the ruling institutions and people.
Collapse of the mayor external sectors of remittances and oil by 79% in 2008.
A corrupt peripheral capitalist state apparatus.
Some of the most mayor actions to change the state into a democracy of rights and justice in this hostile environment have been:
Making a new rights and justice oriented Constitution, through a participatory process.
Applying tax norms, with the effect of almost tripling tax collection, from $4,860 millions in 2006 to $9,510 millions in 2011, and 12,513 millions in 2013 (SRI, 2014).
Restructuring the public foreign debt, saving the nation $7,500 million.
Renegotiating the oil contracts with multinationals so that the state now collects about 87% of oil income.
Controlling and regulating the financial sector, including having them insure themselves, repatriating 60% of their assets, lowering interest rates and breaking their control of the media (they now cannot own any of it). (There is an interesting Wiki Leaks disclosure about this here: https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/04QUITO2740_a.htm).
Doubling the minimum wage, along with preventing companies from claiming profits before paying a living wage to all employees.
Closing the US military control of the Manta base.
Massive expansion of accessible credit, especially public credit for housing, which has decreased the housing deficit by 10%.
Increasing, sometimes doubling spending on education, eliminating costs for people, building infrastructure and human talent; security; and health.
Building 8 hidroelectric plants to change the productive energy matrix, from the fossil fuel dominated one.
The social effects to create this new state have been:
Sharp decline in poverty rates, among the sharpest in the region, according the UN Economic Comission for Latin America, from 42% to 32%.
Reverting the trend toward inequality, seen in the gini index:
Índice de concentración de Gini (CEPAL)
Among the top countries improving human development measured by HDI, by the UN, with increases by 33% in vaccination rates, and doubling the rates of access to health services.
Unemployment at the record low of 4%. Employment rates rose from 34.2% in 2007 to the national record of 42.3% in 2012.
Doubling the rates of social security affiliation.
Decreasing homicide rates by 33%.
Record social, economic and political stability—eventhough powerful forces have opposed the transformations, of which the 2010 failed coup is an expression.
There is state media and community media (by right 34% of electromagnetic spectrum for the latter)
After being at the bottom, approval of the state and leaders highest in the region and world. See Latinobarometro and Mitofsky figures, whose people rank the Ecuadorian state, institutions and leaders as the most efficient, trusted, and democratically approved, hovering in national approval ratings between 65% to 90%. Their reasons are the economic and policy of the Correa administration, according the best public opinion study on it (Moncaggatta 2012). (This while the loudest media and academic voices are of opposition).