Paola Pabón is a political leader of Revolución Ciudadana which was able to defeat the current media and institutional attack against the Ecuadorian political left.
Her candidacy for the very important prefecture of Pichincha was the most voted for, from that moment becoming one of the main leaders of the progressive field of the South American country.
We talked to her about her work at the head of the prefecture of Pichincha, her vision on the current politics in Ecuador and the South American geopolitics.
“Our commitment, as militants of Revolución Ciudadana, was and will be to return the hope, to regain the country, generate productive processes to create job opportunities, so diminished for the application of the FMI plan through the central government of Lenín Moreno.“
What is the job of the prefect of Pichincha?
My fundamental task, as the constitution and law that regulates us orders, is to manage the province of Pichincha, take on the jurisdiction in the social, economic and cultural management. At the same time I assume the coordination with the local cantonal and parochial governments with which we define the public policies, the budget and also some actions of territorial administrative order. And I have proposed myself a strategic task: the development of the productive sector. The project is called Productive Pichincha, for the stimulus of the small companies, the entrepreneurship, the popular and solidarity economy and the wealthy generation, employment and welfare.
What difficulties are you finding to carry out your job?
In the first instance we received an immobilised institución with administrative processes loaded with impediments, with a committed budget by the previous administration by 96%, which leaves little margin to start some of our plans that are proposed by our Government plan.
But at the same time we have some tasks which we can develop with local governments, which we already did by approving this year’s budget unanimously, as well as some coordination actions to preserve our nature, because Pichincha is an affected area. We managed, for example, to declare the area named Chocó Andino a biosphere reserve, free from metallic mining. This is very important for the conservation of our species of flora and fauna, but also because it produces large quantities of oxygen.
Will you be capable of doing what was promised in the campaign?
Of course, our presence in the election campaign (plagued with difficulties and impediments to allow us to participate) was for proposing what we could do and what we will do. Our compromise, as militants of Revolución Ciudadana, was and will be to return the hope, take back the country, to generate productive processes to create jobs, so diminished by the application of the FMI plan as part of the central government of Lenín Moreno.
We are working with social organisations, with local governments, as I already said. But above all we have a technical and political team of high level, so that our institution works in favour of the poor and to create the conditions for the production and the development of tourism and governability.
Is the persecution against leaders of Revolución Ciudadana like Jorge Glas and Rafael Correa justified?
No persecution is justified, unless it is against an organised crime or proven corruption, guaranteed the rights and due process. What they do with our top leaders only has one objective: annihilate them politically because they pose the biggest threat to the oligarchic right wing, to the real powers, to the FMI and the possibility of recovering the sovereignty and to work for the Latin American integration.
In Ecuador we have never before lived a persecution of such magnitude, with the consent of the institutions that are obliged to defend our rights and with private means brewing and forging supposed evidence, accusations and documents. There is no doubt that behind all this is the right wing social cristians and christian democrats that sustains Moreno, which monopolise the control and regulation institutions to favour his businesses and plans to win the presidential elections of 2021. This is why they are ordering the imprisonment of Jorge Glas with an overridden criminal code, they set up criminal trials against Rafael Correa, pressuring supposed whistleblowers and witnesses, just like they judge Ricardo Patiño for a speech in an internal reunion of our movement.
How do you rate the government of Lenín Moreno?
There is no need to talk much about what he does because as a government he has dedicated himself to rather destroy what Rafael Correa did. Without a doubt it is the worst government of our recent history, of a shockingly inefficient administrative, but above all subdued to the USA, the business and financial corporations of Ecuador. And that is why the surveys show a terrible approval: only between 14 and 16% of the population believe him and approve of his management. Never before has a president fallen so low in the surveys. Furthermore, in the whole world’s mind, the synonym for traitor is Lenín Moreno.
“What they do with our top leaders only has one objective: annihilate them politically because they constitute the biggest threat to the right wing oligarchy, to the real powers, to the FMI and to the possibility of recovering the sovereignty and to work for the Latin American integration.”
About what recently happened with the CPCCS you think that…
It is another violation to the constitution, shameless and only possible by a sensational campaigning by the media, of the government and of some leaders of opposition. There is not one article in the constitution that justifies this disqualification. The reason was that those four councillors were correístas. They aren’t, they got there by public vote, with around one million votes each and they are now being dismissed by 84 assembly members. The objective is to annihilate any possibility of reviewing what the transitory council did where as well as violating all the procedures, they installed nefarious characters who were linked to the oligarchic and media apparatus of the country in the control entities, out of the transparent contests and with citizen oversight.
With what they have just done they strengthen the deinstitutionalisation that Ecuador lived, thanks to the rigged referendum in February 2018. The whole world must know that without a verdict of the Constitutional Court, a referendum was convened to violate the constitution and since that date they have “decaffeinated” our constitution and the right wing characters have attributed functions to themselves, to how they say, “descorreizar” the country.
Do you consider the support from Ecuador to Juan Guaidó correct?
Ecuador doesn’t support him, only the government and the most stubborn right wing. The Venezuelans’ problems must be resolved by them, without intermission by any other nation. If there are institutions and its representatives must assume their responsibilities, but they should never attribute functions as an order from the USA and all the countries that pretend to impose a political agenda in Venezuela with the sole purpose of becoming owners of the natural resources. We aspire to dialogue and peace, we don’t want more sanctions and harassment against the Venezuelan people.
Has Macri shown that the neoliberal model is a failure?
Mauricio Macri has demonstrated that his management has only favoured the money outflow, the looting of public funds and immeasurable enrichment of the most powerful elite. The numbers notify the economic breakdown that happened in these 3 years and not in the management of Cristina Fernández. They wanted power for this and now the people have punished them in the elections and surely we’ll yet again have Cristina Fernández in power and Alberto Fernández administering a stripped country and with many difficulties to re-establish the democracy and the well-being in this beautiful country, which we love so much and with which we are prepared to also recover the Unasur and all the integration processes.
Without Rafael Correa, who could be at the front of the ballot paper in 2021 as part of the Revolución Ciudadana?
For now it is a theme that doesn’t occupy as much as generating a great alliance between the democratic and progressive forces. We don’t lose hope that Rafael Correa will be on the ballot paper of 2021, legally, even now, he is not prohibited, but they will do everything in order to deny him his right to be chosen In all the polls, if the presidential elections were to be held today, Rafael would win the first round. This already says a lot.
What are the 3 urgent measures that should be taken from the executive power to improve the current situation of the country?
If we return to the power it would be enough to apply the Montecristi Constitution to take the country forward, but it is also true that it wouldn’t be easy because we have powerful adversaries. Therefore, they are not only administrative measures, but above all counting on an ample support base that guarantees the application of the constitution without interference from real powers, nor any other country.
“Ecuador doesn’t support Juan Guaidó, only the government and the most stubborn right wing. Venezuelans’ problems must be resolved by them, without intermission by any other nation. If there are institutions and its representatives they must assume their responsibilities.”
Would you be willing to lead the left in the elections of 2021?
I am the prefect of Pichincha until 2023 and I want to fulfil my management in favour of my people. As a responsible militant of the left wing, I will be wherever my movement puts me. If we must guarantee the return of the Revolución Ciudadana and I must work from the core, organising people, enabling us together, I will be there. I work everyday to make my management better in the prefecture, but I also give a good part of my time to the political organisation and I hope that it will contribute to the promotion of new elements and leaders in all territories. That would be my role, not to lead.
What is expected for Latin America now that fascist leaders are in power in Brazil and Honduras?
Donald Trump leads the neo fascism from the USA and from there down there is a sequence that the embassies articulate with the leaders of the local right wing members. Jair Bolsonaro, in less than a year of management, also has low qualifications and the people feel the need to recover the PT programme. But the worst thing that happens in Brazil, Honduras, USA, or in Chile or Peru is that misogyny, homophobia and aporophobia is being normalised. Being poor, native, mixed, black and a woman is the biggest sin in the eyes of those right wingers. What is happening with the Mexican and Central American migration in USA is only comparable to what Hitler did with the jews. And what Bolsonaro does is no different.
Latin America will know how to process all this to recover the social organisation and to defend the rights of all, without discrimination of skin colour or social origin. That is what our leaders did such as Lula, Chavez, Correa and Cristina, and is continued to be done by Evo Morales and Nicolas Maduro
Does Venezuela bring positive experiences for the latin american progressivism?
I think that there are two experiences that are the key to understand: the popular organization to defend their political process and also, why not, a big institutional strength to defend the sovereignty, not submitting to the political and financial hegemonies. The cost is high. But at the same time, we must review, when the aggression and blocking cease, how we can guarantee an economic process that avoids the dependence on the external sector and on oil.
What Nicolás Maduro has had to live has been cruel, but he could not have resisted how he does it without a strong and well articulated popular political organisation and that is what Hugo Chavez left behind as a legacy which must teach us to think how the big revolutionary epics defend themselves.
Translated by: Paola Zabala, from Revolution Forever London.