Saturday, November 24, 2007

Acosta: The Gloves Are Off

Well, Alberto Acosta, propective President of the Constituent Assembly, and the Minister of Government, Gustavo Larrea, have come out very plainly on their vision of the CA and its powers: Anyone or any institution that seeks to oppose the CA or interfere with it in any way will be removed from office or shutdown, by force, if need be.

These two guys take the view that the Ecuadorian people have granted the CA plenipotentiary powers to do as they wish. I've said in earlier posts that this position is in direct contradiction to the statute establishing the CA (and approve by the same Ecuadorian people), which says that any and all work of the CA must be approved by Ecuador in a plebescite to be held after the CA has completed its labors. (Question - again: Assuming Acosta and his allies don't try and weasel out of the statute-mandated plebescite, what happens if the Ecuadorian people decide that no, they're not willing to go along with a radical left Constitution?) The logic and safeguard mechanism of that plebescite notwithstanding, Acosta y cia have been clear that they care not one whit for that part of the statute, and that they'll let no one stand in their way.

Since Acosta (and behind him, of course, Correa) his allies (Acuerdo Pais) hold 80 of the 130 seats in the CA, and since most people hold the only entity that's spoken out against their dissolution (the Congress) in the lowest regard, it's clear that there will be no substantive opposition to Acosta and his agenda from outside of the CA.

I put it that way because the Ecuadorian people are so used their poltical elite doing whatever they want (and the elite are now people like Acosta, Correa, and Acuerdo Pais), that they won't do anything.

However, the reason I added the phrase "outside of the CA", is that if any substantive opposition to Acosta and his agenda arises at all, it will come from within the AP group of 80 in the CA. Ecuadorian political figures are famously egotistical, undisciplined, and rancorous, but those same cantankorous qualities might very well help opponents (within the CA) soften or stop enactment of Acosta's agenda of failed ideas (examples: directed credit lines, expropriation of property, "guaranteed" jobs, national government management of education systems oil production, etc.).

Another possible opponent to Acosta, oddly enough, is Correa himself. Quite a few Ecuadorians have commented that Correa's rhetoric and actions differ significantly (a good example has been his threats to reneg on debt service commitments while he's continued making every debt payment to date, without fail). Specifically many people have expressed the suspicion that Correa is actually more conservative in his political thinking than he lets on. I think there's something to that suspicion, Correa's snuggling with Chavez and gring0-bashing notwithstanding. In short, I and others are beginning to suspect that Correa is something of a closet Tory.

If those suspicions prove correct, Correa and Acosta could very well butt heads on a variety of subjects during the CA process. I sure hope they do, and I hope that the AP people revert to normal Ecuadorian political conduct during the CA; it'll help keep Ecuador from repeating failed politico-economic experiments of yesteryear, both here in Ecuador and elsewhere in Latin America.