When a state of emergency in Ecuador's prison system was declared in 2007, municipal leaders in Guayaquil built the country's first “supermax” prison, La Roca, for the administrative segregation of inmates considered a security threat. I suggest that administrative curtailment of access to these so-called “worst of the worst” prisoners merits legal comparisons with the juridical status of detainees in US “black site” facilities, the inter-American drug wars now paralleling the global war on terror insofar as prisoners' rights are concerned. Contrasting my brief visit to La Roca with political-economic and media analysis, my article draws two conclusions: (1) that limited physical access to prisoners, stimulated by administrative “zones of legal silence”, demands an ethnographic focus on daily conditions of prison life using inconsistencies in administrative rhetoric; and (2) that measures to securitize the prison system have augmented prison directors' powers to coerce inmates and to confound understandings of their living conditions.
On prison securitization and its zones of legal silence
The Ecuadorian indigenous movement emerged just as the binaries that once defined the Indian/white boundary became acknowledged internal polarities of indigenous society. In this article, I argue that these divergences energized indigenous communities, which built material infrastructure, social networks, and political capital across widening gaps in values and incomes. They managed this task through a kind of vernacular statecraft, making the most of list making, council formation, and boundary drawing. As the movement shifts into electoral politics, the same community politics that launched it now challenges the national organization. As they work to define a coherent national program, the principal organizations of the national movement must reproduce the local contacts and relations among communities that made Ecuador's indigenous pluriculturalism such a potent presence in the 1990s.
The (Re)Configuration of a Transit Country
Soledad Álvarez Velasco
Unlike other transit countries, Ecuador’s position as a transit country has just begun to be publicly addressed, having been more of a strategic public secret than a topic of public interest. Based on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2015 and 2016, this article discusses the dynamics of the (re)configuration of Ecuador as a transit country used by both immigrants and Ecuadorean deportees mainly from the United States to reach other destinations. It argues that this process should be interpreted in light of a series of historical and political elements in tension. The article suggests that the subtle presence of the United States’ externalized border, together with national political inconsistencies, have a repressive as well as a productive effect, which has functioned to produce a systemic form of selective control of transit mobility.
Estrategias transnacionales de ciudadanos cubanos residentes en Ecuador
Liudmila Morales Alfonso and Liosday Landaburo Sánchez
tercero, las relaciones de los migrantes con su país de origen. También en 2008 Ecuador aprueba la Constitución de Montecristi, que consagró el principio de ciudadanía universal y libre movilidad. Entre otros motivos, para fomentar el turismo, se elimina
Labor and petroleum in Ecuador
Gabriela Valdivia and Marcela Benavides
This article analyzes the struggles of the petroleum labor movement against the neo-liberalization of the petroleum industry in Ecuador. Though originally focused on defending collective bargaining rights, since the 1990s the movement has put forward a populist, nationalist critique of the state's governance of petroleum. The article traces the roots of the movement and focuses on two contested terrains of petroleum politics, refineries and oilfields, to examine labor's role in resource governance. The article argues that by strategically joining concerns over class and nation, over a number of administrations from the 1970s to the 2000s (from populist, military juntas, to neoliberal), the petroleum labor movement became a defining actor in petroleum governance.
Entre la integración y la “contención“
Marcela Ceballos Medina
*Full article is in Spanish
English abstract: This article examines Ecuadoran policy toward the forced migration of Colombians to Ecuador. It identifies the main changes in Ecuadoran immigration policy, including asylum, for the period 1996-2008. To do this, the author examines two dimensions of immigration policy: the normative framework and political practices (implementation of the normative framework). The article tries to answer the following questions: What are the main changes in Ecuadoran immigration policy toward Colombian forced migration? How can we explain those changes? The author suggests that the policy oscillates between regional or binational integration and border contention. The variables that explain those changes are: (1) the magnitude of Colombian migration; (2) the transnational dynamics of the internal armed conflict along the Colombia-Ecuador border and the political context in Ecuador; and (3) the international relations of Colombia and Ecuador and the political agenda of the South American region.
Spanish abstract: El propósito del artículo es examinar la respuesta del Estado ecuatoriano a las migraciones forzadas de colombianos hacia ese país, identificando los principales cambios en la política de inmigración (incluida la política de asilo y refugio) de Ecuador durante el periodo 1996- 2008. Para ello, se observan dos dimensiones de la política migratoria ecuatoriana: 1) el marco normativo y 2) las prácticas políticas para la implementación de las normas. La autora se propone responder a las preguntas ¿Cuáles son los principales cambios en la política migratoria del Estado ecuatoriano hacia las migraciones colombianas? ¿Cómo se explican esos cambios? Concluye que la política migratoria de Ecuador hacia las migraciones colombianas oscila entre una posición integracionista y abierta a la inmigración y una política de cierre de fronteras y contención del conflicto armado dentro del territorio colombiano. Las variables que explican dichos cambios son: 1) el creciente flujo de migrantes colombianos hacia Ecuador, 2) las dinámicas transnacionales del conflicto armado colombiano en la frontera y el contexto político al interior del Ecuador, y 3) las relaciones político-diplomáticas entre los dos países y la agenda política en la región suramericana.
French abstract: Cet article examine la politique de l'Équateur concernant l'immigration forcée de Colombiens vers ce pays. Il identifie les changements principaux effectués dans la politique d'immigration équatorienne (en incluant la politique publique d'asile) pour la période 1996-2008. Dans ce but, l'auteur examine deux dimensions de la politique publique d'immigration : 1) le cadre normatif, et 2) les pratiques politiques (la mise en œuvre du cadre normatif). L'auteur souhaite répondre aux questions suivantes : quels sont les changements principaux dans la politique d'immigration équatorienne concernant les migrations colombiennes forcées ? Comment pouvons-nous expliquer ces changements ? L'hypothèse est que la politique d'immigration de l'Équateur oscille entre l'intégration régionale ou binationale et le contrôle des frontières. Les variables perme ant d'expliquer ces changements sont : 1) l'ampleur des migrations colombiennes vers l'Équateur ; 2) les dynamiques transnationales du conflit armé interne au niveau de la frontière colombo-équatorienne et le contexte politique en Équateur ; et 3) les relations internationales entre la Colombie et l'Équateur ainsi que l'agenda politique de la région sud-américaine.
Weaponization of the RICO Act across jurisdictional borders
Lindsay Ofrias and Gordon Roecker
This article examines how the world’s arguably largest oil disaster, in the heart of Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest, has become a testing ground for new global forms of corporate power and the criminalization of dissent. Following the ongoing “trial of the century” between Chevron Corporation and plaintiffs representing tens of thousands of smallholder farmers and indigenous people affected by the disaster, we look at how the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act has been applied against the affected people and their lawyers to sidestep the norm of international comity and alter the parameters for pursuing environmental justice. Specifically, we point to how the case—and a new crop of cases following suit—has threatened to criminalize the use of “lawfare” as a “weapon of the weak.”
Measuring Biocentric Human-Nature Rights and Human–Nature Development in Ecuador
Johannes M. Waldmüller
Drawing on the first attempt worldwide to implement human rights indicators at the national level in Ecuador (2009–2014), as well as on a critical review of the uneasy relationship between human rights and human development discourses, this article calls into question the prefix “human” in contemporary human development and human rights thinking. By alternating case study and reflection, it argues that a systemic and biocentric focus on human–nature relationships, extending the concepts of capabilities and functionings to ecosystems and human–nature interactions, is important for designing adequate tools for human–nature development, monitoring and for moving beyond ascribing merely instrumental value to nature. In order to shift the common understanding of human rights and human development from anthropocentric frameworks toward a more realistic biocentric focus, a focus on life as such is proposed, including inherent moments of arising and passing that express the necessary limitations to all human conduct and striving.
African immigrants in twentieth-century Spain and Indians in nineteenth-century Ecuador
The article simultaneously explores three lines of reflection and analysis woven around the comparative reverberations (in space and time) between citizenship and the administration of populations (states of exception) in the Republic of Ecuador during the nineteenth century and the Kingdom of Spain in the twenty century. The first thread tries to answer the question whether it is possible for concepts generated in a country of the Global South to be used usefully in analyzing a different Northern reality, inverting the usual direction in the flows of transfer and importation of “theory.“ The second theme of comparative reverberation explores a network of concepts concerning the citizenship of common sense and the administration of populations, that is the “back-patio“ aspect of citizenship, particularly its historical formation in the domination of populations in the Republic of Ecuador during the nineteenth century. It is centered on the process of identification in the daily exchanges between interpares citizens and extrapares non-citizens. The last section involves testing concepts forged in the author's studies of Ecuadorian history for their utility in analyzing the current situation of modern sub-Saharan immigrants in Spain (using concrete examples), and their reclusion to the private sphere in spaces of exception and abandonment. Here, the article concentrates on the difference between the public administration of populations and the private administration of citizens. The article uses documentary material relating to nineteenth-century Ecuador and twentieth-century Spain and Senegal.
During more than two and a half decades of engaged scholarship in northern Ecuador, I have documented ways multi-ethnic racial actors have confronted and helped shape strategies for development. 2 In the early 1990s, global and national policies