The Democratic Popular Movement (DPM), the Communist Party Marxist Leninist of Ecuador (CPMLE), the Popular Front and other organizations that make up the organization Popular Unity, express their sorrow and indignation and assure to all members of these organizations, of other popular and leftist organizations and to all freedom fighters all over the world, that the evil and cowardly assassination of our comrades Jaime Hurtado, Pablo Tapia and Wellington Borja, is a new act of state terrorism accomplished by the reactionary forces led by the government presided by Jamil Mahuad.
This criminal act took place yesterday, Wednesday February 17th 1999, around 13:20 few meters away from the building of the Supreme Court and a block away from the House of the Parliament. A group of unarmed people fired at our comrades. The bullets, caliber 9mm are used only by the organs of state security.
Despite the fact that the place where our comrades were assassinated is under constant surveillance by the police, and a few steps away stands the security service of the building of the Supreme Court, nothing was done to seize the murderers who managed to run away through traffic jams in a Suzuki Forza.
Jaime Hurtado Gonzalez was a national Deputy and the chairman of the Parliamentary block of the DPM. When young he became a leader of the struggle of the people, vehemently exposed the arrogance of the Government, a tireless fighter for a new motherland ruled by the working people. He was accompanied by Pablo Tapia, associate Deputy for the DPM and Wellington Borja, member of the DPM and cousin of Jaime.
The crime is part of a campaign of the government to frighten anti-government protesters. When the Government took office four peasants who claimed land in the town of Salite were assassinated; shortly after, in the demonstrations of October 1st, bullets of the police and the military killed three workers; months later the union leader Saul Canar was brutalized, tortured and finally murdered, while the police blamed his co-workers for the death of Saul; the government carries out mass arrests of student protesters; security forces broke into the headquarters of the DPM in the El Triunfo and arrested several leaders and members of that organization; the government accuses the DPM and the CPMLE of being involved in armed struggle; protesting teachers are threatened to be fired. These and others are the different manifestations of state terrorism envisaged by rightist forces, big corporations with the support of the US Embassy.
On February 5th Jaime Hurtado when attending in Guayaquil the activities of protest against the government and its neo-liberal reforms was brutalized. This time a group of people in uniform took him aside and badly hit him. Several leaders of various progressive organizations and workers unions have been threatened and attacked by Government officials. Several days ago the Parliament voted a motion to request the Minister of Defence, General Jorge Gallard, and the former Prime Minister, Ana Lucia Armijos to face public allegations of violation of human rights and of illegally accusing the DPM of being engaged in what they call subversive activities.
This last assassination takes place at a moment when 120 thousand teachers are currently on strike, something that the millions spent in publicity by the Government and the threats of massive lay-offs have not been able to avert. The Government claims that the strikers represent particular interests of the DPM, trying to confuse the honest leadership of this party in the strike of the teachers with the legitimate demands of the teachers. The current Prime Minister, Vladimiro Alvarez had given up the post of Minister of education being unable to face the legitimate demands of the protesting teachers.
We demand that the Supreme Court finds and brings to justice those responsible for the assassination of Jaime Hurtado. We do not want the Government to claim that they respect our comrades and talk about democracy. We want justice and punishment. We want to see those factually and intellectually responsible for the crime, which is just part of the strategy of the Government to brutalize and leave the people to die of starvation.
From our side, we will follow the struggle of those fallen and other popular heroes who lost their lives in armed struggle against criminal Governments and right wing forces. Everybody, workers, peasants, teachers and students, housewives, rank and file christians, leftist democrats, for us Jaime Hurtado is an example of tireless struggle for the rights of the people. We call for a broad united front to face the state terrorism and to overthrow the neo-liberal Government.
Our organizations are rooted in the people and our people do not get scared. They will not be able to scare us. On the contrary we raise today the banners of revolutionary change with more enthusiasm, and we are ready more than ever to face and defeat the enemies of the people. No matter how many crimes the Government commits, the ideals of Jaime, Pablo and Wellington will find support throughout the country, in the hearts of the peoples of Ecuador and flourish in the Popular Power, for which we will always struggle hand in hand with the oppressed.
Click here to return to the April 1999 index.