Loss of tolerance
Eight years imprisonment for sabotage and terrorism; one year in correctional prison for being “masterminds of the crime of attempted acts of terrorism”; prison for crimes of rebellion without prior gathering; four year for sabotage and terrorism for having instigated the destruction of a public service; three years for inciting rebellion; twelve for sabotage and terrorism; eighteen months in prison; $140,000 USD to indemnify the President of the Republic in addition to the presentation of public apologies for the crime of damages.

The aforementioned are sentences of some of the cases highlighted by this newspaper yesterday in which the correista judiciary has handed down the sentencing against Mery Zamora, professor and leader of the MPD; the 10 of Luluncoto, the youngsters captured by the police sting “Sol rojo” when they were found at a gathering in that neighborhood in the southern part of Quito; the 12 of Central Tecnico, among the 67 students detained when they were protesting in the streets against the alleged name change of their institution; Maria Alejandra Cevallos, a young woman who along with a group of youngsters rushed into a state television channel on September 30 to ask that their point of view be heard when a Government ordered broadcast chain transmitted its official truth as to the events of that day; Fidel Araujo, who was meandering on the outskirts of Regimiento Quito during the police revolt of September 30; and against the assemblyman Clever Jimenez who was taken to trial before his parliamentary immunity was removed.

They are added to the Government’s list of political cases. In reality, if we believe the facts of the criminal trials that have been seriously questioned, where the criminal charges such as sabotage, terrorism, rebellion or attempts against State security are the basis of the conviction, the sentences appear to be disproportionate to the crime. Are we living in a country of saboteurs and terrorists?  Do those inculpated for their alleged errors deserve those criminal charges?  And as to the harm caused to President Correa, we cannot forget that criminal legislation and even the country’s new Criminal Code have thrown out the crimes of contempt and offending authority.  Gaining ground is the tendency to remove defamation and damages from the criminal code leaving the protection of the good name of public employees to the civil code.

What consequences do these sentences bring to citizen participation and political practice in a country that aspires to live in a democracy?  Do they contribute to improving citizen participation and the exercise of politics?   Do the sentences generate confidence in the judiciary?  Or is the judicialization of politics a form of denying it, of making its true democratic exercise impossible?
As Jose Hernandez correctly pointed out in his column for this newspaper, politics begins by recognizing others, respecting differences, and does not convert opposing views into enemies and consequently seeks their elimination.

It seems to me, that behind this demand, the essential value that sustains it is tolerance.  And the lack of it is evident in the correismo years.

The rejection vote of February 23 may represent the most serious call for politics to recuperate that lost value of tolerance. However, until now there have been no signs that it has been heard.

Fuente: HOY / Ecuador

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