Forty years ago, on January 1st 1959 a general strike paralysed Cuba and forced dictator Batista to flee the country. In a few days the July 26 Movement guerrillas, led by Fidel Castro and Ernesto Che Guevara entered the capital Havana and were received as heroes by the masses. The Cuban revolution had succeeded. What was the programme of that movement? What was the social basis of that revolution? In order to understand these and other questions we must look back a few years.
After a week of mass mobilisation, demonstrations, strikes and clashes, on Friday 21st of January tens of thousands of Indians, peasants, workers and students in Ecuador took over one by one the buildings of the Parliament, the Supreme Court and the National Palace and established an alternative government. Faced with these events the world's mass media, which had remained silent for the whole week, started to scream that a military coup had overthrown the government of president Jamil Mahuad. It is therefore necessary to clarify first of all that what has happened in Ecuador in the last week is a revolution.