The 'Iron Fist’ of the Citizens’ Revolution: The Punitive Turn of Ecuadorian Left-wing Politics
The punitive turn in Ecuadorian left-wing politics embodies a fundamental contradiction. On the one hand it involved extending social rights and resisting neoliberalism. On the other hand, punitive criminal justice policies intensified. This paper explores what, how, when and why this occurred to explain the complexity of Ecuador’s punitive turn under a period of twenty-first century socialism. Two eras of national policy will be compared. The first is known as the ‘long neoliberal night’ (the before); while the second is known as the ‘Citizens' Revolution’ (the present). The Citizens’ Revolution replaced neoliberal policies with social development, infrastructure, services and programs alongside the more equitable distribution of wealth. In a first moment, it also deployed strategies and actions towards penal moderation. However, since 2010, it has changed dramatically, generating an astonishing punitive turn. The article concludes that law and order policies in Ecuador therefore do not fit Loïc Wacquant’s (2013: 22) description of the ‘neoliberal penal paradox’.
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