Rafael Correa and Jean-Luc Mélenchon have become synonymous with the concept of “Citizens’ Revolution” — a people-powered project designed to build counter-hegemony to the neoliberal order. This approach is based on measures like the formation of constituent assemblies, the creation of social programs to fight poverty and inequality, and a foreign policy opposed to US and European imperialism.
As president of Ecuador from 2007 to 2017, Correa not only brought about a massive reduction in poverty and inequality, but he promoted institutions like the Council for Citizen Participation and Social Control as well as large-scale renewable energy projects. Over in France, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s presidential campaign in 2017 electrified the Left, advancing the demands of social movements like Nuit Debout and mounting a robust challenge to both Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.
Today, however, both men face troubles in the courts. They are forced to defend not only their political record, but their own personal lives, as they come under attack from judicial institutions closely aligned with the neoliberal powers they have challenged.
In Ecuador, the attorney general and the supreme court — dominated by figures aligned with Lenín Moreno’s neoliberal government — have launched more than twenty-five criminal cases against Correa since July 2018.
Meanwhile, Mélenchon has faced constant character assassination in the media. This campaign peaked in October 2018 in an armed police raid on Mélenchon’s home — orchestrated on the same day that the new interior minister was sworn in — in which he was accused of misreporting campaign funds. After footage was released of Mélenchon’s emotional reaction, this Thursday he appeared in court on charges of “intimidating” the policemen who tore through his possessions.