Sri Lanka: “It’s an economic slaughter”

maintenance. In recent weeks, the economic crisis in Sri Lanka has been frequently mentioned in international media outlets. Focusing on this country, more than 20 years after the Rajapaksa Mafia clan took power, it combines nepotism with violence against Tamils ​​and, more generally, the poor. Interview with Sri Lankan revolutionary activist Don Samantha in exile.

What is the current economic situation in Sri Lanka?

The country is in a big economic crisis. It is not possible to repay the external debt of $ 47 billion. The government is borrowing from the market and is considering borrowing from the IMF and the Asian Development Bank. Interest on debt is higher than national income. Over the last two years, monthly inflation has reached 22 or 25%. This month it’s officially 27%, but for basic necessities such as food it’s 50%. The National Bank of Sri Lanka has issued a letter of credit to import oil that was rejected due to instability. The government receives loans from the international private market to repay other domestic borrowings. The Rajapaksa1 regime prints large amounts of money and boosts inflation. The cost of goods and services is rising: it’s an economic slaughter. People live without electricity, gas, or gasoline … In 24 hours, 13 people pass by without electricity. People line up all day to find petrol and gas.

What is the political impact of this economic crisis?

On April 2, the government declared a national emergency in the face of massive protests. These are beyond political parties. For example, UNP (Bourgeois Liberal Party) activist and former MP Hirunika Premachandra led a crowd of women who surrounded the presidential residence. A gang of thugs helped by police attacked them. The government has no solution. If he turns to the IMF, he will have to comply with the request. Therefore, he prefers to fund himself in the private market. During this time, the population lacks basic necessities. There is no transportation because there is no gasoline. The state is on the verge of bankruptcy. The government has sold many resources, including ports, to China and India. Logging rights have been sold to a multinational corporation. On Monday, April 11, thousands of demonstrators marched across the country with the following slogan in front of the president’s house. “Go home to Gotha!” »».. On Twitter, the prime minister’s son said his father had spoken to the country and talked about resigning due to public pressure.

Who will host these events?

Right and left have staged protests for the past two years. On the left, JVPs (left-wing nationalists, Stalinists, Maoists) were strengthened by the economic crisis and organized a large-scale demonstration in Colombo. But the JVP promises to solve the problem above all … if we vote for him. And offer to borrow from the IMF! At the base, mobilization is self-organizing. People block the roads, camp around the presidential residence, cook and live there. Most are hostile to political parties. The main requirements are:

– The president must resign.

– Parliament must dissolve.

– Rajapaksa needs to repay the stolen money (listed in Pandora Papers).

– Medical assistance must come from the international community.

– Fertilizers for farmers must be subsidized.

– Tax evasion by multinational corporations must be refunded.

Interview with Stan Miller