Oct 04 2010
On Thursday, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa was trapped in a hospital and held for at least 10 hours by police. The police were reported to be rebelling against austerity measures passed a day earlier by the nation’s Congress. Ecuador’s police forces stopped patrolling the streets, and instead coordinated controlled takeovers of their barracks across the country, as well as a shutdown of the airport. The capital Quito was engulfed in chaos; a firefight ensued, and in the end 8 people were killed. However, the country’s military, standing behind the President, managed to rescue him from the hospital and thwarted the rebellion. On Friday, Ecuador’s Commander of police, Freddy Martinez presented his resignation. After last year’s successful coup in Honduras, Correa had announced that he was privy to intelligence reports suggesting he was next in line to be ousted. President Correa has the right to dissolve the Congress in the wake of what is being considered an attempted coup. However, it is being reported this morning that Correa has decided to work with Congress rather than rule by decree. His government has also agreed to rewrite the austerity law for clarity, although without making major changes. In the past few days, there have been conflicting reports in the mainstream media whether or not a coup attempt actually took place in Ecuador. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez wrote in his weekly column unequivocally that the US was behind a failed coup attempt, saying “[the U.S.] has revived the old measure of coup d’etats to spoil plans of governments that don’t subordinate to it.” The Wall Street Journal however, ran an op-ed this morning saying there was no evidence of a coup at all.
GUESTS: Amalia Pallares, author of “From Peasant Struggles to Indian Resistance: The Ecuadorian Andes in the Late Twentieth Century,” and Marc Becker, a Latin American historian at Truman State University who specializes in Ecuador
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