Yesterday the president of Ecuador was freed after being taken hostage by rogue members of the police and soldiers of Ecuador.
Ecuador has been going through political strife as of late as a result of President Correa's plans to restructure the government to streamline the budget. These measures affected police, soldiers, and bureaucrats more. The political impasse led Correa to consider dissolving parliament and calling snap elections to break the impasse.
On the morning of September 30th, some police and soldiers began to occupy airports and set up barricades in the street (complete with burning tires). The country's national assembly was also occupied, as was the country's state television.
President Correa proceeded to a police barracks to talk to protesting police. He was hassled on his way there, and after attempts to calm them down failed he tried to leave. At this moment some police fired tear gas at him and he was taken to a hospital by his bodyguards. Mutinying police followed him and trapped him in the hospital, where he was basically kept hostage.
As word got out to the citizens of Quito about this, many took to the streets to strike back at the police, where unsurprisingly conflicts with the police occurred. Reportedly they were chanting "This is not Honduras", referring to the 2009 coup against former president Manuel Zelaya. The hospital where the president was kept was surrounded by citizens attempting to free the president, but were kept at bay by the rogue police and soldiers who were attempting to break into Correa's hospital room.
Eventually elements of the military friendly to the government arrived at the scene and faced off with the mutinous forces, rescuing the president from the hospital. A state of emergency was declared as order was restored in the capital.
It was accused by some, including Correa and the government, that the action taken by the police was building towards a coup orchestrated by his political enemies, notably the former president Lucio Gutiérrez. Gutiérrez was president from 2003 to 2005 and was made to resign from his office by the parliament after mass protests over economic free-trade agreements and alleged corruption among his party.
President Correa still has a lot on his plate though. With ambitious economic reforms and disagreements in his party as to how to approach those, this surely won't blow over very easily. More so is compounded by Correa and his party's declaration of being "socialist" much in the same vein of the so-called "Pink Tide" governments in South America (Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Bolivia's Evo Morales, Argentina's Kirchner, and Brazil's Lula), who among other things represent a growing resentment against the so-called "Washington Consensus" (essentially neo-liberal market reforms) and its impact on their nations.
Wow, people protesting actual did something.
Professor Dr. Scientist;5403329Wow, people protesting actual did something.
If things took their course and this was a coup (which had the usual parts- seizing control of media, airports, closing the borders, going to the head of government), this would have ended up being the sixth coup in Ecuador's history.
Weird situation all around. Regardless of if it was a coup or not, new things I'm reading are suggesting it was very much sensationalized by the government to garner sympathy of their side, the police got what they wanted after all.
More like how socialism CAN'T work.
Red Menace;5404865Weird situation all around. Regardless of if it was a coup or not, new things I'm reading are suggesting it was very much sensationalized by the government to garner sympathy of their side, the police got what they wanted after all.
There were police who had genuine concerns and they were taken care of separately. It just seemed like a normal round of strikes and what not until this occurred. It was after all to a police/military hospital that Correa was taken to, and it was specifically that characteristic that allowed the mutinying police quick access to it in the first place.
However this action by the small group of police was anything but sensationalized- I don't think shutting down border routes, important highways and streets, occupying airports, parliament, and then attacking the president can count along that. There was something planned but it was botched.
Coups don't have to be orchestrated on a large scale. A small group of people to lead the masses with them is enough some times, but that depends on the local support on the ground. The police who were orchestrating this were hoping that maybe some support from traditional elements in security and military would go along, and they could benefit off the factionalism within Correa's party and the resistance of certain Communist groups who refused to work with Correa's government. Doing it swiftly enough like what happened with Zelaya (who also had government deadlock, but with a supreme court order against him), have the military toss him out quickly, and in a matter of minutes create a confusing and screwy mess that the people will have to play along with.
Before the police took the spot light there were protests by indigenous groups and Communist groups, namely the MPD, who were already doing their own thing.
Unfortunately it spiraled from there.
More like how socialism CAN'T work.
Thank you for that thought provoking analysis.