Police punish President

Attempted coup d’etat staged in Ecuador

By Jonathan Feist

Hundreds of Ecuadorian policemen staged a protest last Thursday and trapped Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa in a military hospital in Quito, the country’s capital.

The policemen were protesting against wage and benefits cuts.Correa was rescued after troops loyal to him launched attacks against the rebel police surrounding the hospital where he had been held for hours.

According to a Red Cross spokesperson about 50 people were injured and two killed in the clash between supporters of President Correa and rebel police.  Other estimates approach eight dead and 270 wounded.

The protest was joined by military troops who blocked highways in Quito, Guayaquil and other cities. Approximately 150 members of the Ecuadorian Air Forces joined in as well, shutting down the international airport of Quito.

Despite that, army commanders have expressed support for Correa. The government declared a state of emergency, putting the military in charge of public order, suspending civil liberties and allowing soldiers to carry out searches without a warrant.

Following the riot, many Latin American countries voiced their support for President Correa.  Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay all expressed their condemnation towards the rebellion carried out in Ecuador.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez believes Washington is supporting coup d’états against an alliance of Latin American left-wing countries to counter U.S. influence in the region.

“Let’s not forget, the failed attempt, manufactured by Washington, was looking not only to bring down Correa’s government but also the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas and Union of South American Nations,” Chavez wrote in the column, “The Lines of Chavez.”

In response, the U.S. Department of State released a statement from Hilary Clinton that stated, “The United States deplores violence and lawlessness and we express our full support for President Rafael Correa, and the institutions of democratic government in that country.”

Ecuador’s Deputy Foreign Minister accused the former Ecuadorian president, Lucio Gutierrez, of plotting a coup against President Rafael Correa.

Ecuadorian Government has since agreed to revise the law that triggered these protests.

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