For the past week the country has been placed in a state of emergency where rights have been suspended. The military is basically doing the police’s job of patrolling the streets now. The Ecuadorian Air Force has also taken control of the nation’s airports to prevent Correa from escaping. Police have also shut down the National Assembly and taken control of the public television station.
This was caused by the police in the country staging a protest against the president of the nation Rafael Correa. The president was captured injured and held by the police while they demanded his resignation. Several thousand police in the city of Quito have surrounded the Carondelet Palace where the president stays and have demanded his resignation.
The police are saying they are revolting against the president because of a new section of the Public Service Law. This section changes the bonuses and promotions of both police and military personell. This claim of unfair treatment by the government is merely a pretext for the attempted coup.
President Correa said this concerning the reasons police gave behind the attempted coup against him:
“This was not the motive, this is not what happened today; what happened was an attempted coup, a conspiracy and destabilization in which the conspirators failed thanks to the action of the national government, the Ecuadorian people and the loyal forces of order.”
President Correa was rescued from police custody by 500 military troops who were sent to retrieve him under the command of General Ernesto González. Police intentionally fired upon the military units. González has publically given his support for the law and the office of the president but has insisted that the president remove the law the police were protesting.
It is widely believed that this attempted coup was organized by retired army Lt. Col. Lucio Gutierrez, who was a former president. Gutierrez posed as a leftist nationalist who completely sold out the nation to US interests. He did devastating damage to the health care and education sectors of the country while basically handing over resources and power to the US. Eventually he was defeated by mass protests and Correa was elected in his place.
In Latin America the attempted coup was condemned by many national leaders including Presidents Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Alan García of Perú, Sebastián Piñera of Chile and Evo Morales of Bolivia and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.
It is very likely the US was behind this coup due to the fact that the leader of it was very close to US interests. US inference in Latin America has been more visible the usual in the last 10 years. There is the failed coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002 and successful coup against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya in June of last year.
Bolivian President Evo Morales had this to say:
“As always, the political adversaries of Latin America, allied with the government of the United States, are trying to finish with mandates; when they can’t do it with a referendum, they attempt a coup. History repeats itself.”
While Correa has not openly challenged US power in Ecuador, he has made changes in Ecuador’s relationships with multinational energy corporations hurting American profits.