Coup Attempt in Ecuador Defeated

I recieved this update from VSC on the situation in Ecuador last night:

Initial reports today inform that sections of the Ecuadorean Police are staging street demonstrations, ostensibly for economic demands but in reality trying to subvert the legal order, including through trying to occupy the National Parliament. Additionally, in open revolt against the government, some police officers have taken illegal control over their police stations.

There are also reports that members of the Quito army barracks in the capital city occupied these barracks in open mutiny against the government. In response, President Rafael Correa went to the barracks to talk to the rebels and was attacked by CS gas which exploded near his face. The President is now in the hospital of the Quito Regiment, with minor concussions but well. The armed forces have him under their control in the Quito barracks.

In a clearly orchestrated action of open rebellion, members of the armed forces also took control and closed the Mariscal Antonio José de Sucre airport.

In response to these developments, on live TV through TELESUR at about 18 hrs (GMT) President Rafael Correa said: “It’s a coup d’etat, a conspiracy organised by the opposition.” President Correa hinted that UNASUR was likely to hold an emergency meeting to defend the democratic order that is under threat in Ecuador and also said that police officers supportive of the revolt were trying to get to his hospital room to attack him. He added that he was standing firm in the defence of the democratic order in Ecuador and there was no way he would capitulate, and that he could only lose his life.

The Foreign Affairs minister has called upon people to march to the hospital to protect the life of the President. Mass demonstrations are now taking place in the whole of Ecuador in support of the legitimate and democratically-elected government of President Correa. People are currently congregating around the Quito barracks hospital to protect the President.

President Correa and his government have won every single democratic election since his election in 2006. The government has expanded democracy and implemented policies to redistribute income to the poor, benefiting millions of people hitherto socially excluded. The country has also had a new constitution overwhelmingly approved at a national referendum, which is deemed to be one of the greenest and most progressive constitutions in the world.

Venezuela Solidarity Campaign

Thankfully, the coup has since been defeated:

The military has freed Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa and the attempted coup in Ecaudor against the elected government is over. Troops loyal to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa have freed him from the military hospital where he was previously held hostage by right-wing coup police. Five troops were injured during the rescue operation but no soldier was killed.

Thousands of people gathered in Quito in support of the president and against the coup. Once released, Correa addressed a large number of triumphant supporters gathered at the Plaza of Independence in Quito chanting: “El pueblo unido jamás… será vencido!” (“The people united will never be defeated!”).

“What loyalty, what support! This will serve as an example for those who want to stop the revolution not through the ballot box but with weapons,” said President Correa.

Additionally, Ecuador’s police commander General Freddy Martinez has now resigned. About 50 people, including Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, were injured on Thursday during clashes between the rebel police and supporters of the Ecuadoran president.

Support for Correa has been strong internationally and regionally, with the Organization of American States making a strong statement and heads of state of members of UNASUR had planned on travelling to Ecuador if necessary. Hugo Chavez, the Venezulean president, described the unrest as “an effort to overthrow President Correa,” adding that “together with the people of Latin America and the Caribbean we will be vigilant and standing in solidarity [with Correa] in this historic moment.”

Venezuela Solidarity Campaign

The defeat of the coup should be celebrated. However, it’s also an alarming reminder that the social progress made in Latin America by the tide of Leftist governments needs our solidarity.