[News] Ecuador declares state of emergency - President Correa charges opposition of staging a coup.
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Sep 30 17:35:00 EDT 2010
Ecuador declared state of emergency amid unrest that led to president
Correa to accuse opposition of staging a coup.
Last Modified: 30 Sep 2010 19:51 GMT
The Ecuadorian government declared a state of emergency on Thursday
after rebellious police angered by a law that cuts their benefits
plunged this small South American nation into chaos, roughing up the
president, shutting down airports and blocking highways in a nationwide strike.
President Rafael Correa denounced what he called "a coup attempt" as
he was hospitalised due to the effects of tear gas used against him
by angry police officers.
The state of siege puts the military in charge of public order,
suspending civil liberties and allowing soldiers to carry out
searches without a warrant.
Witnesses said there was looting in Quito and in the city of
Guayaquil, and that many workers and school students were being sent home.
Elsewhere in Quito, uniformed police burned tires in protest at a
proposal to cut their bonuses.
The Opec-member country of 14 million people has a long history of
political instability. Street protests toppled three presidents
during economic turmoil in the decade before Correa took power.
Members of Correa's own left-wing party are blocking legislative
proposals aimed at cutting state costs, prompting him to mull
disbanding Congress, a move that would let him rule by decree until
new elections, one of his ministers said.
'Not a popular mobilisation'
Ernesto Gonzalez, head of the armed forces, said that troops remained
loyal to Correa. "We are in a state of law. We are loyal to the
maximum authority, which is the president," he told reporters.
Ricardo Patino, the foreign minister played down the severity of the
protests. "This is not a popular mobilisation, it is not a popular
uprising, it is an uprising by the police who are ill-informed," he
told TV network Telesur.
Diego Borja, the central bank chief, called for calm and urged
Ecuadoreans not to withdraw money from banks.
Ecuador's two-year-old constitution allows the president to declare a
political impasse that could dissolve Congress until a new
presidential and parliamentary elections can be held.
The measure would, however, have to be approved by the Constitutional
Court to take effect.
"This a scenario that nobody would want, but it is a possibility when
the conditions for change do not exist," Doris Solis, the policy
minister, said after meeting Correa and other senior officials late
"A decision still has not been made," she told reporters.
"Lawmakers in our coalition have the obligation to be coherent with
our project for change."
More than half of the 124-member Congress are officially allied with
Correa, but the president has blasted lawmakers from his own Country
Alliance party for not going along with his proposals for shrinking
the country's bureaucracy.
Police in the cities of Quito and Guayaquil protested at their
headquarters. Officers in Guayaquil blocked some roads leading to the
coastal city, Ecuador's most populous.
"Respect our rights," uniformed officers shouted.
Correa, a US trained economist, was first elected in 2006 promising a
"citizens' revolution" aimed at increasing state control of Ecuador's
natural resources and fighting what he calls the country's corrupt elite.
His government alienated international capital markets when it
defaulted on $3.2 billion in global bonds two years ago.
Correa, an ally of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, described the
debt as "illegitimate."
Cash has been tight since then as the country relies on multilateral
loans and bilateral lending to meet its international financing obligations.
Once in power, Correa backed the rewriting of the constitution to
tilt the balance of power toward the executive.
He easily won re-election under the new constitution in 2009, and he
is allowed to stand again in 2013.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the News