April 24, 2005

AP: Ousted Ecuador President Flies to Brazil

From the AP wire

Ousted Ecuador President Flies to Brazil
By MONTE HAYES, Associated Press Writer

QUITO, Ecuador - Ousted Ecuadorean President Lucio Gutierrez flew to political asylum in Brazil on Sunday, four days after he was toppled by massive street protests and sought refuge from angry demonstrators in the Brazilian ambassador's residence.


Gutierrez's enemies say he should be tried for abuse of power, corruption and the violent repression of protests that prompted Wednesday's congressional vote to remove him from office.

His supporters say he was removed from power illegally, and the Organization of American States has asked Ecuador's new government to explain how Congress justified its decision to remove him for "abandonment of the post" when he was still in the Government Palace issuing orders.

Congress justified dismissing Gutierrez under a constitutional clause allowing lawmakers to remove a president for "abandonment of the post," even though he was still in the Government Palace issuing orders. Backers of the measure argued that since Gutierrez had not faithfully carried out his responsibilities, Congress should declare the presidency vacant.

That's the problem. Congress can just "declare" the presidency vacant and that he did not "fulfill his duties" rather than following their accusations with a judicial process which investigates these claims (Monicagate in the U.S., anyone?). It's no surprise Ecuador has had 3 presidents run out of office since 1997.
In a resolution Friday, the OAS avoided explicit recognition of the government of President Alfredo Palacio, who was sworn in by Congress after Gutierrez was removed. It was not known when the OAS delegation would arrive. So far, no country has recognized the new government as legitimate.
Again, no surprises here.

Posted by Kyer at April 24, 2005 11:45 PM