April 21, 2005

Ecuador Crisis Coverage: Part 1

All reporting by Luis Gomez and Dan Feder of NarcoNews (unless otherwise noted).

***'s indicate time elapse between updates. All updates will be added to this blog post so check back here or go to the Narcosphere.

(The MSM can go play in traffic for their lack of coverage)

A few minutes ago, in a private session with the majority of the Ecuadorian congressmen and congresswomen in attendance, has named Alfredo Palacio as the new president of Ecuador.

According to reports on Radio Sucre, congresswoman Cinthya Viteri, president of the Congress, swore in Palacio. The former vice president said in his first speech that the people of Ecuador, particularly the people of Quito, decided to end the dictatorship, immorality, arrogance, terror, and fear.

A few moments ago, military sources confirmed that Lucio Gutiérrez has abandoned the Carondelet Palace accompanied by his wife and a few aides. The only information known at the moment is that he has requested political asylum at the Panamanian embassy

According to Venezuelas Globovision, Lucio Gutiérrez is indeed in the Brazilian embassy, where he has requested political asylum in that country. He seems to have arrived there by helicopter after protesters prevented him from leaving the coutnry by airplane. Protesters hope to prevent him from leaving the country, in order to bring charges against him in Ecuadorian courts.

It is still difficult to know quite what is happening in the wake of Gutiérrez abandoning the presidency. Voices on Radio La Luna, one of the main forces behind the movement in Quito, report rumors that members of the military high command, who earlier had declared their support for Gutiérrez despite the obvious popular rejection of his rule, have decided not to recognizes Palacio as the legitimate president of Ecuador.

It is not clear where Palacio is at the moment, and for some time now he has not appeared at the presidential palace, Carondelet, or made any statement. Callers from the streets have also reported pro-Gutiérrez agents trying to provoke violence in the streets. All this has led some to wonder if the military is preparing a coup detat against the man who legally took the presidency today with the backing of Congress.

Hopefully, Palacios whereabouts will be known soon and nasty rumors of a military coup can be written off as just that.

The headline at the website for the Brazilian daily O Globo reads: Brasil dá asilo ao presidente do Equador ("Brazil gives asylum to president of Ecuador.") (The articles can't be accessed without a subscription.) This is somewhat surprising Venezuela had already denied Gutiérrez asylum, and he was expected to try to head to Panama. He is now hiding out in the Brazilian embassy, with Ecuadorian police under orders to arrest him on sight.

The coup scenario described above seems to have been, as hoped, merely rumor. As I listen to Radio La Luna, whoever is speaking now just closed an emotional commentary saying: Last night, we slept under a dictatorship. This morning, we woke up to a dictatorship. But tonight we can sleep in peace. The new president, Alfredo Palacio, has already suggested the possibility of holding a new constitutional assembly, in response to popular demands for creating a new country.

The Organization of American States will hold a special meeting tomorrow to discuss the crisis in Ecuador.

Enter the Narcosphere... for the Ecuadorian crisis coverage you sure won't find in the MSM...


Uh-oh...according to the AP, the Latin United Nations is setting deadlines for action...

On Thursday, the Organization of American States gave Ecuador a 24-hour deadline to explain how Congress justified dismissing Gutierrez under a constitutional clause allowing legislators to remove a president for "abandonment of the post" while he was still in the Government Palace issuing orders. (AP)
¡Ten cuidado, Ecuador! ¡La mala OAS espantosa y grande le atacará!

(Translation of "eh" Spanish: "Watch out, Ecuador! The big bad scary OAS will get you!")

Somewhat amusingly, Ecuador's legislature outted President Abdala Bucaram for "mental incapacity" in 1997.

(The last until Friday's 3PM convening of the OAS Permanent Council)

From an OAS press release:

Permanent Representative of Ecuador, Jaime Barberis, described the recent events in his country and said that the situation in the last hours is by no means a case of “an alteration of constitutional regime that seriously impairs the democratic order.” Barberis added that “it is, on the contrary, a case of presidential succession within the framework established in the political constitution and other laws of the Republic.”

Posted by Kyer at April 21, 2005 04:08 PM