Friday, October 1, 2010

Ecuador coup fails

I must say that I was, it seems, mislead yesterday night when reading about the coup attempt in Ecuador. The information from Al Jazeera talked of budget cuts and divisions in the ruling party, Alianza PAIS. 

All that seems nothing but an intoxication: there were no budget cuts planned nor there is any apparent division within the party. It was merely a coup by police forces. The details will surely be clarified as the day goes on. 

I feel ashamed to have been victim of an intoxication and of having issued  unwarranted opinions that I must now retract on light of what actually seems to have happened. I should be smarter and more cautious, specially in such a confuse situation. 

Still it seems valuable lessons can be learnt. Always double-check, read alternative information sources, and specially don't issue opinions when you have no idea of what is actually going on. Also Al Jazeera is anyhow just another mainstream media and, as such, subject to manipulations, intentional or unconsciously. 

What did actually happen?

According to Eva Gollinger, both police and army have been for some time infiltrated by US agents, who have manipulated the police particularly. Radio del Sur also reports that at least two opposition politicians from Sociedad Patriótica helped to create the informative confusion. Even the indigenous movement Pachakutik was manipulated in making calls against Correa's supposed authoritarianism.

The effect was a mutiny of some police forces, who suddenly (too suddenly) feared from their salaries, at least that was the pretext and what probably moved many of the agents. President Correa risked his life trying to address the mutinied troops but was attacked, hit and gassed, being then brought to a military hospital. Police then took the hospital and kept him kidnapped for 11 hours. 

Meanwhile the streets of Quito, the capital, became chaos, with the civilian population apparently going en masse to the streets to defend democracy and the President. The information is still confuse but it seems that the army finally intervened to rescue Correa, what the eventually achieved after a shooting. No figures of victims are known yet. 

The police chief, Freddy Martínez, who apparently tried to force policemen from mutinying, has resigned. Correa and the general attorney have promised punishment for those involved in what now seems clearly a coup attempt.

La Haine reports on the details of the coup:

11:30 (Ecuador time, 16:30 GMT) The coup happens. Correa is injured and police attempts to take the hospital. Denounciation of former president Gutiérrez as the one behind the attempt are already known. Mutinied police are in control of military base no. 1 of Quito, military complicity is suspected. From Venezuela, Chávez calls to support Correa.

13:30 First fatal victim is reported in police shooting against pro-democracy demonstrators. Thousands mass up around where the President is kidnapped.

17:15 Demonstrators finally breach the police belt around the hospital where Correa is kept.

Several injured and one dead (same one as before?) reported by indiscriminate police shooting.

18:15 Lucio Gutiérrez' attorney, Pablo Guerrero, leads the assault against public TV, which failed.

19:30 The President of the Amazonian Parliament, Eddy Gómez, denounces the USA as being behind the coup, comparing it with the one in Honduras last year.

19:40 Alba TV denounces again the USA being behind. Some names are mentioned: Philip Agee, former CIA agent in Ecuador, Martha Youth, press aggregate in the US embassy in Quito, and Ecuadoran general Mario Pazmiño, deposed because of not revealing the intelligence behind the attack against the FARC's peace camp in Ecuador's territory in 2008.

19:45 Police keeps shooting and charging against civilian demonstrators.

19:55 Police shot gas canisters force demonstrators to retreat but not too far. Some policemen repress in civilian clothes with masks. Fires are light.

20:10 Venezuelan President Chávez calls for the mobilization of the Venezuelan people against the coup, making an appeal to arm the people.

20:20 People again reach near the hospital's gate. One person is hit by a gas canister shot directly against his face.

20:40 The massive use of gases by the police causes many to faint for lack of oxygen. Ambulances arrive but are blocked by police. Military forces arrive, nobody knows yet what side they will take.

20:52 Six military trucks march against the hospital surrounded by civilians. Shootings happen.

20:59 Some 200 soldiers march on their feet supporting the trucks. Shooting continues. A young man is injured.

21:04 Soldiers finally enter the hospital. Shooting declines.

21:10 More soldiers arrive. Some 100 of them plus some civilians march against the hospital. A soldier has been injured.

21:21 Shooting continues. At least eight soldiers are injured. More people arrives but police keeps shooting, preventing them from approaching.

21:27 President Correa finally leaves the building escorted by soldiers and boards a military vehicle. Shooting intensifies.

21:35 Soldier numbers grow, they already control three floors but police resistance continues. Correa is reported in good health.

21:42 Rafael Correa addresses the people from the balcony of the Presidential Palace.

22:04 Correa confirms that the coupists are aligned with Gutiérrez. Laments dead and asks for a minute of silence.

22:12 Shootings continue at the hospital. People asked for weapons to the soldiers but these declined. Finally the troops made the civilians retire and finish the takeover on their own (unclear details). A lot of injured reported in all sides.

22:50 Analyst Carlos Fazio denounces that, besides the Police, part of the Air Force took part in the coup, taking the international airport. Part of the Army was also involved, he said, but finally commanders realized that they had not enough support to carry the coup ahead.

23:45 (4:45 GMT) President Correa speaks in TV, denouncing that the police mutiny was not caused by any pay issues but by a conspiration. He says that the coup will leave scars that will take much time to heal.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please, be reasonably respectful when making comments. I do not tolerate in particular sexism, racism nor homophobia. The author reserves the right to delete any abusive comment.

Comment moderation before publishing is... ON