Global Security Headlines

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ecuador - The Coup That Never Happened

Budgetary cuts and less promotions, as part of President Correa's austerity program, fueled a police protest in Ecuador on September 30.

In an act of machismo, Correa went to a police barracks in Quito, the capital, to confront the grumbling in the rank and file, tore open his shirt, and dared them to kill him.

The police responded by pelting him with rocks and tear gas was fired. The president fled across the street to a police hospital where supposedly he was ''kidnapped.''

Eyewitnesses in the hospital dispute Correa's claim of victimization of being kidnapped and that he could have left the hospital anytime he wanted. His grip on the country was never in jeopardy - a coup that never happened.

The military brass stood firm while reportedly the air force and navy ''reluctantly'' supported him.

The paroxysm of police protests around the country reflected Correa's increasingly unpopular ''populist'' moves after securing a new constitution in a referendum in 2008 giving the president broader powers.

The eco-socio-politico state of affairs in Ecuador is worsening. International investors increasingly are wary after defaulting on part of the national debt, increasing pressure on foreign oil firms, and a general direction of a statist economics under the umbrella of the so-called ''citizen's revolution.''

Correa has put Ecuador firmly in the Chavista orbit, apparently been implicated in dealings with the Colombian narcoterrorists the FARC,  kicked the US out of its Manta airbase, and maintained chumminess with Iran.

He is exploiting the latest crisis to concentrate more power in his hands, silence the opposition, and advance his vision of an Ecuador under the so-called ''twenty-first century socialism'' which is just as much a failure as the twentieth century.

This time he held fast with the aid of the military. What about the next?

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