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Military Coup in the Making in Ecuador
U.S. Training of Latin American soldiers undermines democracy and U.S. government response to military coup in Honduras emboldened right-wing in Latin America.
As predicted by human rights groups, the U.S. support for the military coup government in Honduras has emboldened right-wing forces and caused more instability throughout the Americas.
President Rafael Correa is currently in the military hospital being treated for tear gas inhalation, about 45 minutes ago, he spoke live on the radio. He has made a statement that the integrity of the democratic revolution needs to be defended peacefully. He also said if he is assassinated, that he blames the opposition. He said that there are police trying to get to him through the windows and the roof of the hospital.
In his radio address the President did talk about this being a Coup attempt lead by the Police, Military close to an ex-President, but also by the Opposition and the ex-President Lucio Gutierrez. He stated that there is an attempt to destabilize the democratic citizen revolution that has happened in Ecuador. At this moment, the pro-democracy movement is gathering in the thousands in the capital but in all the plazas across the country. There are also people marching to the hospital to protect the President.
Today, September 30, 2010, around 8am, 150 or more Ecuadoran troops took over the international airport in Quito in protest to congress cutting benefits to police and military.
There have been violent protests by police and some elements of the military, reports that President Correa has been injured, and reports that the air force has closed down a number of airports. Shutting down the airport and cutting off highway access to the capital Quito, troops rampage through Quito, Guayaquil and other cities with tear gas and burning cars. Protesters are demanding that the government give more respect to military and increase benefits.
Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricarto Patina played down the severity in a BBC report saying that "This is not a popular mobilization; it is not a popular uprising. It is an uprising by the police who are ill-informed."
"We're faced with a process of destabilization of the national government and democracy in Ecuador," Interior Minister Miguel Carvajal said, according to the EFE news service.
The UNA-SUR and ALBA countries are meeting right now to activate solidarity to protect the democratic process in the country and denounce the Coup. And the OAS (Organization of American States) called an special session in DC that is meeting right now. The OAS stated its support for the constitutional government of Ecuador. Earlier the head of the OAS stated this was a police insurrection and not a Coup.
Here is live coverage of what is happening Ecuador on TeleSUR (spanish)
Thousands of Ecuadoran troops have been trained at the School of the Americas. The Pentagon claim -- that the institute instills respect for democracy and civilian leadership while teaching combat skills to Latin American soldiers -- has once again been disproved.
Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa has pursued economic moves to correct Ecuador's debt imbalance and refused to allow the United States to continue to use the Manta military base for U.S. soldiers.
The SOA has a long history of being involved in military coups in Latin American. In April 2002, the democratically elected Chávez government of Venezuela was briefly overthrown, and the SOA-trained soldiers Efrain Vasquez Velasco, ex-army commander, and Gen. Ramirez Poveda, were key players in the coup attempt.
Since 1946, the SOA/WHINSEC has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counter-insurgency techniques, sniper skills, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. Human Rights groups are calling for the closure of the institute. From November 19-21, 2010, thousands will converge on Fort Benning, Georgia to engage in nonviolent direct action and to call for the closure of the School of the Americas. For more information, visit www.SOAW.org
Stand up for justice: SOAW.org/take-action/november-vigil