There is a lot we can learn about Ecuadorian politics and reality from the recent one day upheaval during the Ecuador police unrest.
Will the current Ecuador politics lead to this?
or is this the more likely result of Ecuador politics?
See below a batch pf Ecuador pictures and why I lean towards the politics of dancers in Ecuador. First some words about Ecuador politics.
I was talking with our attorney (who does not like Correa) about Ecuador political realities and he feels that Correa mismanaged the situation. He also felt that Correa took advantage of his error and made the situation look worse than it was.
There is a great article in the Wall Street Journal about last week’s disturbance, entitled “What Really Happened in Ecuador” by Mary Anastasia O’Grady that confirms this.
Here is an excerpt from this Wall Street Journal article: Eyewitnesses deny police kidnapped the president, and there’s no evidence a coup was in the making.
Aída Zaldumbide was recuperating from heart surgery at the police hospital in Quito Thursday when Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa arrived there, asking to see a doctor. Mr. Correa says that, once inside the hospital, the police “kidnapped” him for 10 hours, in what he is calling an attempted coup d’état.
Not so, says Ms. Zaldumbide, at least one other patient, and two doctors and a nurse who were on duty at the time. They say Mr. Correa retained all his presidential privileges and was never without the protection of his security team.
They also say he was offered an armed escort to leave but refused it. Ecuador’s minister of internal and external security has also said that the president was never detained.
Nevertheless, at 9 p.m. Mr. Correa, who was doing telephone interviews with the state-controlled media during the time he was supposedly “kidnapped,” ordered 500 army troops to the hospital. The soldiers arrived with tanks and submachine guns and opened fire on the police. A fierce gun battle lasted 40 minutes, took the lives of two men, and terrified hospital staff and patients.
The trouble started on Thursday morning when the police announced a strike to protest cuts in their compensation. Mr. Correa responded by going to the barracks to confront the cops. Once inside the building he went to a window, tore open his shirt, and shouted, “If you want to kill the president, kill him!”
If the goal was taking out the president, that provocation provided the moment to do it. But it is unlikely that the police had any such thing in mind.
This is because, despite feeble management of the economy, most polls give the populist demagogue an approval rating of better than 50%. Recent history suggests that Ecuadoran governments topple only after their public approval falls first. Without popular support to remove Mr. Correa, a coup—by all accounts there was no leader—was not going to happen.
After the shootout was over, Ms. Zaldumbide told the Ecuadoran daily Expreso this: “It is unjust what happened. The press here is talking about him being kidnapped but it wasn’t that way. The special forces made a cordon for him to be able to leave but he did not want to. We told him to leave, to put our lives first, but he did not want to.” Ms. Zaldumbide went on to say that Mr. Correa “insisted on having [his movement known as Alianza Pais] come to escort him out because he had to leave with his head held high.”
Dr. Fernando Vargas, who was working at the hospital, posted similar testimony online at ecuadorenvivo.com: Mr. Correa “was never kidnapped, was attended to by hospital personnel,” and “the minister of the interior was in permanent contact with him.” The police prepared an armed escort for him and waited two hours for him to make use of it. Instead, there was “a savage military assault on this hospital,” where, the doctor pointed out, there were women, children and old people.
Diego Chimborazo, a police officer who was in the hospital for knee surgery, and another doctor gave similar accounts to Expreso of the senseless military strike.
Mr. Correa had little trouble managing the story. In the morning he closed down independent television reporting, limiting Ecuadorans to his version of the day’s events. Curiously, when he arrived at the plaza in front of the presidential palace—shortly after he left the hospital—to celebrate his triumph over the “coup,” giant TV screens and a sound system were already in place.
There is some evidence that the military, which will also bear Mr. Correa’s austerity measures, sympathized with the police strike. It did not move to police city streets when lawlessness broke out, and the air force closed some airports. Yet throughout the day the top brass remained loyal to the president.
One thing is certain: Mr. Correa is not going to let the crisis go to waste. Since Thursday he has been seizing the airwaves to broadcast his version of the narrative, which implicates his political opponents in what increasingly looks like a coup that never happened.
My comment is, “Correa is a politician. Is there a surprise here”?
What politician… after making numerous blunders does not try to make him or herself look good?
My attorney then went on to agree with me that few politicians… anywhere… meet all our expectations, but overall Correa has done a lot of good. As mentioned, my attorney does not like Correa much… but says “he has done more than all other presidents in the past 15 years”.
The former Presidents in Ecuador have been bad for the entire 15 years Merri and I have been here. This has made little difference to day to day life. Go to Garyascott.com and type Correa in the search engine as I have written many messages about him. He is the best I have seen so far.
I believe that many of his policies are incorrect but he is smart. He remains popular. He has been providing free housing for the poor.
They are little 240 square feet affairs.
These little houses are everywhere on the coast.
He has helped build many more roads in Ecuador.
Road expansion on Ecuador’s coast.
The bridge from Bahia to San Vicente is being worked on 24 hours a day. Correa as the president said that it is the 2nd most important project in Ecuador for tourisum after the new airport in Quito.
The road from San Vicente to Pederanales is presently being widened to four lanes. A new highway from Quito to Pederanales is 45% complete. This highway will cut the travel time from Quito to Pedernales in half….to three and a half hours. This will make Pedernales the closest beach to Quito.
New highway under construction from San Vicente to Canoa.
Let me be clear about Correa. I do not like many of the things he has been doing… but then again I do not like many things that Obama is doing either.
Obama and Correa have much in common… youth… energy and inexperience.
Anyone looking for a place to live where the country has only good politicians may be in for quite a search.
Let me also be clear about my position regarding the USA.
A reader recently asked:
Gary, Just curious – if you love Ecuador so much – why is legal address in NC, USA. Why a non-profit entity in the US!
My reply kind of says it all.
Does one have to dislike one country because they love another?
We have lived in Hong Kong, England, Europe, The US, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and have enjoyed them all. If there is one key theme in the thousands of messages we have sent to our tens of thousands of readers about global living is that diversification, people and value are keys aspects in our beliefs.
We love Ecuador and live part time here. We also love North Carolina and live part time there. We are Florida residents and make no bones about our love for America and how we live more there than in Ecuador.
We reported in 2009 our shift back to Smalltown USA and agriculture in Florida. and why we see value in Smalltown USA as well as Ecuador. Why we love the people and why we diversify.
Those three themes… value… people… diversification are our politics.
This is our North Carolina home.
This is our Florida home.
This, Inn Land of the Sun is our Ecuador home. Note how the US and Ecuadorian flag freely fly, side by side, with those of many other nations.
Each makes the other better!
We do not get much into politics here in Ecuador (or in the USA). We just enjoy the life… the sweet people… the warm weather… the good food and low cost living and let the politicians and the newscasters play their games. They have very little effect on our lives as we spend our time figuring out how we can be better rather than how to make the politicians look worse.
In fact bad Ecuador politics in many ways make life better for retirees here. Bad politics screw up the economy leaving people poor and keeping the cost of living low.
I hope that changes. I would like to see more people in Ecuador prosper but that probably will not happen soon.
Low oil prices are expected this winter. This and Ecuador’s debt will challenge Correa over the months ahead.
The bad economics will put Correa under pressure and he’ll make mistakes. He may even come off as a brash hot head. Does this make him a dictator? Not that I have seen. Will it make any difference in my life or the other gringo’s living here. Probably not.
In fact if there is anyone to fear it is the NEWS that misleads you and tries with its spin to lock you into a narrow point of view. Life is good in Ecuador and in Smalltown USA… make no mistake about this.
While many are living with the crowds and stress and snow and high prices… thinking there is danger here… a growing number of are enjoying the sun… low stress… low cost and a good life without big brother.
Here are more comments about Ecuador politics from readers who were in Ecuador during the one day police strike.
An American living on the coast wrote: Gary, We all had a good time. We arrived yesterday in Bahia and got the scoop of what went on here during the problems with police and president.
Here on the coast and specifically Bahia, Jama and Canoa. There were no problems at all. Everyone just watched the TV and waited for it to be over and got back to normal life the following day. That is pretty much how the coast handles what is happening in these situations in the big city. It is just an unwanted disruption here. I hope that this explains it a little for your readers. Regards,
An American living in Quito wrote: Hi Gary, I am an American Citizen 61 years of age, living in Ecuador and an avid reader of yours. I came here 10 years ago to establish a business here, with plans to return to California in 3 to 4 weeks, but here I am still. I re-married here 6 years ago and now have a beautiful 3 year old daughter. I say all this to let you know that I am not new to the Ecuadorian scene and wish to stand up and be counted as an American in Support of “Correa”.
I have had exposure to previous governments of this beautiful country and this one is different. The government of President Rafael Correa is truly making a difference, they have put people in the Ministries, etc. that are well educated and dedicated to what they are doing and trying to put things in order. But you know the opposition does not like that.
We have to take what the media says with a grain of salt. Especially since channel 4 is about to change hands, as a bank, they can´t own TV Stations under the law. This morning in watching channel 4 and 8, I was disgusted by their description of the events of the past days. Last night on channel 10 on the “la Television” show with Ellers, they showed and described clearly the events of Thursday.
My wife and I went to Plaza Grande on Thursday and the people were emotional but very peacefully voicing their support for their President. People crying for fear that their President was in such dire danger. It was part of that same group that went to the Police Hospital where the President and his staff were enclosed. They marched peacefully only to encounter violence, rocks, bullets and police batons, by this rogue group.
Thank you for your ongoing efforts to describe this as a peaceful country, (the majority of the people are good and loving) of opportunity and beauty.
An American living near Guayaquil wrote: I agree with you about the media drama. Watching live footage last night we saw the “Violent Rescue of President Correa.” The gunfire sounded pretty impressive until the reporter finally let on that they were firing dummy bullets. This morning the headline was “Bloody Rescue of President Correa,” although there haven’t been any images of bloodshed to back that up.
It brings to mind hurricane coverage in Florida, when even in cases where the storm (luckily) never came ashore, they always managed to find a shot of a ficus tree that had tipped over on someone’s house to illustrate “the storm damage.”
There you have it.
Correa does like to play it up for the crowds as this photo I took shows. He immerses himself in the people.
None of us are worry much about this leading to dictators and rule by soldiers like…
this officer on Correas protection ujnit.
This is more what we think of when in Ecuador you say “police”.
However, you should come take a look, see and feel for yourself.
Read the entire article What Really Happened in Ecuador
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See examples of the words you already know below.
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Here is the English translation of a few of the many Spanish words you now know and will never forget. How long would it have taken you to memorize them? How soon would you forget?
“Most words in English that end in ION are almost identical, just pronounced differently. For example, action is accion, education-educacion, manipulation- manipulacion, etc.”
Some more of these words: Combination, Attrition, Education, Vacation, Petition, Lotion, Motion, Construction, Abduction, Pronunciation, Concentration and a ton of others!
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