Coup declared in Ecuador: BBC News report
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CBC.CA News Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
CBC Front Page Ecuador's vice-president takes power
WebPosted Sat Jan 22 10:41:04 2000
QUITO, ECUADOR - Ecuador's
Indepth » vice-president says he will assume the
Viewpoint » presidency. Gustavo Noboa says he has
Programs » the support of the armed forces and the
Live » national police.
Business Widespread demonstrations against
President Jamil Mahuad's handling of the
country's economic crisis forced him to
Sports step down. Mahuad left the presidential
palace after huge protests in the
Weather capital on Friday.
Entertainment the palace and
went into hiding hours after an
Kids attempted coup led by the Confederation
of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador,
which claims to represent Ecuador's four
Consumers million Indians, and supported by the
military. He refused a request from the
Local Features head of the armed forces to resign.
Thousands of protesters arrived in Quito
Interactive earlier this week demanding a "popular
government" be established. On Friday,
Program they filled the streets and stormed
Websites Congress and the Supreme Court,
declaring their own Parliament of the
They say they've suffered because of
Inside CBC government corruption and economic
mismanagement. They said a plan by
Mahuad to adopt the U.S. dollar as the
Millennium country's currency will impoverish them
Search News: The country's worst economic crisis
sparked the coup attempt.
Last year, inflation was over 60 per
Radio-Canada cent, the highest in Latin America,
while unemployment soared even higher.
Copyright © 2000 CBC All Rights Reserved
CBC Front Page Ecuadorean military chief declares new government
Carlos Mendoza, right, addresses the crowd at the Ecuadorean
Palace Balcony, while Enrique Monteverde Chief of Navy Force
looks on. (AP/Silvi
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) - Ecuador's military chief announced late
Friday a three-person junta to replace the unpopular president,
who fled after a by Indians and backed by the armed forces.
President Jamil Mahuad insisted he would not resign - but he
abandoned the palace where he worked and lived in the afternoon
after refusing a r the military high command to step down.
Speaking in the name of the junta, Gen. Carlos Mendoza, the
head of the joint military command who was named defense
minister last week, said: government of the Ecuadorean people.
We cannot speak of left or right."
Shortly before midnight the three members of the junta emerged
from a meeting at the national palace to present themselves to
the news media as new leaders. In addition to Mendoza, the
members are Antonio Vargas, leader of an Indian federation that
organized the protests, and Carlos Sol former Supreme Court judge.
Thousands of people streamed onto the plaza in front of the
national palace, mingling with soldiers in combat gear and
celebrating, some waving of an extreme-left party.
It was a day of political chaos, with Indians demanding Mahuad's
resignation and forcing their way into Congress and the Supreme
Court. After f Mahuad, the military later in the day decided to
support the protest, saying it was the only way to prevent "a
Mahuad had insisted he would not step down, saying during a
nationwide television broadcast that anyone who wanted to
overthrow him would have force. Late Friday, Interior Minister
Vladimiro Alvarez said in a television interview that "the
president has no intention of leaving the coun
Ecuador's economic woes appear to have led to the unusual Indian
uprising. Last year, inflation reached 60 percent, the highest
in Latin America one in three in the labor force has full-time
work. A vast majority of the nation's 4 million Indians live in
At an emergency meeting of the Organization of American States
in Washington, Ecuador's ambassador, Patricio Vivanco, said
Mahuad had abandoned presidential palace in Quito and taken
refuge at a military base in the city.
The OAS unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the attempt
to overthrow the government and expressed full support for
South American leaders also lined up in support of Mahuad,
issuing statements condemning attempts to oust him. A statement
issued by the U.S. E Lima, Peru, urged Ecuador's armed forces
and police to uphold Mahuad.
"Whatever regime arises from this unconstitutional process will
confront political and economic isolation, bringing more misery
to the Ecuador the statement said.
Earlier in the day in Quito, guards stepped aside when hundreds
of Indians accompanied by an unknown number of military officers
stormed an emp building, seized the podium and announced that
they had created their own "Parliament of the People." Military
leaders said 120 officers were i the rebellion, along with an
undetermined number of troops.
While downtown Quito during the day was in chaos - with Indians
armed with rocks and clubs paralyzing traffic and menacing
pedestrians - most o and much of the city seemed unfazed and
Mahuad said he had no intention of stepping down.
"I am not going to abandon you," Mahuad, 50, said his nationwide
television broadcast, his only public appearance of the day.
"If you want to take power through force, gentlemen, take power
through force," he said, directing his comments to the military
high command, w few minutes before had asked him to resign.
Later, Mahuad left the national palace with close aides and was
being protected by several military officers.
The actions by the armed forces seemed more a result of their
growing impatience with Mahuad's inability to handle the Indian
rebellion, which month of broader protests. They backed
the attempted takeover mainly to prevent "a social explosion,"
said Gen. Carlos Mendoza, who was joint m
commander until becoming defense minister last week.
"We are conscious that we must maintain order and discipline in
the country," he said.
Two men were killed and eight were wounded by gunfire during
protests and looting in Quito, Guayaquil, and two smaller cities,
the Red Cross sa men who were killed were shot by merchants
while allegedly looting a public market in Portoviejo.
Earlier in the day in Guayaquil, 165 miles southwest of the
capital, a group of leftist-led unions, student organizations and
neighborhood asso seized the provincial government building.
The protesters are also upset about Mahuad's plans to scrap
Ecuador's currency for the dollar.
In becoming the first South American country seeking to adopt the
greenback, Ecuador was hoping to curb inflation, bring down
interest rates to and spur investment to end the country's
Critics contended that Mahuad's decision to establish the
conversion rate at 25,000 sucres to the dollar would have
devastating repercussions f thousands of Ecuadoreans whose
savings are in sucres. A year ago, the sucre was valued at 7,000
to the dollar.
The vast majority of Ecuador's Indians live in the Andean
highlands and speak Quichua, a dialect of the language spoken by
Copyright © 2000 CBC All Rights Reserved
© The Canadian Press, 2000
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000 15:46:06 +0800
From: "Brian Jenkins" <email@example.com>
Subject: [Ecuador] Coup declared
BBC News report
Saturday, 22 January, 2000, 06:28 GMT
Coup declared in Ecuador
The head of the armed forces in Ecuador has announced the formation of a
three-man council to take over the running of the country from President
The military chief, General Carlos Mendoza said it would be made up of
himself, indigenous Indian leader Antonio Vargas, and former supreme
court judge Carlos Solorzano.
He made the announcement at a news conference in the capital, Quito,
after holding talks with indigenous protesters at the presidential
General Mendoza said: "We will work to help the country, we will work
against corruption and so that we are less poor."
He said he had the full support of the armed forces and promised full
freedom for the country of 12.4 million people.
At the same time, he said he did not know the whereabouts of President
Mahuad, who has not officially resigned and was last reported to have
taken refuge at a military base with his ministers.
Defiant: President Jamil Mahuad
One report, quoting Antonio Vargas, said the president had been detained
at Quito international airport. There has been no confirmation of this.
The junta says it plans to remove the state of emergency imposed by
President Mahuad and hold elections as soon as possible.
Mr Mahuad had earlier left the palace after announcing that he would not
bow to demands for his resignation.
Thousands of Indian protesters surrounded the building as calls
intensified for him to step down.
Indians draped in Ecuadoran flags held a candlelit vigil outside the
palace, which was being guarded by heavily armed troops.
Indian protesters sparked the power struggle by storming parliament on
Friday and declaring a new government.
They say they have no faith in President Mahuad's ability to turn around
the country's worst recession in decades.
A military unit that joined the protesters stood aside to allow some
1,500 demonstrators into the empty building before joining the
Salvador Quishpe, president of an Indian group that has been part of the
protest, said: "We believe the armed forces' role has been crucial for
this process of purification."
President Mahuad left the presidential palace - reportedly in an
ambulance and with an armed escort - insisting he would not be forced
He was driven to a military base and was reported to be under the
protection of soldiers loyal to his administration.
In a speech to the nation, he insisted that he remained in control and
he challenged his opponents to stage a coup if they want power.
He said: "In their ambition and lack of respect for democracy in
Ecuador, the armed forces are trying to mount a coup d'etat. I call on
the people to oppose this coup."
Looting and burning
Violence broke out in other parts of Ecuador as the protests spread.
An Ecuadoran radio station reported that one person was killed and three
others were injured in clashes in Portoviejo, about 240km (160 miles)
southwest of the capital Quito.
And in Guayaquil, the country's business capital, looters fought with
police and set fire to cars.
Television pictures showed a rampaging crowd of about 300 people raiding
shops as outnumbered police looked on helplessly.
President Mahuad's grip on power has been faltering in the face of the
Indigenous Indians, who make up nearly half the population of Ecuador,
have been particularly hard hit by the recession.
In recent months, the economy has floundered with runaway inflation, a
currency crisis and falling exports.
A plan by President Mahuad to replace the Ecuadoran sucre with the US
dollar has been rejected by Indian groups.
The Indians have also ruled out Vice President Gustavo Noboa as a
replacement for Mr Mahuad.
Mr Noboa, who travelled to Quito from Guayaquil late on Friday, said he
was ready to assume the country's presidency. He vowed to defend
democracy and civil order.
Countries across Latin America are watching the uprising in Ecuador with
Many governments in the region have publicly supported President Mahuad,
while the United States warned that a successful coup attempt would mean
economic and political isolation for Ecuador.
The Organization of American States gave its "full and determined
backing" to Mr Mahuad and "firmly" condemned efforts to oust him.
* * * *
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"They should confiscate all the stolen goods"
held by the banks, he said.
The Globe and Mail, Toronto
Ecuador's leader detained
in Quito, military chief says
President toppled as three-man council forms
new governing body in Andean country
The Globe and Mail; With reports from AP,
Reuters and AFP
Saturday, January 22, 2000
Ecuadorean President Jamil Mahuad has been
detained at a military airbase in Quito, the
leaders of the coup that toppled him
announced late last night.
The top military chief Carlos Mendoza said
today yesterday that a three-member council
has taken over leadership of the Andean
country and replaced Mr. Mahuad, who had
said earlier that he would not resign.
Indian leader Antonio Vargas, former
supreme court judge Carlos Solorzano and
Mendoza, head of the military's joint
command, will make up the new ruling body,
the three said in a news conference at the
Yesterday, Mr. Mahuad refused to step
down, but a security guard at the government
palace in the capital, Quito, said he had had
left the presidential palace in an ambulance,
surrounded by four security vehicles.
Mr. Mahuad's supporters said he had left the
presidential palace for a safer place. "The
President of the republic is well, and
accompanied by a number of his ministers,
myself included, in a gesture of loyalty,"
Interior Minister Vladimiro Alvarez said.
Meanwhile, 1,500 Indian protesters continued
to hold out in the congress and supreme court
buildings in the capital, backed by radical
military officers. The indigenous group had
touched off the crisis earlier in the day by
pushing past army guards and occupying the
Mr. Vargas and Colonel Lucio Gutierrez led
the occupation, and then obtained the support
of the head of the army's War School,
Colonel Fausto Cobo.
"We're here to end the looting [by the
government] and to support a just cause by
our indigenous comrades," Col. Cobo said.
The three said they had formed a provisional
junta to rule the oil-producing nation of 12
A lieutenant-colonel who asked not to be
identified said the high command did not want
to seize power, but was asking Mr. Mahuad
to let Vice-President Gustavo Noboa take
over as president.
"This is lamentable, but there was no other
way," the officer said.
He said military commanders were seeking to
force the country's notoriously argumentative
politicians to agree on an emergency plan to
halt soaring inflation and economic paralysis.
"They want the politicians to find a more
healthy solution," the officer said.
He spoke by telephone from Quito, pausing
often before replying to questions.
Marc Hélie, a principal of the New
York-based Gramercy Emerging Markets
Fund, who represents foreign holders of
Ecuadorean bonds, said Mr. Mahuad's
resignation could help the country.
Mr. Hélie, a Canadian with an MBA from
York University, played a role in Ecuador's
current economic crisis this month by calling in
the debt that his investment firm held in
high-interest bonds, a move that confounded
the country's financial restructuring plans.
"The fact that there are protests that may lead
to the resignation of the government is not
necessarily a bad thing if the government has
been impotent in addressing the issues," he
In Washington, a U.S. official said the
demand for Mr. Mahuad's resignation
amounted to an attempted coup d'état, and
said his government condemned it.
Also in Washington, an emergency session of
the Organization of American States
unanimously condemned the rebellion last
night. OAS representatives expressed "full
and firm" support for Mr. Mahaud and
warned there would be "grave consequences
in any attempt to destabilize the democratic
Earlier yesterday, top military commanders
had said they were backing Mr. Mahuad,
who took office 18 months ago. His popular
support has been steadily eroding since early
But Gen. Mendoza, the Defence Minister and
armed forces chief, emerged in midafternoon
from a meeting with the President and said:
"We are asking that he resign."
The lieutenant-colonel said the switch
occurred because protesters had seized
government buildings in other cities, and it was
felt that the crisis could not be solved as long
as Mr. Mahuad stayed in office.
The buildings seized included the provincial
government headquarters in Guayaquil, a
Pacific Ocean port and Ecuador's largest city.
Indigenous groups from throughout Ecuador
have staged mass demonstrations in Quito all
week, demanding action on
60-per-cent-a-year inflation and other
Inside the congress building, former
congressman Napoleon Saltos read a
communiqué saying the insurgents had formed
a governing council including Mr. Vargas,
Col. Gutierrez and Judge Solorzano.
"We ask the honourable people of Ecuador to
accompany us," Col. Gutierrez said in a
television interview from inside the chamber.
Military sharpshooters took positions on
rooftops looking down on the two
government buildings, and about 10,000
protesters massed outside.
The lieutenant-colonel said he knew Col.
Gutierrez, but had no idea that he would
participate in an insurrection.
"They've just left us all surprised," he said,
adding that about 200 officers were inside the
Army officers were indignant about what they
saw as Mr. Mahuad's kid-gloves treatment of
the owners of banks that failed and were
taken over by the government last year, the
lieutenant-colonel said. "They should
confiscate all the stolen goods" held by the
banks, he said.
| Copyright © 2000 Globe Information Services |
Bob Olsen adds that the uprising is led by CONAIE
Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Ecuador (CONAIE)
Comprehensive and up-to-date reports on the rebellion
in Equador in English, German and French, see
Most up to date, English only
Bob Olsen, Toronto firstname.lastname@example.org
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