It felt strangely like a film, a very long film. It was exciting, at times dangerous, and had a good ending. The good president (Rafael Correa) was rescued after a gun battle between the army and the police, returned triumphant, and denounced the evil ex-president (Lucio Gutierrez) as being the influence behind police units that took him hostage. So at ten o‘clock, when it was all over, I switched off the television and went to bed.
Sept. 30, 2010 8:31 p.m.
Defend democracy: Stop the coup in Ecuador
Democracy in Ecuador is under attack from a coup trying to depose a progressive government and its president who was legitimately elected four years ago.
The assault against President Rafael Correa's government is an attack against the democratic will of the 14 million citizens of Ecuador.
Stop the Coup.
Freedom in Ecuador must not be silenced.
What you can do:
One year ago last week, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya woke up with a gun pointed at his head, was forced onto a plane by the military, and expelled from the country. Many fear that Central America's first coup in more than 15 years could mean the resumption of a painful era of dictatorships, military coups and civil wars. In a remarkable display of unanimity, the world promptly condemned the democratic interruption, with denunciations reverberating from the United States to Cuba, and resolutions emanating from the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS). Not a single country recognized the coup regime.
While most in the United States were recognizing Memorial Day with a three-day weekend, the people of Honduras were engaged in a historic event: the return of President Manuel Zelaya, 23 months after he was forced into exile at gunpoint in the first coup in Central America in a quarter-century. While he is no longer president, his peaceful return marks a resounding success for the opponents of the coup. Despite this, the post-coup government in Honduras, under President Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo, is becoming increasingly repressive, and is the subject this week of a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, signed by 87 members of the U.S. Congress, calling for suspension of aid to the Honduran military and police.
Late at night on March 17, former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide boarded a small plane with his family in Johannesburg. The following morning, he arrived in Haiti. It was just over seven years after he was kidnapped from his home in a U.S.-backed coup d'etat. Haiti has been ravaged by a massive earthquake that killed more than 300,000 people and left a million and a half homeless. A cholera epidemic carried in by United Nations occupation forces could sicken almost 800,000. A majority of the population lives on less than a dollar a day. Now, Aristide, by far the most popular figure in Haiti today and the first democratically elected president of the first black republic in the world, has returned home.
Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, ousted in the middle of the night just over a month ago, enjoys global support for his return, with the exception of the Obama White House. Though Barack Obama first called the Honduran military's removal of Zelaya a coup, his administration has backpedaled. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Zelaya's attempt to cross the Nicaraguan border into Honduras "reckless." Could well-placed lobbyists in Washington be forging U.S. foreign policy?