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News :: International
Ecuadorian President Ousted by Its Citizens, Congress and the Military
20 Apr 2005
Modified: 03:12:00 PM
After two weeks of protest and violent clashes between Ecuadorian citizens and the police, Congress voted today to destitute President General Lucio Gutierrez from power. The vote was almost unanimous with 60 votes in favor and 2 abstentions.
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Ecuadorian President Ousted by Congress and Military
The army removed their support from the President this afternoon while Jorge Poveda, Commander of the National Police, presented his resignation quoting a "general unwillingness" of his forces to fight against the masses.

A national strike and thousands of citizens came out to the streets starting last week to protest the increasing deterioration of democracy and civil rights in Ecuador. Protests were led by several local officials and organizations when a Supreme Court imposed by Gutierrez government back in December pardoned ex-president Abdala Bucaram, exiled in Panama, under allegations of extreme corruption.

The greatest tension broke last Friday, April 15th, when Gutierrez imposed a state of emergency which he quickly removed 24 hours later after protesters took the streets asking for his resignation. According to the Associated Press at least 10,000 people — banging pots and sticks and shouting "Get out, Lucio!" — were marching in the streets as Gutierrez made his announcement Friday.

Riots in the capital last night resulted in the destruction of many businesses and the Ministry of Social Welfare, set on fire by angry protesters. Clashes with the police lasted all night and resulted in as many as 180 injured. The only reported death was of Julio García Romero, a Chilean journalist, allegedly from cardiac arrest.

According to a local newspaper protesters finally headed home after six hours of rioting. "Many left wih tears in their eyes because of the repression but promised to return the next day and get rid of the dictator," reported El Hoy.

In earlier hours of the afternoon and before the vote in Cogress, US Ambassador Kristie Kenney, met with Gutierrez to express her "concern for events ailing the country." Ecuador is strategically crucial to the US government in the fight against drugs in Colombia and other Andean countries. The largest US military base in South America resides in Manta, Ecuador.

Vice-president Alfredo Palacio, isolated from all executive power by Gutierrez for over a year, will be assuming the Presidency in Ecuador.

In other news, negotiations continued today between Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and the United States on provisions of the Free Trade Agreement. Issues debated include intelectual property of generic drugs, patents on biodiversity, and the escalation of food product imports from the US.
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Ecuadorian President Ousted by Congress and Military
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Ecuadorian President Ousted by Congress and Military

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Re: Ecuadorian President Ousted by Its Citizens, Congress and the Military
20 Apr 2005
debates around which free trade agreement, since Ecuador isn't part of the CAFTA or NAFTA?
Re: debates around which free trade agreement
21 Apr 2005
FTAA- Free Trade Agreement of the Americas; it includes all of North and South America.
Re: Ecuadorian President Ousted by Its Citizens, Congress and the Military
21 Apr 2005
NAFTA is between Mexico and the US. CAFTA is the Central American Free Trade Agreement. FTAA is only for South America.
Re: Ecuadorian President Ousted by Its Citizens, Congress and the Military
21 Apr 2005
Close...

NAFTA is between Mexico, the US, and Canada.

The FTAA is based on NAFTA (it's often described as an "expansion" of NAFTA) and would involve the whole hemisphere, minus Cuba. Cutting and pasting, that's "Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela."

Since the neoliberals are having more and more trouble ramming the FTAA through on a schedule they like, CAFTA has been proposed as another intermediate "stepping stone" toward it, as a second set of states the US enters a bilateral agreement with. It is still under negotiation. CAFTA (or "DR-CAFTA") will be the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the United States.

Read more here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Free_Trade_Agreement
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_American_Free_Trade_Agreement
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Trade_Area_of_the_Americas
Re: Ecuadorian President Ousted by Its Citizens, Congress and the Military
22 Apr 2005
hi mj,
is that you? please send me an email to chat!
sj