Coup Attempt in Ecuador Is a Result of Sec. Clinton's Cowardice in Honduras

By Al Giordano

Oh, crap. Another year, another coup in Latin America. And while today's attempt by police forces in Ecuador went so far as to fire tear gas at elected president Rafael Correa, the military brass in the South American country have sided with the democratic order - its top general is on TV right now strongly backing the elected government - and this one isn't likely to go as well for the anti-democracy forces as last year's did in Honduras.

First, because the Ecuadorean people are far more advanced in social and community organization than their counterparts in Honduras were last year. Second, because the events last year in Honduras caused other center-left governments in the hemisphere to prepare for what everybody saw would be more coup attempts against them in more countries.

Additionally, we can expect in the coming hours that the police leaders responsible for todays events - you don't need to understand Spanish to get a pretty good idea of what went down this morning by watching the above video - will be rounded up and brought to justice, as would happen in any other country, including the United States.

But, kind reader, do you know why this is even happening? Because the same unholy alliance of Latin American oligarchs who can't stomach the rising wave of democracy in their countries - from the ex-Cubans of Miami to the ex-Venezuelans and others who have joined them in recent years - along with international crime organizations seeking new refuges and members of extreme rightist groups in the United States and elsewhere, saw their scheme work in 2009 in Honduras and took note of how quickly, after US President Barack Obama denounced the Honduras coup, his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began playing both sides of it.

It was this newspaper, through reporter Bill Conroy's investigations, that broke the story last August that the State Department-controlled Millennium Challenge Corporation had poured extraordinary amounts of money into Honduras in the months leading up to the June 29, 2009 coup d'etat. And in story after story, we demonstrated with documented fact how Clinton's Millennium Challenge Corporation went so far as to violate the ban on US aid to the Honduran coup regime. Clinton's later endorsement of farcical presidential elections and her over-reaching attempts to pretend nothing had happened in Honduras are precisely the signals that were received by today's coup plotters in Ecuador when they made a run at toppling the democratic government there.

At present, thankfully, the coup in Ecuador seems more likely to fail than to succeed. And there will be hell to pay for those behind it. But it didn't have to get that far. That only happened because, last year, the US Secretary of State pulled off a kind of "silent coup" in US foreign policy while her commander in chief was buried with the urgent domestic tasks stemming off economic collapse and, as everyone knows, small nations get little attention almost always anyway.

This time, the White House would do well to put a much shorter leash on its Secretary of State, because her horrendous and unforgivable anti-democratic behavior regarding the Honduras coup only fueled, and continues to fuel, understandable speculation that if the United States doesn't walk its talk about opposing coups d'etat, then it must have been an active participant in plotting it. The mishandling of the Honduras situation last year did lasting damage to President Obama's stated hopes to turn the page in US relations with its closest neighbors after decades of abuse and neglect. A single misstep by Secretary Clinton today and in the future regarding the events in Ecuador, like those she repeatedly made regarding Honduras, now that the hemispheric coup plotters have moved from Central America to larger South America, will further erode the cause of democracy in the entire hemisphere. I don't trust her. Nobody south of the border does. And nor should you, Mr. President.

Update: Narco News has translated today's Statement from the Office of President Rafael Correa.

Update II: If it holds, this will be the first time in the history of the hemisphere that the Armed Forces of a country stood up against a coup d'etat from the first moment. Now, that would be democracy at work.

Update III: The situation in Ecuador today is further complicated by the disillusion that the very social forces that elected President Correa have with his actions in office. The CONAIE (Federation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador) is the leading national indigenous movement with strong alliances with labor and other social forces) held a press conference today to say that it is neither with the police forces nor with President Correa. The CONAIE and its hundreds of thousands of participants is not only responsible for Correa's election, but its mobilizations caused the rapid-fire resignations of previous presidents of Ecuador in this century.

The situation thus also shines a light on the growing rift in the hemisphere between the statist left and the indigenous left and related autonomy and labor movements. The CONAIE is basically saying to Correa, "you want our support, then enact the agenda you were elected on." Whether one sees this as a dangerous game of brinkmanship or something that actually strengthens Correa's hand by placing him in the middle zone ideologically, it is worth seeing this at face value and beware of getting led astray by some of the usual suspect conspiracy theorists of the statist left who are predictably out there barking that the CONAIE is somehow an agent of imperialism, dropping rumors of US AID funding but never seeming to exhibit the hard evidence. Sigh. What Johnny-One-Notes! They wouldn't know nuance if it slapped them in the face. For them, you either line up lock-step with THE STATE (if it is "their" state) or you're a running dog of capitalism. That kind of Stalinist purge mentality should have died with the previous century.

The CONAIE's grievances happen to be very legitimate. Of course, they do not justify a coup d'etat, but the CONAIE is not participating in or supporting the coup d'etat. It is saying to Correa; we'll have your back, when you have ours. This, like the Armed Forces support for Correa, is also a historical first in the region. And the plot thickens...

Update IV: A boilerplate statement from the US State Department:

We are closely following events in Ecuador. The United States deplores violence and lawlessness and we express our full support for President Rafael Correa, and the institutions of democratic government in that country.

We urge all Ecuadorians to come together and to work within the framework of Ecuador’s democratic institutions to reach a rapid and peaceful restoration of order.

Now let's see if they walk that talk...

Update V: 9:30 p.m. Quito: Ecuadorean military troops have just rescued President Correa from the police hospital where he was sequestered all day. Looks like it was a pretty violent battle, but multiple media on the scene are reporting that the president is safe and the Armed Forces stuck with the democratic order.


a slight detour from your point: All I can glean today

is the cover story for the police mobilization, described in some sources as the result of misinformation: a protest against planned cuts to salaries, benefits, and promotion timelines.  The military brass very quickly and publicly came out on Correa's side.  Correa miscalculated the response to his attempt to negotiate in person with the police forces, and got tear gassed as a result.  None of this adds up, at the moment, to an actual coup attempt, other than references to manipulation by the oligarchy, and the public response by other Latam admins.

Things I would like to know:

At what point did this have any legs as a coup attempt? 

And, what's the transnat constituency for a coup, besides Ecuador's historically way-less-brazen-than-Honduras oligarchy?  Oil multinationals have been pretty happy with Correa.

Any directions to authentic journos in Quito would be greatly appreciated ...

And your actual point in this post -- that coupistas in the hemisphere can count on the US to at the very least let it happen thanks to Hillary -- is very well made and taken.

@ Dominic

Dom - Every time there has been a coup d'etat in this hemisphere - from Chile 1973 to Honduras 2009 - it has been designed for its proponents to say "oh, no, this is not a coup!"

In what country do police forces shoot tear gas at their elected president unless they feel protected by much bigger forces. There is already a disinformation campaign throughout the Internet - similar to what happened with Venezuela 2002 and Honduras 2009 - to claim that this is only a "police protest." Use your common sense and instincts and knowledge of history. The same international gang of thieves that was behind the Honduras coup is now making its move to try to go after what it considers the "second slowest zebra" of the center-left governments in the hemisphere. Only this time, the zebra was fast enough and has the backing (so far) of the Armed Forces. But this is clearly an attempt at destabilization to make an elected government fall.

Tragic... antidemocratic, but most likely not a coup...

Sadly, taking control of buildings, bridges, etc. is an all too common form of protest in South America.  Miners did it in Bolivia.  Environmentalists and students did it in Argentina.  

The leaders of this 'uprising' have said it is not a golpe and I think, given the context of social dissent in South America, we have to accept that.  The fact that these are members of the security forces certainly gives the impression of a golpe, but I doubt it will play out like one unless -- and this is very possible -- ALBA allies use it as a litmus test for imposing their own brand of imperialism.

Kristin Bricker

Kristin B's twitter feed is helping answer those and many other questions ... Lucio Gutierrez seems to be involved, and the police are apparently split on the coup question.

No news, bad news...

The President subcontracted SD to the Clinton Foundation; a Faustian deal à la "South America for my leisure, a cliff-hanger Presidency for the seizure". It's either Jane Hamsher or me. He picked fifth column over Front Page. If you're privileged or burdened with covering the Clinton Foundation's playground, pity the poor played souls, and leave it to Hillary to cast the death-spell of serendipity. A deal is a Deal.  

posted K's twitterfeed before seeing yr response

I'm with you Al, was just trying to figure out how coup planners (seems as though Gutierrez is a nexus for them) thought they could be successful without the backing of the military. 

lets be realistic here

ok I've lived in Ecuador for the last 3 years and am married to an Ecuadorian national.  Correa has made a many big promises but has done almost nothing.  He is arrogant.  When anyone challenges his ideas or policies he always says the same thing.  "You are ill-informed."  He is not open to anyone elses ideas but his own.  This riot is a culmination of years of simply ignoring everything the opposition has to say.  Not that I am condoning a "coup"  that is certainly not the way to go about it.  And this one doesn't really make too much sense. 

Correa however has it coming to him.  He has shut down any media organization that opposes his policies and has even put in place a new constitution that allows him to dissolve the National congress if he wants to.  

Also for decades the leaders of latin america have whined and moaned about how the US has been intervening in the region and how they don't want it anymore.  Obama did just this with the situation in Honduras.  He ignored it and allowed them to deal with it as well.  Secretary Clinton did the same thing.  So how do you want it?  Should they intervene or not?  I believe that the US has no business intervening in the matters of other countries that pose no direct threat to our national security.  This includes honduras, ecuador, cuba even Iraq.  We should simply let them deal with their own stuff.  And when we let them handle their own matters we should not be criticized for giving them what we want.

The US has nothing to do with these countries matters and should not be brought into them only to be criticized once we are.  Clinton and Obamas isolationist strategy is exactly the right way to go about it. So quit whining and scapegoating the US for other countries issues.

With all due respect...

Dominic - With all due respect to Kristin (who worked here for various years, but has not been part of this project since March), she is simply retweeting and translating "reports" from other sources, some of which are true, but some of which are grossly inaccurate or knowingly false on the part of their originators. She doesn't have experience reporting from a country during a coup d'etat. She doesn't have experience reporting from or on South America. She doesn't know the region or its dynamics. I couldn't disagree more strongly with some of the rumor-mongering she is participating in today. Retweeting the over-the-top screeds of Eva Golinger is not reporting. It is merely spreading hyped up hit-count seeking rumors of which one has no way of separating what is true and what is not. Knee jerk shouting of slogans and retweeting of discredited sources is not authentic journalism. It is not even reporting. And with all she learned here, I'm surprised to see her take the easy path rather than put a more discerning eye on her Twitter tweets and journalism. Hopefully, with time, she'll self-correct on that. We all make our mistakes starting out in this trade. Hopefully we all learn from them.

@ Andrew

Andrew - What we urged during the Honduras coup was the very non-intervention you recommend here: that the US walk its talk and cease providing funds to sources backing the coup. Funding a regime is intervention. Endorsing its false elections is intervention. Barking orders at Honduran President Zelaya not to cross back into his own country, as Clinton did on July 23, 2009, was intervention. We agree totally on the point of intervention. We just might not interpret it the same way.

Obama Suffers From A Typical American Syndrome

I agree with Al that Clinton is a corrupt clown, but I think the President also suffers from that classic, basic ignorance of Latin America in general that many Americans, including Liberals, suffer from and so he makes the mistake of leaving issues in the region "to the experts." I don't know how many times I've bumped into San Francisco liberals who are very anti-Cuba or anti-Venezuela from just a basic lack of real interest or knowledge on the subjects.

So far it does look like the Ecuadorian masses are on the streets, fighting back and defending their democracy.

I'm not by any means

I'm not by any means supporting the coup, but what "rising wave of democracy" would the ex-cubans be upset by?  The Democracy of a president who has been in power without holding elections for over five decades?  Are you serious? 

@ Prom

Prom - You're point is well taken, and legitimate. I probably should flesh out what I mean.

The "ex-Cubans" I refer to aren't nostalgic for a democracy that didn't exist before the Cuban revolution either. They seek a return to the Battista era when oligarchs rules with an iron fist in alliance with organized crime to create an oasis for crime mafias. What they're upset about is the tide that began in Venezuela, where the left began winning legitimate elections and governs as democratically as the rest of the countries the western media calls democracies. I'm referring to guys like Otto Reich and crowd who used to run US policy in the region as an appendage of the Cold War; they're not pro-democracy, and the coups they've long backed are proof of that.

What they want from Honduras, and now from Ecuador, is a place they can begin anew the Battista experiment. And they've got lots of narco and crime organizations in agreement: they, too, want a haven. And the support of the Miami ex-Cuban leaders - the same who protect the violent terrorist Luis Posada Carriles - have revealed that democracy is the last thing they want in their participation in supporting coups against democratically elected governments, in Venezuela 2002, in Honduras 2009 and now in Ecuador 2010.

I certainly understand the position of those that don't consider Cuba a democracy. But nor can one consider its opposition to be small-d democrats. They've revealed very much to the contrary, year in, year out. And if they got in power again, the last thing Cuba would get is democracy.

CONAIE And All Movements Need To Act Fast

Just read the full statement by CONAIE and while their grievances make complete sense, they should still act fast to mobilize against the coup considering Correa remains trapped in that hospital. A lack of unity and real organization will just lead to another tragedy as in Honduras. And then CONAIE won't even have Correa to negotiate with, instead a brutal police state won't just clash with them as Correa has done, it will start killing them off as the fascist regime does in Honduras.

Get your facts straight

My situation is similar to that of Andrew, in that I'm a US citizen married to an Ecuadorian national. I've been living here in Ecuador for almost 4 years and I have seen, first hand what is happening here. However, unlike Andrew I've seen a courageous president Correa try to deal with the corruption that years of US intervention have created. Correa isn't arrogant, he's self confident and is doing what he considers best for the entire country. He's fighting the oligarchs on the one hand and the indegenous people on the other. Unfortunately, they both want the same thing - control of Ecuador's resources, and Ecuador and it's people be damned. 

I can tell you first hand that the corruption is everywhere. We live in the countryside (100 km south of Quito) and the schools are a disaster (the teenagers in our barrio cannot do simple arithmetic), the police are useless and corrupt, the local governments are totally corrupt, and the indgenous people in the paramo above us are attempting to force the poor people here to pay for the water from the local river.  Without this natural resource these people who are barely subsisting can't water their crops, feed their livestock, or survive. This is what Correa is dealing with, and is being opposed at every step by those who only want what they can take. Correa wants to test the teachers for competency and they strike, close the schools, and complain that he's a dictator. The local governments demand kickbacks for all contracts, and complain that Correa is a dictator when he attempts to make them accountable. 

The indigenous people supported Correa because they thought he was going to give them everything they demanded. When he turned out to be promoting policies that favored all Ecuadorians he was called a traitor by them. All you have to is look at the people they're supporting now to see how "just" is their cause. They now support Lucio Gutierrez, one of Ecuador's most corrupt ex-presidents in the hopes he will give them what they want. 

You don't have to take my word for it. Do some research instead of just regurgitating the nonsense that comes from those who are trying to manipulate the events to achieve their own agendas. The facts are there, all you have to do is dig a little.

our government is a bunch of

our government is a bunch of scumbags. they know no morals whether democrat or republican. what do you expect. they are pigs. 

"sin" drone

"Obama Suffers From A Typical American Syndrome" Submitted September 30, 2010 - 9:19 pm by Max Do not overestimate American Democracy. Imperiled, fragile it is as it has never been in the past. GDR or DDR, Reichstag or the double D. If you launch a syndrome from a pleonasm, reality surmises a purposeful tautology. Obama tends to Democracy's first and last real line of defense: American Citizenry. Honduras, Cuba, Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico and kindreds' fates hang in a balancing acts of Executive restraints and deputized artistry. Hillary Clinton is a piece of roving art for the gentry's commodity. Let's put the syndrome where it belongs, the gentry's commodity market.

Lanny Davis

Lanny Davis must be cursing under his breath, he just lost a big client (the golpistas), lol.

The boilerplate language from the State Dept. is so annoying. It's wishy-washy, and leaves things open for interpretation. Sec. Clinton shows more fortitude when it comes to dealing with North Korea, but when it comes to standing for democratic principles, she phones it in.

But, kind reader, do you

But, kind reader, do you know why this is even happening? Because the same unholy alliance of Latin American oligarchs who can't stomach the rising wave of democracy in their countries - from the ex-Cubans of Miami to the ex-Venezuelans and others who have joined them in recent years - along with international crime organizations seeking new refuges (...)

All the aforementioned have such refuge currently in Panama, and they were all applauding the coup in Honduras last year. There's a growing Venezuelan "exile" community of people who are vehemently (and probably violently) anti-Chavez. While we have increased drug interdiction - to keep the Americans happy and prices up - massive money laundering is left alone or even protected. The treasurer of the president's political party - who also just happens to be his cousin - is in jail in Mexico on charges of money laundering for the Beltran Leyva cartel, our "tourism minister" features in a Colombian case file as an arms trafficker and so on.

So I don't know - why create new refuges if they already have everything they need in Panama?

Al, your reporting is priceless!

A very pedestrian comment:

should it not read:

"And neither should you, Mr. President."

So Glad This Ended Quickly

Great to see Ecuadorans defeat this coup quickly. We won't have endure weeks of both inspiration and heartbreak like last year with Honduras, watching the people unite and rise up and yet unable to restore their elected government. At least we had another ray of hope here in Ecuador where the good guys did win!

@ Tom Barich


You said things that certainly ring true for me. I've been thinking about moving to Ecuador for some time now and have been completely immersed in trying to find good political info. I expected to see some kind of movement against Correa. Given our past actions in SA it seemed inevitable.

I've been trying to follow the events without being blinded not only by the controlled media but also by the controlled opposition. You say the facts are there, that we all we have to do is dig a little. It has been tough for me to find good reliable info. I would certainly appreciate any info and/or direction to these facts or their source.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.



Al, talk about being wrong in this one

Wow! Talk about a condescending article. No, not all events like the one that took place in Ecuador are the fault of the US. The entire article took Ecuador's political instability out of context in order to put the blame on Clinton. Ecuador has had 10 presidents in 10 years, well before Clinton was the Sec of State. In Ecuador violent uprisings are not uncommon.  Also, by placing the blame on the oligarchy also takes the country's history out of context. When the oligarchy was in power, leftists would stage protests WORSE than the ones lived these two days. The country has a healthy history of the population standing for what they believe is right. It doesn't really matter who is in power. The other side will bitch no matter what. Placing the blame on Clinton is condescending because it's based on the premise that those who revolted aren't able to make decisions on their own, but only react of US' actions.  Al, if you want to blame the US for this, please do but do your research first.

Still don't get Honduras

The left still doesn't understand what happened in Honduras.

Clinton wasn't 'cowardly'.  Obama and the Democrats were complicit.

The American left is so easily fooled that one little statement by Obama where he pretended to be against the coup is somehow obscuring that the US of A was always behind the Honduras coup in the first place.

Even from the beginning, it was obvious that a bunch of officers in a military that was wholely dependent on US weapons and training, and that a bunch of businessmen in a country that does 70% of its trade with America, would never, ever stage a coup if they thought the USA didn't like the idea.

Writers have identified the money from the usual suspects in the National Endowment for Democracy and the usual fronts for the Republican and Democratic parties that flowed to the coupsters ... beginning under Bush and then continuing uninterrupted under Obama.

And most tellingly, one of the reasons for the 'soft-freeze' on US aid to Honduras, instead of the hard cut-off required by US law when a coup occurs, is that the US left a big loophole in its aid cut-off and let this money for 'democracy-promotion' continue to flow in the weeks after the coup.  Of course, US 'democracy-promotion' money does not flow to the people struggling and organizing for democracy.

And of couse, the US openly oppsed the legitimate President returning to power, and instead supported the coupsters and their rigged elections held while the nation was under martial law and political opponents were under open threat of attack.

Clinton wa not cowardly on Honduras.  Obama and Clinton were complicit.

And, my first thought when hearing about this coup was to ask whether or not Obama and Clinton were behind this one too.  That's the key of understanding what really happened in Honduras. It lets one ask the right questions about the next coup that just happens to try to overturn a left-ist leaning leader that corporate America doesn't want in power.  Don't know if they were. That's the sort of info I was looking for when I came to NarcoNews.

@ Marta, @ Samson

To the both of you -

Marta says I'm wrong because this was just another in the fourteen year series of rebellions that forced the resignations of ten presidents over that time, and the US can't possibly have any role in any of it.

Samson says I'm wrong because the US government plotted and executed the Honduras coup and he comes to Narco News looking not for facts but for confirmation of his worldview which is that the US is obviously behind all coup attempts.

Truth is, you obviously can't both be right!

Truer is, neither of you are. You are simply making the same "I'll construct my own set of facts to confirm my worldview" argument, albeit from opposite sides of the spectrum.

Let's talk about what just went down in Ecuador, Samson: Who saved the president and the democratic order? The Ecuadorean Armed Forces, that's who. And did you know that every year - let's take last year for a hard example - the US Defense Department gives $50 million US dollars directly to Ecuador's military?

It's no secret. Its public record. You can read it right here:

During Fiscal Year 2009 the U.S. USMILGP has provided the Armed Forces of Ecuador with a total of $50,715,111 in Security Cooperation funds. Our programs consist mainly of equipment deliveries, military training, professional exchanges, and humanitarian assistance.

So do you want it both ways, now?

In other words, you say, about Honduras, that "a bunch of officers in a military that was wholely dependent on US weapons and training, and that a bunch of businessmen in a country that does 70% of its trade with America, would never, ever stage a coup if they thought the USA didn't like the idea."

Well then how do you explain that a military - this time in Ecuador - that also receives even more funding than that in Honduras from the Pentagon, suddenly became the first Armed Forces in the history of the continent to oppose a coup d'etat? According to your logic on Honduras, it would have to be because they were ordered by Washington to do so. Washington would therefore be, under your stated rules, complicit in the defense of democracy and the Correa government! But, see, I don't think that is the case either. There are simply more players on this field than the United States. (There are even more players in the United States than the United States government, such as exiled Bush and Reagan functionaries like Otto Reich or Senator Jim DeMint who work against Obama administration policy and for coups d'etat in Latin America. It would be simpleton to blame any government for what its opposition does.) Not everything is always so black and white.

As for you, Samson, you seem to want it both ways. If you want Narco News to simply shout to you the latest anti-imperialist slogan, give you a lollipop and congratulate you that your presumptions were right all along, well, this isn't the doctor's office. We're journalists here. We seek out the facts and the truths behind them. There are plenty of pamphleteers and conspiracy theorists out there that will do that for you (albeit with less style and fun than here!).

As for you, Marta, you seem to think that the very same police forces that repressed and attacked the rebellions by CONAIE and others all these years are suddenly one and the same as them! But the social forces responsible for those rebellions since 1996 were very clear to state yesterday that they don't back the mutinous cops, nor do they back Correa, who they consider to have betrayed their electoral support upon which he got voted in. The rebellions of recent years in Ecuador were not from different social forces each time: each and every one of them was from the same movements, those of the CONAIE and its well organized partners at the grassroots of indigenous, labor and other struggles. And those cops - they were always on the other side of those.

Obviously the mutinous cops were in cohorts with other forces bigger than them. Much of that will now come out in the wash, too, when the trials begin. To say that it is in police officers' nature to follow orders and not to rebel is not condescending. That's what cops do! And the real protagonists of the authentic social movements in Ecuador see them the same as I do. This is not an outsider's presumption: this is what we have learned by listening to the Ecuadoreans who know them best.

It could also have been abetted by some deadenders

Since Obama has been pretty busy with other matters, I believe some neo-con, neo-right, whatever you may call them folks have been taking advantage of America's overstretch and domestic obsession to try to reverse social trends they dislike. Is it impossible to believe that there isn't a foreign policy wing of the Tea Party as well as a domestic one, trying to hold back the social and economic changes overseas they don't like as well as the domestic changes they don't like?

Which "United States"?

This quote from Al is right on the mark:

(There are even more players in the United States than the United States government, such as exiled Bush and Reagan functionaries like Otto Reich or Senator Jim DeMint who work against Obama administration policy and for coups d'etat in Latin America. It would be simpleton to blame any government for what its opposition does.)

And to that mix you can add some of the usual Miami crowd, some of those Iran-Contra exiles in Central and South America, some of those big-business associations, some of those "political consultants" and then some of those so-called "press organizations".

There is no such thing as one United States government, not in this part of the world. I remember how the US ambassador in Honduras refused to answer questions on how many times he had been in touch with Otto Reich during the weeks the coup played out, for example.

It is indeed simpleton to always assume the US government to be behind everything. There are interests behind everything, some may be part of the government, others may not, and yet others are something in between.

Pieces of the puzzle....?


"El jueves en Ecuavisa entrevistaron al "prominente político Lucio Gutierrez" como lo calificó el moderador del programa Carlos Vera (...)"

So, who is Carlos Vera? See here.

So, what is this Centro Interamericano de Gerencia Politica? See here.

And what effort is Mr. Carlos Vera currently heading in Ecuador? This.

So, why a coup attempt while this is effort is en marcha? Here's why.

when is Obama going to be the cause?

Al Giordano wrote:

"The mishandling of the Honduras situation last year did lasting damage to President Obama's stated hopes to turn the page in US relations with its closest neighbors after decades of abuse and neglect. A single misstep by Secretary Clinton today and in the future regarding the events in Ecuador, like those she repeatedly made regarding Honduras, now that the hemispheric coup plotters have moved from Central America to larger South America, will further erode the cause of democracy in the entire hemisphere. I don't trust her. Nobody south of the border does. And nor should you, Mr. President."

Obama stated a lot of things, didn't he....  Let's not go through them all but his popularity couldn't be lower right now. If anyone has hurt Obama, it's been himself. Let's face it, he's just a replica of Bush. Nothing has changed whatsoever. And I mean nothing. Only Arnold had the guts to make possession of cannabis the same as a traffic violation starting January 1st in California. No criminal record at all. But I can't remember a single thing Obama has done. Let's stop blaming Hillary, and blaming Emannuel or Pelosi, or everyone but Obama. He's the one that appoints the underlings, and he can take them out any time he wants as demonstrated. If we attack Iran or anyone esle, it's not going to be Hillary's fault, sorry... As far as Ecuador goes, that's too far fetched. No one is giving the full picture of both sides' arguments. Everyone is biased in some fashion...

Who's asking me...! ?

Dennes Longoria, Of course I concur with everything you state. His acumen spares lives, not feelings. He's still standing, taller as for me, and so are we.

@ Dennes - The record of Obama

This is a terrific thread: many points of view, all being expressed in a civil way, a general desire to get to the truth while showing concern for the right of the Latin American people to find their own way forward.  Having said that, I have to take issue with Dennes' statement that Obama is "just a replica of Bush. Nothing has changed whatsoever." 

In fact, virtually the opposite is true. Obama is changing the policy of the U.S. government in a thousand different ways: Today in America, health care insurance cannot be denied due to pre-existing conditions or revoked due to illness, whereas it was under Bush and all previous presidents. Millions of domestic automobile industry workers had their jobs saved because the government loaned the industry billions with specific conditions and performance oversight (for which Obama is denounced by the right as a socialist). Tens of millions of Americans didn't lose the value of their pensions in the financial collapse because Obama pumped enough money into the big banks to save those pensions (and was denounced by the left for not nationalizing the banks, which was impossible since the Treasury Department was incapable of running them).  Badly made consumer products like toys made with toxic plastics are being investigated again through serious instead of flaccid enforcement by regulatory agencies. The tracks, engines and switching equipment that help maintain our passenger rail system are getting badly overdue investments, which were denied or slowed down by Bush. U.S. science policies have been changed to reflect the reality of climate change instead of denying its existence.

I could give you another dozen or so examples, but you see the pattern.  This is a president who believes in public action to solve public problems, and who is concerned about the rights of all more than he is concerned about the privileges of the few. Unless you think it's just as bad to be a liberal as it is to be a conservative, you'll be able to recognize this shift, which is -- in the context of recent American political history -- why the right-wing is going nuts today, and which is usefully showing us just how horrible the alternative to Obama was and would be. So let's not make the absence of a perfect Obama the enemy of a good Obama, when all is weighed in the balance.

One final point, a pre-emptive response to an inevitable objection to what I've said:  Obama has not reversed all the policies of the Bush administration in fighting transnational terrorist networks. Yes, he has not cut back on digital privacy invasion and foreign special operations targeting those networks.  This is not because he wants to create a surveillance state or go around killing American citizens at random. The reason he's been aggressive about fighting terrorism, dear friends, is because it's real, as many Americans who don't live in Madrid, London, Mumbai and other cities hit by these networks in recent years understand. You don't have to be obsessed with 9/11 as many of the Tea Partiers are, to appreciate Obama's desire to avoid having several thousand Americans killed in a bombing of an American city's subways or shopping malls.  No president, especially a president who is otherwise trying to make progressive changes, would survive politically for five minutes if he failed to defend against this kind of threat as vigorously as he could. (By the way, the same thing would be true of Correa or a leftist president in Ecuador if Peru ever renewed hostilities over the two nations' previously disputed territory. Self-defense trumps ideology.)

That doesn't mean we don't have to be vigilant in opposing specific national-security actions we don't like.  Absolutely we should.  But our disagreement with one set of Obama's policies does not authorize us to abandon the facts and claim that he's merely a replica of George W. Bush.  As for Latin America, I agree with Al: the Otto Reichs of earlier administrations are bad news, but they are less bad news now that they are sitting in offices someplace on K Street instead of being ensconced at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

same old propaganda

"The reason he's been aggressive about fighting terrorism, dear friends, is because it's real "

Like Chomsky says, it's only terrorism when someone else does it, not when we do it...  After illegally invading Iraq, and Afghanistan and continuing those illegal wars and all the innocent people that we are killing, I think that justifies the next 1000 terrorist acts against the U.S. I wouldn't call it terrorism, I would call it self-defense, just like you have.

Is this really useful at all?


You're welcome to your opinions and to express them here, but why do some people seek to hijack any conversation over US policy into a booooooring wash-rinse-repeat cycle of arguments we've all heard a thousand times already about "Obama, good or bad?"

I personally think the "Obama is Bush" meme is childish, and doesn't make converts or convince anyone anyway.

It is a debate of the gringos, by the gringos and for the gringos, with little relevance to folks from the rest of the hemisphere or the world.

What gets lost when gringos start having the same silly fight over and over again are the demands and struggles of the Ecuador people - in this case - or those of any other land (Honduras, a lot last summer) and THAT, friend, is also a form of imperialism that makes your behavior as "Bush-like" as that which you accuse upon Obama. Think about it.

@ Dennes, re justifying terrorism

Dennes, with all due respect, your suggestion that another thousand terrorist acts against the U.S. are justified is contemptuous of the lives of civilians, as if killing civilians can be the legitimate currency of conflict.  It also equates the motives for perpetrating massacres with the motives for engaging in military action -- specifically, it equates the unprovoked massacre of innocent civilians (9/11) and military action to remove the capacity to launch that terrorism (the removal of the Taliban from control of Afghanistan, since they had harbored the camps where the 9/11 teams were trained). 

The invasion of Iraq was a strategic blunder and a crime against humanity by those who conceived and ordered it.  But just as there was no justification for the mass killing which that invasion visited on Iraqi civilians, because there was no self-defense involved in removing Saddam Hussein, there was no self-defense involved in the 9/11 attacks, which any rational observer would have known would trigger swift and devastating countermeasures and thus be ineffective as self-defense.  Had Al Qaeda actually wished to safeguard the homelands of its members, it would never have adopted the massacre of civilians as a tactic of conflict.

Thus there can be no justification for any future mass killings of American civilians -- because there is never justification for the massacre of innocents.  So let's leave off the implied exoneration of Al Qaeda's tactics.  They have dressed up their killing with political rhetoric to win the sympathy of bystanders who don't like the enemy they have chosen. (And bin Laden's reported statement yesterday that somehow climate change is related to his cause is a laughable example of that rhetoric.) Unless we want to sanction massacre as a legitimate activity in international affairs, all cycles of mass violence and the political rhetoric that sustain them have to be discredited and ended.  That's why I favor moving the entire effort to suppress terrorism back to the frame of international law enforcement, where it belongs and where it can be effective.  And that's what I fault Obama for:  not discontinuing the "war" metaphor, which only lends false credibility to the claim by terrorists that they are "warriors" who have a worthy cause.  There can be no legitimate cause for massacres of civilians.

re: is this necessary

sorry, it was not my intent to diss the plight of the equatorians. but I mean, the police are equatorian, also. what about their plight...

I just get tired of people defending Obama like he's some sort of God. He's just a man like you and me. He makes mistakes like you and me. Everything that happens is always someone else's fault other than Obama's. He can do no wrong. When he kills Afghanis, it's for a good cause. I get sick of it is all...

@ Tribunus

you can look at it either way. If they're not justified in killing innocents, then neither are we. If it's OK for us, then it's OK for them, also. Only difference is they took out 3,000, and we're killing them by the hundreds of thousands... someone's gotta tell it like it is...

apparently the cop rebellion worked

According to this bbc link: whatever was causing the cops to rebel, is now being rewritten... I guess their protest worked... I'm not smelling coup attempt at all...

@ berpin

"Dennes Longoria, Of course I concur with everything you state. His acumen spares lives, not feelings. He's still standing, taller as for me, and so are we. "

[offensive comment deleted]


"I just get tired of people defending Obama like he's some sort of God. He's just a man like you and me"


"When he kills Afghanis, it's for a good cause. I get sick of it is all..."


If Obama was a God, maybe he could make it all better and stop Afghanis from being killed? I haven't seen anybody suggest you should be defending him, but maybe some people defend him because he is a human like you said, not a God? Even a dictator doesn't have absolute control,  except in some people's minds and in perhaps in theory.


All of that started before he was sworn in, and has a momentum now that almost seems irreversible, I think damage control with some progress in other areas is the best one can hope for sometimes when the beast we call civilization gets hunger pangs.


Anyway, aside from all that...I know you don't know me from Adam, but if it makes you feel any better, I get sick of the BS too.


I read your BBC link and the Al Jazeera sources it cites. Sounds like a coup to me: Unrest spread to five provinces, airports blocked, president tear-gassed and hold hostage in the hospital (it does not say police hospital in the articles, do you have more information on that, Al? - that would be a very clear sign of a disguised coup attempt, IMHO).

On another topic: your ethics is rather archaic, and would lead to never-ending bloodshed, if followed.

@ Dennes 10/03/10 8:51pm

I come to The Field for information about the US and whatever is on Al's mind.  Because of The Field, I became I Co-Publisher.  Making the decision to "use my name" and be part of this authentic group of journalists and organizers was an excellent choice.  I learn about issues from all of America, South and North.

My challenge is to step up and say I hope our readers and Co-Publishers from somewhere in America appreciate the need for people like me to work on the ground at such a critical time in our US history.  Participating in the conversation here about US keeps me going. I'm open to ideas and encouragement.      

The vision held by the GOTP for US is why I continue to work for change domestically. 

Does that make me a stooge?  How about Curley Howard?  Woowoowoowoo!

Sloganeering is not commenting

Dennes - Now you're bringing "zionist masters" into this? That is code-speak for bigotry and hatred whenever it is used, but particularly unbecoming in this case because everybody knows that "Zion" is located in the southern part of the Western hemisphere along the equator? Once again, it is you that is practicing a form of imperialism by imposing your own seething hatreds on a part of the world that doesn't get enough good attention already. If you are going to continue using this forum as a vehicle for your bigotry, I'll be happy reimburse the original contribution with which you got a Narcosphere account and bid ye farewell. This is not a forum for that.

I'm also not impressed by the way you come on so strong as if you're the most radical and pure among us but within a few comments you begin parroting the extreme right wing talking points of "this was not a coup."

@ Al

Sorry... my comment was out of line and I have deleted it. I don't know what took hold of me. I'm human too...  I appreciate you didn't censor me so far. I agree that Hillary is bad news. There's no need to be afraid of any further comments from me, as I will now spend the time and be more reasonable. My bad...

@ Sophie

"I read your BBC link and the Al Jazeera sources it cites. Sounds like a coup to me: Unrest spread to five provinces, airports blocked, president tear-gassed and hold hostage in the hospital  "

Well, the president was saying the police wanted to kill him. They have guns, so why didn't they. Why should I believe this president guy, when my experience is that all politicians lie, period. Suddenly, there's a president somewhere who never lies? It's too big a leap of faith for me. And also, why revise the thing that was upsetting the cops, if they don't have a valid point. That was the main point I was making.

@ Lorie

"Does that make me a stooge?  How about Curley Howard?  Woowoowoowoo!"

I don't know who Curley Howard is. All I meant by that is that Bush went into Iraq illegally, and hardly anyone disputes that, and it seemed to be something Israel was pushing, (obviously not every Israeli was pushing it), but maybe one or two important figureheads, and that gave it ammunition. And Obama was talking about being for change and restoring our Honor, but what does he do? He rehires Gates, and Hillary, and all the folks that got us into Iraq. Now also Petraeus, who was the surge guy in Iraq. Let's get real here. Where is the change Obama promised.

@ Deuce

"All of that started before he was sworn in, and has a momentum now that almost seems irreversible, I think damage control with some progress in other areas is the best one can hope for sometimes when the beast we call civilization gets hunger pangs. "

Those wars are bankrupting us, man. This whole terrorism scare is a farce. There was never proof Bin Laden did a thing. That's why Afghanistan didn't turn him over. So we go and bomb them? How about coming up with the evidence... We need to stop the killing, it's not good for us in the long run (simply for our own sense of moral well being, not that anyone can really hit us back). Killing innocents is not right when they do it, or when we do it either. Why haven't they found this Bin Laden feller. He appears just to be a fictitious character, the way I see it. It's like the war on drugs. You can't go to war with a concept such as terrorism or drugs or any of these vague terms that are merely used as pretenses for invasion and occupation of places that have natural resources we want to exploit, without regard for laws or reason.

don't shoot the messenger...

I'm just passing this along as an oddity, related to the alleged coup, because the doctors that tended to Correa deny he was ever sequestered, and basically say he could have left any time he wanted and there was no need for the shooting and for the rioting that ensued. I don't know if they're liars. I'm not making any judgment on it other than to point to it, as possible corroboration that there was maybe not a coup attempt, but you know how the mainstream media works (they need to make a living too, i guess), once they start spinning something, it's pretty hard to put the genie back in the bottle it and it takes a life of its own, so to speak. Any way, here's the link in Spanish:

update: one doctor has retracted

One of the two doctors that said there was never a sequestration has retracted saying he wasn't even there, and the other couldn't be reached for comment.

Click here


And you know this, how?

Dennes - This is now at the point of annoying rumor mongering on your point. And you know these reports are "true" how? You talk about "them" as if other media or people are engaged in a "spin campaign." But as far as I can tell, it's you doing that. What is the point?

I really must ask: Are you a little bit "not right" in the head? This is not "rumor central." It's a news site. Treat it as such.

I don't know who's telling the truth

Obviously I'm just some puke in a garage in el cajon, with a computer and an interent connection. If i was a real reporter, I'd be making money. I would have a camera and travel permissions. Go ahead and put me down, I don't care. I don't smell a coup, bro... I don't know what to tell you. There's spinning going on from both sides... It's like 9-11, no one is allowed to differ from the official story, the pursuit of the truth be damned.

@ Dennes

Dennes - I don't know what you mean by "no one is allowed to differ from the official story." You've commented without any censorship at all here for days on this matter. And you also know your comments have been read because you have gotten response. I think you will also find my latest posting, above this one, to be opening debate, not closing it.

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About Al Giordano


Publisher, Narco News.

Reporting on the United States at The Field.

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