Ecuador. According to COUNTRYAAH, Ecuador has a population of 17.08 million (2018). A serious political crisis broke out in Ecuador on September 30. Eight hundred police officers barricaded themselves in the police headquarters in the capital, Quito, in protest of a law that, in accordance with the government’s general cuts in public spending, would reduce police salaries in the form of bonuses. President Rafael Correa personally went to the police headquarters to talk to the rebels. After two hours of fruitless discussions, Correa went to the nearby police hospital, which was then surrounded by police and the president was prevented from leaving the building for ten hours, including by using tear gas. At one point, Correa appeared in the window and he, at the same time as he ripped off his tie and exposed his chest, rebelled the police to shoot him if that was what they were looking for. At lunchtime, he announced to local media that he was undergoing a coup attempt. In the end, Correa was rescued by a special unit of military and police officers who broke through the ranks of the rebellious police forces with the help of, among other things, snipers. A total of five people were shot dead and 16 were seriously injured. The drama sparked speculation as to whether it was really a real coup attempt, as Correa claimed. Several factors indicated that this was not the case; Although Quito’s international airport was blocked by a number of Air Force officers in connection with the events, the rebellious policemen were largely not supported by either the military, the other police or the political opposition.
The aftermath of the events of September 30 meant that investigations were launched to investigate to what extent political forces had been behind. President Correa accused a paramilitary police group, Grupo Armado Policial (GAP), of sparking the uprising, and former President Lucio Gutiérrez of Partido Sociedad Patriótica (PSP) for exploiting it. However, the government could not provide any evidence for these claims. At the same time, Police Chief Patricio Franco assured that the police force as a whole, apart from a few individuals, remained steadfastly loyal to the President and the Constitution.
In March 2012, the native organization CONAIE conducted a 700km long protest march to Quito. CONAIE stated that the aim was not to overthrow Correa – which CONAIE had already recommended to the people to vote on – but to ensure that the indigenous people were included in water and oil projects for advice. Correa was irreconcilable with the march, accused CONAIE of being in the right wing, and mobilized a counter-march. The protests ended without violence, but nonetheless marked that Correa was losing track of an important sector of the population as his closer economic engagement with China.
In August 2012, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sought political asylum at Ecuador’s embassy in London to avoid being extradited to Sweden and possibly the United States. Assange still lives at the embassy as Ecuador and the UK have failed to find a diplomatic solution to the problem.
In October, a court issued an order frozen $ 200 million. US $ in values of the North American oil company Chevron. Previously, a judgment was passed ordering Chevron to pay $ 18.2 billion US $ in damages to the native people of the Ecuadorian Amazon for the devastation Chevron’s oil recovery had inflicted on the environment. Earlier this month, Chevron had dropped an appeal in the U.S. Supreme Court that would impede the recovery of the damages. In November, a judge in Argentina seized Chevron’s values in line with the Ecuadorian ruling.
In February 2013 elections were held for parliament and the presidential post. Correa was re-elected in the first round of elections with 57.1% of the vote. His PAIS alliance got 100 out of the new parliament’s 137 seats and thus absolute majority.
In June 2013, North American intelligence analyst Edward Snowden requested political asylum in Ecuador. It was Snowden who had revealed the US global espionage on the Internet a month before. That prompted Robert Menendez, chairman of the North American Foreign Affairs Committee, to declare that if Ecuador met Snowden, “it would seriously affect Ecuador’s trade with the United States. We do not reward countries for bad behavior ”. That prompted Correa to declare that Ecuador would grant $ 23 million. US $ annually for human rights education in the United States, equal to the value of the country’s trade agreement with the United States. He continued: “Ecuador will not be pressured by anyone and will not place trade interests on our principles”. Ecuador issued a temporary travel document to Snowden, but for unpublished reasons it was withdrawn again, and the president declared that it was a mistake. Ecuador may have been threatened with far more severe retaliation by the United States. Just a month later, the Bolivian president’s plane was held back in Europe for 14 hours because the United States thought Snowden was aboard.