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The state of democracy a year after Ecuador's coup

Ecuador is still debating whether an attempted coup occurred on Sept. 30 last year, but the revolt has nonetheless had profound changes on three institutions in the Andean nation.


Ecuador's President Rafael Correa gestures during a press conference in Quito, Ecuador, last week.

Dolores Ochoa/AP

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A year ago today, on September 30, 2010, Ecuador made international headlines when a police revolt over bonuses turned into what the government maintains was an attempted coup.

Early that morning, President Rafael Correa rushed to the main police barracks of Ecuador's capital Quito to address rebel officers. After being booed, President Correa defied them to kill him: "If you want to kill the president, here he is. Kill him, if you want to. Kill him, if you are brave enough."

Police tear-gassed and pushed the president, who was then ushered to a nearby hospital. He was trapped inside for almost 12 hours by policemen who surrounded the building. Soldiers eventually rescued Correa after a shoot-out with the police. Five people died that day.

For the government and its supporters, September 30 was a failed coup, aimed at presidential assassination. For critics, the day was a labor dispute, albeit a violent one, that the government used for political gain.

Today divisions remain. The government will be marking the one-year anniversary with photo exhibitions, film screenings, and conferences to celebrate what they call "the day democracy triumphed.”


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