• Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Ecuador: Failed Coup or Institutional Crisis?

    Ecuadorian filmmaker Oscar León presents his take on country's history that led to the crisis, Pt. 1/2 -   October 9, 10
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

    Real News simply has no entertainment value. But its news value puts CNN,MSNBC,ABC& BBC to shame! - Santhip
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


    This is a special report about the Police Force insurrection and kidnapping of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on September 30th, 2010. President Correa was held hostage for 11 hours by a large number of armed policemen inside the Quito Regiment. Eventually leading to street battles and a bloody ending that gripped a nation.

    My name is Oscar Leon, reporter and documentary filmmaker from Ecuador. Between 2005 and 2007 I created the documentary "Third World Democracy Handbook" about the fall of President Lucio Gutierrez, at that time he was the 3rd President to fall in less than 10 years, had Rafael Correa fell he would have been the 4rd to fall in less than 14 years. Being a reporter in Ecuador during the "Lost Decade" I can bring some insight about what happen that day. Was this a institutional crisis? Or a foreign power's attempt to overthrow him? This infamous day it's being utilized by both political sides. But what is the truth behind it? In order to get a better understanding of what happened on Part 1 we will explain some necessary context. In the Part 2 of this special report we will go over what toke place on September 30th 2010.


    Ecuador: Failed Coup or Institutional Crisis?OSCAR LEÓN, REPORTER AND FILMMAKER: Welcome to The Real News. My name is Oscar León, reporter and documentary filmmaker. This is a special report about the police force insurrection, the kidnapping of the president, Rafael Correa. Being a reporter in Ecuador during the lost decade, I can bring some insight about what happened that day. Between 2005 and 2007, I created the documentary Third World Democracy Handbook, about the fall of the third president in a row in less than 10 years. If Rafael Correa fell, he would have been the fourth in a row in less than 14 years. Did a coup d'état really take place on September 30? In order to get a better understanding of what happened, allow me to explain some necessary context. Debt traps. Living in both countries, I have found that many of the American people can relate with these words and to the experience of Ecuadorians like myself. Maybe you were one who used to pay an $800 mortgage and all of a sudden had to pay $1,600 or more because of those debt traps. Well, something very similar was what many South Americans' country like mine went through. Beside the 300 percent increase in the interest rate, private banks' debt was also transferred to the state in a very similar fashion to what happened in September 2008 here in USA. By the end of the '90s, this economic disaster put the taxpayers in a debt trap that will last for many generations to come. Ecuador is a small republic in the Andes. Its geopolitical importance goes beyond natural wonders, raw materials, oil, and the US [war] against drugs. During the last century, American corporations have got the biggest piece of the pie, getting cheap raw materials and manipulating the politicians in charge, while the military police and intelligence agencies were closely trained by the Pentagon in the infamous School of the Americas and other US institutional facilities. It is hard for any man to rule a country with so many interests at stake like Ecuador. Many loyalties were bought, and some other leaders were dealt with in a different way. The little money collected by the state from foreign corporations was destined to pay the debt by leaders that only cared to please themselves and their powerful masters. This policy brought a lost decade upon my country. Between 1996 and 2006, three coups d'état and ten different presidents shook the nation, broke the economy, pushed the socialist structure and the people to the limit, and created great instability. All those governments fell because they were incapable of dealing with the profound economic crisis that followed the IMF shock therapy and the rise of privatization and globalization. And during those government last hours, it was the police who defended the regimes at all cost. Certainly, the police track record of repressive actions and human rights abuse didn't make them very popular with citizens. At the end, it has always been the military leadership that decides who stay in the presidential palace and who gets kicked out. They act as a panic button by stepping aside or going in to take control. The army might decide who stays in the Palace of Carondelet, but it is the people who elect and takes down presidents. The voice of those who took the streets, and by votes the power, was the need for a strong government that can take a tough stand when it comes down to [inaudible] nations, rich resources, and people. All along the Latin American continent the voice was the same. People were rising up. And over the past decade, 13 countries have elected left nationalist tendency governments. Only Mexico, Colombia, and Peru haven't gone through that path. Rafael Correa was the natural leader of this citizens' revolution. A charismatic economist, he quickly rose to power, and once in there he implemented many of the people claims. Strong and charming, he achieved much in a short time: materialized the citizens' demand for a new constitution created by a popular assembly; renegotiated oil contracts, giving less to the big oil companies and more for the government's project. Despite prioritizing social programs over debt service, Correa still managed to rid the country of two-thirds of its creeping foreign debt, reducing it from $3.2 billion dollars to $1 billion. He lowered his own wage to set the example. He balanced the budget and increased monetary reserve. This is especially hard in a country that has an heritage of mega crises. He invested a huge amount of resources in social programs and infrastructure investments. This was funded through a more effective tax collection and the seizing of assets of bankers who fled the country on the charge of corruption. As part of the war on drugs, United States has a military airport on the city of Manta. Its removal was a crucial point in this citizens' revolution. Correa explained why he didn't renew the base during an appearance on Democracy Now!

    AMY GOODMAN, JOURNALIST, DEMOCRACY NOW!: —military bases in Latin America, Manta, expires later this year. You will not renew it. Why?

    RAFAEL CORREA, PRESIDENT OF ECUADOR (VOICEOVER TRANSLATION): Why renew it? Now, if you'd like, I would renew it with one condition: that they allow me to set up an Ecuadorian military base here in New York. If there's no problem with foreign bases, then let's reach an agreement on that. I think that everybody listening is going to find that impossible. And to us Ecuadorians it also seems impossible, based on our outlook, informed by sovereignty, at least with the current government, to have a foreign military base on our soil.

    LEÓN: In April 2009, I spoke to John Perkins, author of the best-selling book Confessions of an Economic Hitman. He predicted that Rafael Correa was at greater risk than any other Latin American president.

    JOHN PERKINS, ECONOMIST AND AUTHOR: I personally think that Correa is one of the presidents in the most danger. I think Chávez is almost too visible now for us to do anything to. I mean, it'd be obvious. If something happens to Chávez, it's pretty obvious. He's also got, I think, very good protection. But Ecuador is, like, this key country. It has a lot of oil, and it's always been a country that when we wanted to in the United States we could control it. And now suddenly you've got this president who not only is standing up to us, but he's a president who had a PhD in economics from one of our universities, the University of Indiana, which is a real slap in the face. You know? It's like—and you can't accuse Correa, the United States can't accuse Correa of being a communist or anti-capitalist. He has a PhD in economics from the University of Indiana.

    LEÓN: The concern for the life of Rafael Correa are not new. This is an interview with his right-hand man and Cabinet member on April 27, 2009, after he won the elections in a landslide.

    RICARDO PATIÑO, POLICY PREMIER, ECUADOR [SUBTITLED TRANSLATION]: We obviously have to take care of our president. We have taken measures to protect our president, but danger won't prevent us to say what needs to be said. We have been very clear since the campaign—and some of us 10 to 15 years ago—about the nasty role that the IMF and World Bank have played, especially the IMF in the case of our country. It wasn't advice they gave us; they inflicted permanent damage on us. And we will continue to point this out, even if many don't like it and try to hurt our national project.

    LEÓN: After the right-wing military coup in Honduras in 2009, Correa said he thought he will be next. This threat seemed to become real last week when President Correa was assaulted and held hostage by a few hundred policemen on strike. Was this an institutional crisis or a foreign powers attempt to overthrow him? In the second part of this special report, we will go over what took place on September 30, 2010. For The Real News, this is Oscar León.

    End of Transcript

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at


    Latest Stories

    The Resegregation of American Schools
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7), Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting